Monday, August 08, 2005
I've met a few people from Edinburgh who have developed (in a kind of Darwinian survival reflex) innovative methods of living with the Fringe. There are usually several companies performing one or another classic play every year – in 2005 Dario Fo's “Accidental Death of an Anarchist” is offered by 3 companies, as is the ubiquitous “Twelfth Night” -- and it is a kind of masochistic pastime among several people that I've met to try to pick the worst production of a great play and see it. It is a kind of negative lesson: how much of a brilliant text will shine through a dreadful performance – what is there about brilliant scripts that cannot be foiled by flawed staging and amateurish posturing. The test case this year might be Macbeth, of which there are seven productions this summer: it is a small festival unto itself.
Slept in quite late today -- we were out all night at the Trav drinking with the folks from “My Pyramids”, and went to a late night pub around the corner to listen to awful jokes that were funnier than they should have been. At some point in the drinking I was told that there is a standing “challenge” at the Traverse bar: to climb across the room without touching the floor, from one side to the stairs about a hundred feet opposite.
As I was told this, I looked up and began to form my climbing strategies – after a couple of clarifying questions, I realized I was thinking to much: “I'm not sure we could accept anything fancy, like grabbing on to the pipes with yuir feet”. I then understood better what was on the table here: a straightforward physical test in the great Scots tradition, akin to throwing a big stone as far as one can, or swatting at a small ball with a stick to see how far it will go. These ancient challenges are at the root of modern international contests. This was the drunken game that could become an Olympic sport.
I couldn't resist – I got up onto the side bench, grabbed the pipes overhead, and started swinging like a gibbon towards the opposite side. I got there – but at the very end was so taxed that I didn't trust my hands to make the last swing and grab. So I held my place and started swinging my legs like a pendulum, then ' leapt' the final gap towards the steps. Mistake – my left foot touched the floor as my right made the step. I was out by a whisker, and did not complete the challenge. Well there's always tomorrow.
a subsonic cry of longing below the range of human hearing that can be felt up to 5000 nautical miles away
a window that never becomes dirty so long as the occupants of the house are honest