Friday, August 24, 2007

Memories, observations and overheard conversations...

8.30pm, Wednesday evening, its been a scorcher all day and whilst the sun is now disapearing behind The Mound the air is still warm, shirt sleeve warm, no need for jackets to the theatre tonight.

And yet the genteel Edinburgh theatre folk still dress for the theatre, the elderley ladies all resembling, and sounding like, Miss Jean Brodie in their tweed twinsets and the obligatory string of pearls, their menfolk suitably attired in light coloured "slacks" and a blue blazer, some with panama hats.

We're queueing on the street outside The Assembly Rooms, to one side of the main entrance a less well attired queue snakes down the pavement away from us, they are the Fringe rabble, they are here to watch a common comedian who probably swears a lot in his act, they wear jeans and t-shirts, they shout and laugh a lot and are considered ill-mannered by the genteel on this side of the main entrance.

Our queue does not snake away from this side of the main entrance, our queue is straight and well formed, no-one laughs out loud or shouts to friends over the street for our queue is the Edinburgh society turned out to show The Fringe how The Assembly Rooms survive during the 49 weks of the year when the rabble are not in town, we are here to watch a singer in the small downstairs auditorium, many of the people in this queue are Friends of The Assembly Rooms and know the manager by first name, and as if to proove our elitist-ness the manager sends out two of his staff with an iced tray on which stand a bottle of white and a bottle of red wine with glasses for the patrons on this side of the main entrance to sip and refresh themselves during the warm and almost stifling wait.

I stand alone on this side of the main entrance, a thorn amongst the Edinburgh society roses, I dressed in the same jeans and "grandpa" t-shirt that I have been wearing all day, I resemble Serpico on a scruffy day, for I have no time to return to the hotel throgh the day, they're twelve hour days for me here, out in the crowds, hustling and bustling, dashing from gig to pub to gig to pub and I've just arrived to the queue from a rather pleasant couple of pints on the Royal Mile and find myself wedged between two "ladies who dine" and a pair of retired couples, all of whom speak in that soft Edinburgh Scot accent that instantly informs that these people are genteel.

From the ladies...
"Have you met your new neighbours yet ?"
"Oh yes, a nice young couple, they have children"
"Oh how old are they"
"The children ?"
"Och, the girrrl wil be aboot sax maybe and the wee boy is underrr five because he still goes to nurrrserrry"
"Oh thats nice"

From the couples...
" I got talking to him and straight away I could tell he was a Lanark man..."
"Oh look, here is the manager with some wine, how nice"
"...I could tell by his accent you know..."
"Wine Peter ?"
"...jast a small one then..."
"Red or white ?"
", ah could tell by his accent he was a Lanark man and I thought to myself, oh here we go..."

From the ladies...
"...he was being a wee rascal when I went aroond to welcome them though"
"Oh the dear thing"
"...the mother was at her wits end, she wished they were back at school..."
"yes it is a long holiday for the wee things"
"...the boy was being very obstroperous..."
"...he was standing on a chair when I walked in, shooting"
"...shooting his wee head off he was, shooting and yelling for attention..."
"Dear me"
"...aye, ah said to her, do not give that child any attention, thats what he was doing you know, attention seeking"
"Och aye"

From the couples...
"...ah thought, here we go, a Lanark man, we're in for a long night"
"Och yes you would be"
"Well you know how they can talk"
"Aye ah doo that"
"In the end I drove away and he was still talking ..."

From the Ladies...
"How is the rewire coming along ?"
"They still haven't started on my apartment yet, I think they're coming next week"
"Och, are ye moving out ?"
"Will ah need to ?"
"Oh most certainly"
"Do you thing ah'll heff tey laft the carpets app ?"
"Well I would think so, they'll need to be under the floorrrs surely ?"
"Thats what I thought"
"Maybe you won't need to lift all of the carpets"
"Well ah'm not lifting them, they'll heff tey do that for me"
"och yes, they'll heff tey do that"
"I suppose they'll heff tey move some furrrniture too ?"
"Aye, ah supose they will"
"Och what a mess it will make"
"Och aye, there will be mess, no doubt..."

Earlier that day I had stood in front of the Scott Memorial on Princes Street in the blazing sun with a crowd of a couple of hundred watching the Lothian and Borders Police Pipe Band resplendant in full kilt uniform, drummers and pipers, they played a long mournfull refrain of "Amazing Grace" and the hairs stood up on your back, if you have a hairy back that is, and two very small children at the front ran across the grass to drop coins in a violin case for the Police Band Charities and an old lady in front of me wiped away a tear as the snare drums rolled and the massed pipes joind in the full blood-chilling last verse and chorus.

It was so fucking corny that Walt Disney could have written the script.

But it was right, it was just the right place at the right time, bagpipes should not be heard outside of Scotland, except perhaps at the funerals of exiled Scots, for they are a vexation to the ears but in Scotland they just fit, they are just right, right place, right time.

And at the bottom of a huge flight of stone steps that millions trudge to reach The Mound stands an old man, dancing on the spot whilst singing a song about Gods Telephone and how one day we are all going to have to pick up the phone and speak to Him but fear not for the call is free and salvation awaits and loads of other crap like that and as I pass him I notice that he has lined up a dozen cans of Coca-Cola on the wall and although its only 10am he's already opened two of them and maybe this is what makes him dance and sing songs to strangers about Gods Telephone and as we make eye contact I shake my head and wonder at the culpability of his priest for educating the mentally ill in such ways, if they can't convert the rest of the world they'll go for the easy targets - the old and lunatic.


Ms Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ms Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John_D said...

That accent you describe would be a type 3

Gary said...

Type 3 - thats the one.

And as for that other web site - I think thats what the drunk lunatic was singing about on Thursday morning, but then he was drunk on coke - and lunatic.

Island Girl said...

That was better than being there! Really. Just wonderful! The transcribed conversations are priceless.

But God is a Pepsi man, what's wrong with these people.