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5th September 2015

Edinburgh: walking, whisky and whimsy

I had not been to Edinburgh before last weekend. I feel like that’s sacrilegious for someone who studied drama for three years – but there you go. Last weekend was my first introduction to a whole pile of things: Scotland, whisky, trying to stay up for about a million hours to catch a late night Fringe show…

Thank goodness I was raised in Sheffield. I could cope with the hills.

I was lucky with my weekend away to get affordable accommodation through Airbnb. £200 for three nights in a flat is much more manageable than £200 for a tiny hotel room that’s worth thirty quid. Those cheeky hotel monkeys.

With me was my old uni housemate, Jen (Jen who was so excited at the millions of Harry Potter connections through the city. My disposable camera was filled with them).

I’m a fan of Airbnb.

Staying in an Airbnb accommodation has (thus far) reminded me of watching Grand Designs. You can see the house as it’s being built, but you can’t interfere. It’s just a television programme. All I want to do was sand the floor, or pop some homely furniture in there. I was helpless.

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The first thing I decided to do with my new Scottish prowess was to participate in a Whisky Experience. I don’t like whisky. It doesn’t taste like it ought to. In my head whisky is something you drink while smoking a pipe, wearing an excellent dressing gown. In real life it’s like a catastrophic taste bud explosion.

The Whisky Experience was very exciting. I went on a journey in a barrel and was washed, distilled and barrelled – just like real whisky. I felt a real affinity with the drink. After this adventure we were taken into a room where a very talented bloke told us all about Scottish Whisky. He made it sound so delicious. He spoke through each kind of whisky and the flavours and scents that come with it.

I was really excited when I chose my Islay whisky (a fruity taste apparently) and smelt it.

So it didn’t smell so good. That was fine, whatever.

Then we were told to take a drink, and it was in that moment (in which my eyes watered and I struggled to keep smiling) that I realised whisky isn’t nice. It just isn’t a tasty drink. I had been tricked. 

I now have a useless, detailed bank of knowledge that focuses entirely around whisky. I’m sure I’ll find some use for it, ‘darling, it has a real charcoal undertone, you must try it’. 

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After this deep and disturbing exploration I went to see some shows, because that’s what you do in Edinburgh during the Fringe (in case you weren’t aware).

1. Acapella

The first was an a Cappella show, which Jen and I attended out of a fundamental love for people covering popular songs in the style of show tunes. Here are some warnings:

  • It’s not like Pitch Perfect
  • It’s not like Glee
  • You’ll still be too delighted for words and pop with the delight like an over inflated balloon.
  • Why is it so nice to hear people sing?

2. Foxfinder

After that I went to see Foxfinder, which was absolutely fantastic and here is a link to their twitter so you can follow them for news and stuff:

Link, link, linky link.

It was a great piece of theatre, with a cast that drove the surreal drama all the way through. My attention span is a short one, but they had it completely for an hour and a half (which I think is the ultimate praise from me).

3. Birthday Girls

After this, Jen and I had the challenge of ‘we’ve been up on our feet since first thing this morning and our next show is at midnight’. We managed. I am aware that I’m a twenty three year old and capable of staying awake until midnight, but at 9 it felt like it was a trek to destroy the ring or something similarly dramatic.

However: it was worth it.

Our last show of the evening – and finally I get to the point of this blog post – was Birthday Girls. Imagine a pile of comedy talent mixed in with references to GBBO and a sprinkling of Beyonce and you’ve got these ladies.

Birthday Girls are powerful because they inhabit a fundamental rule of comedy: it’s not just about the sketches, but about the persona you develop to keep the show running. The three do it fantastically, with chemistry that they keep in bucket loads.

I was more than tickled at this show – it was like someone was coming at me with a feather duster and the laughs didn’t stop coming.

And honestly – half the charm comes from the fact that you leave wishing that you were best friends with them.

I want to carry on complimenting them, but instead I’m just going to wait until the next time they’re in Manchester and force all my friends to come.

After the show I tried to find a taxi home (not possible) and wished that I was in a comedy trio (not possible), and finally found my way to our flat at about three in the morning. I also walked a good ten miles in a day, which I still think is reasonably impressive.

I could carry on and tell you about everything else (being hit on by someone who started a sentence with, ‘I’m not racist, but…’) – but I feel as though the story would never end.

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