Edinburgh Festival diary

Veronica Lee
Sunday 22 August 2010 00:00
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The spat between comic Stewart Lee and the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards (previously the Perriers) is descending, fittingly, into farce. Lee (who has never been nominated) objects to the Comedy God award, where the public decides who is the best of the 173 acts nominated in the awards' 30-year history.

Mocking the anniversary initiative, Lee has suggested comedy fans vote for what he believes is the most obscure act – Japanese sketch group Frank Chickens, from 1985 – and, now that they look set to win, both sides are claiming they will pay for them to come to Edinburgh next Saturday to receive the gong. But it's not the grand gesture it appears to be: the troupe has been

based in London for years and is still going strong.

Dapper comic Tom Allen thought it might be nice to watch a sunset from the top of Arthur's Seat (above). But walking down the steep, unlit track in the dark, he panicked and phoned a friend to come and guide him down to street level. His show at the Gilded Balloon, by the way, is called Tom Allen Toughens Up! Maybe next year ....

Audiences at Reel-to-Real, a show about Hollywood musicals, at the Pleasance, have been mystified as to why it has a backdrop of the Great Wall of China. Simple: the Chinese city of Huairou has put an undisclosed (ie huge) sum into the show, which has a cast of 12 and a 32-strong crew – massive by Fringe standards. The city is developing its film industry and it regards the musical as a cultural ambassador.

One of the posh publicists here (probably an Emma, Sophie or Becca) overheard critics discussing a match at Tyne- castle, where Hearts play. "As in Hertfordshire?" she asked. You can take the girl out of the Home Counties ....

Talking of football, in the Fringe's annual grudge match – sorry, sporting contest – between comics and critics at Meadowbank Stadium, the comedians won 3-2. But the funny men were taking it all rather seriously, while the scribes were 'aving a laugh.

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