On Wednesday, Lenn came to town. Lenn is one of our old gang of high school friends who abandoned Edinburgh in favour of Glasgow, which makes her a blood traitor in some circles. I should clarify at this point that Lenn is a girl, and that her 'real' name is Kathleen. We had this Iranian physics teacher at school who pronounced her name 'Kathlenn', and this was picked up on by someone else in that class, and eventually we all started calling her 'Kathlenn', and eventually just 'Lenn'. It's the one nickname I've encountered so far in life that hasn't come off as forced or contrived. When I think of her now, I think 'Lenn', and 'Kathleen' sounds weird.
Anyway, she came to Edinburgh to see me, but as we were arranging plans, Kirsty texted me to ask if I wanted to see an a capella singing act called Out of the Blue in the festival. Naturally, I asked Lenn if she wanted to go too, and after a brief tirade about how much she hated the festival, she said she'd love to. Sorted.
Lenn and I met in the afternoon after some delays, and after asking me to wiggle my ears for her amusement (something she asks any time she hasn't seen me for a while) we set off to meet Kirsty. This was easier said than done, however, since neither Lenn nor I really knew the city very well. Street names are often meaningless to me. Which is a shame because Edinburgh has some wonderfully-named places. Kirsty had told us to meet them at George Square, but both Lenn and I had gotten this confused with St Andrew's Square, which is found at the end of George Street. Word association FAIL. After contacting Kirsty and arranging a different meeting place, we headed for the High Street - an upper portion of Edinburgh's Royal Mile that leads from the Castle down to Holyrood Palace at the centre of the City's historical Old Town. On the way, we passed a man in a cloak and hat giving a tour of one the area to a small group. Lenn grumbled about the audacity of the man - English by his accent - by thinking himself qualified to talk about a Scottish city. I laughed because this was classic Lenn.
There was much more cause for grumbling as we hit the centre of the pedestrian tourist traffic. The street was heaving with people watching street performers, going to and fro between show venues, or just soaking up the atmosphere. Someone told me recently that they hated the festival because for two weeks, Edinburgh turns into London, and all the reasons you wouldn't want to live in London start applying here. Lenn certainly wasn't impressed by the business of it all, especially not by the leafleters who shoved flyers for their shows in your face every few steps. Lenn complained about how she'd been brought up to be polite, and therefore couldn't tell them, as she wanted, to 'F*** off and die'. For myself, having lived in quiet Tokushima for three years, I felt a little unaccustomed to the activity and was relieved when we reached the venue, which was either an Edinburgh university building or a theatre nestled among them.
The show was good. Out of the Blue are an all-male a capella group out of Oxford University. Yes, they are as preppy-looking as you would expect, but during the performance at least they manage to avoid coming across as arrogant snobbish twats. They opened with "Don't you want me" by the Human League and traversed various genres and eras of music before closing the show with a Poker Face-Sexy Back mashup with a teeny bit of Barbie girl thrown in, followed by an encore of "Backstreet's Back" with a touch of "I want it that way" thrown in. Aside from the singing and human beatboxing, the songs included various gestures and simple dances that made them more entertaining. It was a good show. Still not sure if it was worth £10 for 45 minutes, but I'm a bit tight with British money. I was more of a spender in Japan.
Watch this space to find out if I go to anything else this year.