Edinburgh Diary: A little ray of sunshine

Eyebrows have been raised at the Edinburgh International Festival's decision to continue its association with the Chinese government in light of artist Ai Weiwei's detention in April and his continuing media ban.

The Chinese ministry of culture has bankrolled two companies, the Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe and the National Ballet of China, to the tune of £100,000. Festival organisers say the money goes directly to the companies, but the Chinese government must be delighted with the PR job Edinburgh is currently doing for it.

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Comedy songsters Künt and the Gang thought they had come up with a good wheeze to publicise their show at The Hive – handing out stickers of a crudely drawn penis. But fans have used them to comment on other acts – everyone's a critic here – by affixing them to posters in suggestive poses. Prize for best use goes to the one on an ad for Neil and Christine Hamilton's show at the Udderbelly. Sometimes words are not necessary.

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Who was the culturally insensitive moron who asked Radio 4's Hardeep Singh Kohli, doing a show at the Gilded Balloon, if he was fasting for Ramadan? (Answer at the bottom of this column.) His large pink turban was the clue that he is a Sikh – she knows the difference, she says, but she was sleep-deprived and rushing into a Muslim comedy show.

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The British Council's biennial Edinburgh showcase for the performing arts starts tomorrow. Since 1997, the Council, which works tirelessly as Britain's cultural ambassador even in war-torn countries (and pays the price, as Friday's attack on its office in Kabul testifies) – is supporting 28 shows in the Scottish capital. It's getting groovy this year, with the launch of a dedicated website – edinburghshowcase.britishcouncil. org, and even a free phone app.

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Playwrights Tim Fountain and Suzanne Portnoy interviewed more than 500 women about their sex lives for their show Looser Women at the Gilded Balloon, directed by Owen Lewis. It turns out that the Scots liked a bit of dogging. I suspect that none was a resident of Morning- side, where dogging means taking your pedigree pooch for walkies.

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Stand-up Jo Wharmby will be sitting out the rest of her run at The Store in a wheelchair, after tripping and breaking her ankle and some bones in the other foot. She's rather embarrassed: her day job is as a Hellerwork practitioner, teaching people to walk properly. Then again, Hellerwork's founder, Joseph Heller, never had to cope with Edinburgh's cobbled streets.

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