Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Edinburgh Diary: It never rains, but it pours

*It's Ramadan, so Muslim performers fast during daylight hours.

Comics such as Imran Yusuf and Shazia Mirza are keeping to it strictly, while Aamer Rahman and Nazeem Hussain, who make up the very funny Australian sketch duo Fear of a Brown Planet, at the Gilded Balloon, can benefit from a technicality allowed for travellers; they are permitted to fast at another time of year. Since daylight in Edinburgh begins at 1.30am and ends at 9.30pm, that's a handy let-out clause.

*It has rained in Edinburgh for 10 days, and comic Henry Paker is getting hacked off: "It's like being married to the most beautiful woman in the world, who is constantly dribbling."

*Comics and industry professionals are having a golf day on 23 August at Kingsfield Golf Centre, Linlithgow. The comics, including Carl Donnelly and Alex Horne, will be captained by Fred MacAulay, whose show is at the Stand, while Pleasance director Anthony Alderson will captain the industry team of promoters and critics. The event, supported by Visit Scotland, is for the Mackenzie Taylor memorial cup; the stand-up, who suffered from mental ill health, committed suicide last year.

*What larks as the election for the venue manager's seat on the Festival Fringe Society board hots up. Two of the contenders could not come from more opposite places – Underbelly's co-founder Charlie Wood, an English public-school posho, and the Stand's working-class Glaswegian owner Tommy Sheppard. Accusations and counter-accusations of self-interest have been flung in advance of next Saturday's vote. For those who want to avoid class war, third-way candidate Nicola Bolsover, from the increasingly influential Free Fringe, may clean up.

*Just as Dr Phil Hammond, back on the Fringe after a decade with an excellent show, was explaining the best sign of male health – "Men should look 30 years younger than their scrotum" - a latecomer, Radio 4 veteran Nicholas Parsons, 87, took his seat in the Symposium Hall. That's timing ...

*Comic Nick Helm, hosting the Pleasance launch, rolled his eyes and said "Fucking hell!", as actors left the stage after their stunning 10-minute taster from Stephen Berkoff's Oedipus (After Sophocles), which stars Anita Dobson of EastEnders fame. Perhaps he thinks the tragedy is pretentious, although the Greeks had a word for his response: philistine.