Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Break A Leg

The local free rag, the Edinburgh Herald & Post, carries a headline announcing Scottish Enterprise's plan to introduce a programme of free street theatre in the city's ever-popular Grassmarket.

While I appreciate the intent to bring culture to the masses, I can state that, having worked in Edinburgh's premier booze-cruise nightspot, the area already possesses a burgeoning programme of free entertainment.

Why, on any given night one can easily find interpretive dance troupes sashaying up and down the road, clad in outlandish attire for the amusement of taxi drivers who witness their abilities at close quarters as the participants bounce gaily off their car bonnets.

Fridays and Saturdays are a particular joy for those of a historical bent, as re-enactors can be found staging performances of the Battle of Agincourt from Henry V through the medium of glass.

And fans of the erotic and scatological arts will be delighted by the nightly bacchanalia, in which a broad selection of amateur enthusiasts publicly engage in the kind of displays that would redden the cheeks of a Bangkok ladyboy.

As a purist of the performing arts, though, I'm most taken by the operatic works commonly heard in the small hours - while the performers vary in quality and vocal range, it's the sheer unpredictability that amazes.

I recall finishing work one night at 2.30 am to be confronted with a talented young soloist, who stunned me by launching into the following aria...

"Awright mate, goan geez a fag/
Just a fag, mate, I'll gie ye twenty pence for it/
And that...

C'mon, then cunt/
Just one fag, it'll no kill ye/
Geez a fag, ya prick/
Or you're gettin' slashed."

Truly, a virtuoso recital.

So, while I appreciate this plan to boost the performing arts on the city's streets, I can't see how they can top our present embarrassment of riches.

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