A day at the Edinburgh Fringe. I was not in the mood – all that enthusiastic jollity on the streets – but Joan insisted and it turned out to be a great day, lifting the spirits. I’m sure that if you are interested in following up any of these acts, you can get them from a simple google search.
12.00 Mugengkyo Taiko Drummers – UK’s only professional troupe. They were spellbinding. Made me want to go to Japan (which I have never wanted to do before). Came out uplifted. Enormous skill and poise in their presentation. What fabulous gifts we humans have.
4.00 Soweto Melodic Voices – a choir established in 2005 as a charity to give some kids in difficult circumstances some structure and guidance. When they first started singing together my eyes moistened immediately, such beautiful and rich harmony… and what energy, what colour what bright white toothy smiles! They were fast and furious and so happy.. I could have listened to them all night. After they got me up dancing on stage (you know that bit where a member of the audience gets picked and has to go up… I didn’t move out the way fast enough), I wanted to run away with them and sing with them and never come back to my boring day-life, but I didn’t have the costume for it.
6.00 The Magnets – a real contrast, a very professional band of six male ‘a cappella’ singers, one of whom did the most amazing beatbox backing I have ever heard, including playing an imaginary drum kit you could actually see, I swear it, one of whom did a deep bass guitar and the other four lead and vocal harmonies in turn. Very slick, very professional. Had we not see the raw Soweto kids an hour before, I would have thought they were the best a cappella act I had seen, but there was a fresh naive enthusiasm to the Soweto kids that no amount of professionalism can improve on.
8.00 Roddy Doyle at the Book Festival – talking about ‘The Guts’, his latest book which is a sequel to ‘The Commitments’ and finds Jimmy Rabbite 25 years on, facing cancer, but with the same mad family life and sharp dialogue. I’ll put it on my ‘must read’ list, but not at the top just yet a while.
10.00 Faure’s Requiem, by candlelight, in Old St Paul’s Church (just along from the station) – soft and melodic, peaceful, contemplative – a real contrast to the raucous loud energy of the earlier drumming and vocal shows – but the chairs were so hard that you would not fall asleep. A soothing end to the day.
11.30 last train back to Stirling – standing room only before it even got to Haymarket. We got talking to a neighbour we haven’t seen since her son was in Adam’s class at nursery and primary (!). Her nephew joined us. Interesting guy, fitba’ daft. He had played for Rangers youth, been signed by Aston Villa (the year they won the European Cup – 1982) but got crocked age 19 and never fully recovered, drifting from Hearts to Dundee and then ending up as a junior footballer (Linlithgow Rose). He had some good ‘insider’ stories. The time, and the chat, flew. What a contrast to the normal morning and evening commuter trains, with everyone on their iphones and ipads, or reading the Metro.