Staff at the Book Festival were alarmed when, an hour before his lecture was due to start, veteran of jazz and art scenes George Melly suddenly disappeared to pay a visit to "Surrealism and After: the Gabrielle Keiller Collection" exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art. The gallery stayed open by Melly's special request and he was shown round by bemused curators. Melly regaled the assembled company with anecdotes about salmon fishing in the Spey valley, and stories of how he'd once owned that Magritte gouache - and that Keiller had offered to lend it back to him if he ever missed it.
Fortieth anniversary notwithstanding, Elvis is alive - and in Edinburgh it seems, as punters at the Gilded Balloon bar on Tuesday night will be able to confirm. They were "treated" to an impromtu performance of a few of the King's numbers by swivel-hipped duo Paul Merton and Frank Skinner, backed by band Striker. Merton was also moved to a pretty convincing Lou Reed impression.
Spotted around town this week: in the vicinity of, appropriately enough, Waverley Station, a porky-looking Irvine Welsh, mumbling to himself in a rather worrying way; and Steven Berkoff, striding purposefully down George Street, unwisely wearing a shellsuit and glaring at passers-by in that telekinetic way of his.
Performance poet of MTV and EMI-recording-contract-for-huge-amount- of-money fame, Murray Lachlan Young, has a go at that Festival epidemic of the Street Performer in his poem, "I Lost My Lover to a New-Age Juggler". Byron-lookylikey Young spits out his disgust at the juggler's "beard painted blue and his Celtic tattoo" and ends by saying he'd like to "render him impotent - a juggler with no balls". A sentiment shared, no doubt, by many a festival-goer jaded by jester-hat-wearing, fire-eating, plate-spinning, hair-wrapping, crystal-gazing didgeridoo players. Spare a thought, though, for the unicyclist who, catching the tread of his wheel on the stiletto heel of a woman attempting to escape his escapades, was catapulted into the air, and landed straddling an iron-link chain fence. Prize for the Most Original and Least Irritating Street Performance must go to a pair of free-standing, welded-together metal dungarees outside St Giles Cathedral, accompanied only by a scrawled notice saying "not for sale art". This creation drew the biggest crowd and had the largest pile of money in its matching metal hat. There's a lesson in that for anyone who feels they might be coming over all new-age juggler.
Overheard on the Royal Mile, a middle-aged, middle-American woman to her husband: "A military tattoo? Isn't that just a bit too trailer-park trash for us, honey?"Reuse content