The Diary: Daniel Kitson; One Day tour; National Museum of Scotland; Stuart 'The Brand' Baggs; www.fakefringe.com
Friday 26 August 2011
Spot the comedian
There's a new sport on the Fringe: Daniel Kitson-spotting. The reticent but much-loved comedian, who crashed the National Theatre website last week when he released more tickets for his winter show, It's Always Right Now, Until It's Later, isn't performing a show in Edinburgh this year. But he can't keep away and so has popped up several times around the city, testing out 20 minutes of work-in-progress in a pub, appearing on the bill alongside Josie Long and Robin Ince at a Shelter Scotland charity event and providing the voice of God at John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman's reunion gig at The Stand earlier this week. Last night he performed all three of his Stories for the Starlit Sky in a midnight gig at the Forest Fringe, which went on until nearly dawn and raised money for the venue which is threatened with closure. There are rumours, too, that he may team up with Zaltzman and Oliver again for another Honourable Men of Art outing. In the meantime, he's also found time to send out an email to his devoted fans, recommending his favourite Fringe shows so far, including Analogue's 2401 Objects and Claudia O'Doherty's What is Soil Erosion?
A romantic walk
Still haven't managed to climb Arthur's Seat? Me neither. This summer, though, there's an added incentive to clamber up Edinburgh's famous hill – you could be following in the romantic footsteps of Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew! No matter that only a few pages of One Day are set in the city, Marketing Edinburgh have come up with a six-mile tour inspired by David Nicholls's best-selling novel, and now film. The city walk takes in the sites of Emma and Dexter's burgeoning romance, from the New Town street where they share their first kiss to Dexter's grotty flat in Fettes Row and, of course, Arthur's Seat. Asked about her experience of working in the city by the tour website, the film's director Lone Scherfig came up with three evocative words: "Stone. Wool. Books". She missed out rain.
Uplifting news for Scottish museum
It's not on the official festival programme, but the National Museum of Scotland has been receiving rave reviews. Having relaunched at the start of the month, after a three-year, £47m makeover, it attracted more than 120,000 visitors in its opening week. The magnificent white atrium, surrounded with three tiers of galleries, has been restored to its original glory and curators are hoping that the beguiling space and shiny new escalators will tempt lazy gallery-goers to explore the full extent of the museum's 36 rooms and 20,000 objects. "Before the refit, only around 5% of visitors ever made it upstairs," I'm told. Around the corner, The Signet Library, a gorgeous Georgian gem tucked behind the cathedral on the Royal Mile, is also now open to the public, although only until the end of the month. A law library by day, it's been transformed into a pop-up Pommery champagne bar, and is well worth a visit.
Stand-up for Baggs
It's good to go out with a bang and the comedy car crash of the final weekend is likely to be provided by Stuart "The Brand" Baggs. The bumptious former Apprentice contestant will perform his first hour of stand-up at The Caves on Saturday afternoon. "He's going to be talking about life growing up on the Isle of Man, losing his virginity at 13, becoming a self-made business man at 22, then landing his job on The Apprentice, the power of 'fame' and how he's become an unlikely sex symbol," I'm told. Sounds hilarious.
Here's a handy tip for whiling away the minutes waiting in rainy queues for your show to start. Log on to www.fakefringe.com. The website acts like a rolling Call My Bluff, listing four show descriptions from the Fringe programme, one of which is a fake. It's endlessly surprising – the Teddy Bears' Hamlet turns out to be a fake, but When Women Wee – "the unedited, uninhibited thoughts and behaviours that happen inside the female mind and public toilet" – is for real. Hours of mind-boggling fun.
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