I had a day trip to Edinburgh yesterday. The Fringe Festival officially starts next Friday but actually on Wednesday.
The first street posters are already up and the venues are being constructed.
The Gilded Balloon’s turrets, which normally have food stalls beneath them which look like they have been shipped in from Glastonbury, this year appear to be going for a Robin Hood theme, with fake battlements built around the food area and the stalls having pseudo medieval roofs.
The Assembly is constructing its new home in George Square; and the Underbelly’s purple upside-down cow already dominates Bristo Square which has become the centre of the Fringe.
In Cowgate, the former church which used to be the Faith venue is now, year-round, called Sin – make of that what you will.
The grimy and pokey Holyrood Tavern, home several years ago to some great Fringe shows, has alas been smartened-up into a neat burger restaurant calling itself Holyrood 9A.
And, at one venue (which shall be nameless), as I was putting up a poster for Malcolm Hardee Week, two men were leaving. I went indoors to ask the barman something and, when I got back to the door, the poster had been removed from the wall… alright… nicked… half-inched… stolen.
I looked out of the doorway.
The two men were walking down the street looking at the poster with smiles on their faces.
Well, fair enough.
All publicity is good publicity and I think Malcolm would have approved of them stealing his poster.
Then I went to the Royal Mile.
I have not gone into one of those tartan tourist shops with bagpipe musak for years but yesterday I did (don’t ask) and beside the till were packets of McCondoms which, according to the illustration on the box, seemed to be in the shape of miniature whisky bottles. Ideal for me. I have no delusions.
I did not buy a packet although I was sorely tempted, just to see what they looked like.
When I got home, I looked up McCondom on the internet and found, alas, that they are not in the shape of miniature whisky bottles.
A customer review makes it clear that they are supposed to be whisky flavoured.
“The smell,” the reviewer says, “reminds of whisky, but I can’t say that it is exactly whisky smell. And this smell unexpectedly turned out not to be sexy at all. And unfortunately lubricant doesn’t taste like whisky, instead it’s something oily and unpleasant.”
It still gets Four Stars from the reviewer for being “really funny”.
So it is a bit like the Edinburgh Fringe. Good marketing may disguise something which gives you a good laugh but leaves you with a bad taste in the mouth. And four stars is no guarantee of a good night.
Look, I did not say this blog had any philosophical insights – nor any jokes.
The online reviewer surreally adds about the McCondom: “It can also become a good addition for a collection of condoms if anyone keeps such a collection.”
I would be very interested to hear if anyone does collect condoms… and why…
… That was going to be the last line of this blog.
Until I Googled “condom collection”.
Of course someone does collect condoms.
Of course they do.
Why would she not?
And she probably drives a small family car.
It really is like the Edinburgh Fringe.
Someone somewhere is doing something extraordinary.
It is just a case of finding her or him.