Julian Hall's Edinburgh Festival diary

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The Independent Culture

Commenting on press coverage of Jeremy Paxman's denigration of the Scottish national bard, Robert Burns, Alex Salmond (right) told his book festival audience: "I don't kick a man when he's fly-fishing in Scotland, especially one who cried when he discovered he had Scottish ancestors, but I wonder if in 250 years' time we will be holding Paxman Suppers"?

In Josh Howie's show he asks the audience to join him in a Buddhist chant and to wish for something their heart desires. His own choice was to be "newcomer" a reference to the if.comedy award. Had he realised the award's director, Nica Burns, was present, or was it just lucky PR?

Andrew Lawrence likes to give his audience the chance to give him either a standing ovation or to drop their trousers, depending on how they feel after his performance. One man started the standing ovation. That man? Kevin Spacey.

Pity Les Femmes Celebres sketch group who are trying to promote their show Hello! OK? by setting up a kissing booth on The Royal Mile. But authorities wouldn't allow a fixed booth on the thoroughfare. Undeterred, the actors reinvented the booth using a picture frame to separate them from their clients. "Someone said we're as pretty as a picture," said the show's producer, "so we took it literally."

The cast of comedy play The Third Condiment have copped it after police got sniffy about sachets of suspicious white powder attached to their flyers. Police tested the sachets which revealed the bags merely contained the third condiment – a yam-based taste sensation to sprinkle on any sweet, savoury, or a "sweet-savoury" dish.

juleshall@hotmail.com

Joke of the day...

"Glasgow has its own version of Monopoly, just one big square that reads: Go To Jail." Des Clarke, The Pleasance Courtyard

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