I had booked one definite science-related act before coming to Edinburgh, knew of a free science event to attend at the end of the day, and had booked one other act that was vaguely science-y (it involved time travel), and one that didn’t look science-y at all. But in the end, I managed to fit in far more science than expected.
My first act wasn’t science-based at all; after an early start to an empty Royal Mile, I attended A slacker’s guide to Western theatre at the Bedlam, a frenetic charting of the art from the Greeks to In Your Face, via Chekov (f-off) and Shakespeare, with a very entertaining horse race to decide which was the best play of Shakespeare’s era (Dr Faustus won).
Crepe for lunch, and then It Is Rocket Science with Helen Keen, with able shadow puppetry assistance from Miriam (there was a lovely moment when an envelope constellation appeared upside down, Helen pointed it out, and you just heard a loud exclamation from behind the rocket where Miriam was crouching). A very engaging and humourous show about the history of Helen’s interest in space, and rocket science – onward, to Mars!
Or in fact, out and back to the same room an hour and a bit later (it was pouring with rain, I didn’t go anywhere) for Morgan and West: Time Travelling Magicians, containing an amazing array of tricks, all of which impressed me mightily, especially the card swap and classic book/page/word prediction trick (with a little time machine help).
Time travel certainly must have been involved, as I made it to my next venue apparently in no time at all, in time for an act that started just as the previous one apparently ended. Two (not so) gentlemen of comedy present presented three short stand up routines, from Sarah Campbell and two others. A nice catch, given I’d actually come for the next event, not having expected to arrive in time for this one as well.
The next event was At the Fringe of Reason, the daily talk organised by the Edinburgh Skeptics, and today was Simon Singh, on the history of his libel battle with the BCA and libel reform. Much of the story I already knew, but it’s always good to hear it directly and hear about more recent developments, or just to hear Katie Melua’s more scientifically accurate version of her song again.
Meeting up with my sister, we popped down the road to the Caves for Josie Long’s Be Honourable. Josie started her act as an astronaut from Maidstone – brilliantly continuing the day’s science/space theme, hooray – with whom I might have apparently slept (some confusion over who exactly has gone to the Moon or not, don’t ask), before progressing to the photos of Walter Ezell, something I had already seen at the Electric in Birmingham, but brought up to date (he’s finished his year of breakfasts) and sharpened. The theme of doing nice/good, as opposed to just being nice/good (or neutral, or as Josie put it, “yoga”) carried us right the way through to Nye Bevin and her/his hatred for the Tories, in Josie’s engaging style [have I used engaging already today? It keeps popping into my head, I’m no good at this, it’ll do, it’s right after all!]
However, after the show, I posted to my Twitter a message about how great it was that there was an astronaut in Josie’s show; upon submitting, the newest message in my stream was from Josie, and it said: “Oh my god, what a different reception from yesterday! It may as well have been a totally different show- a serious play perhaps. #edfringe” For reference yesterday, “My crowd tonight were fantastic, I enjoyed my show so much tonight! Thanks if you came #edfringe”. Perhaps people reviewing their audiences will be the next big thing rather than the more usual other way round, but I felt, frankly, a little hurt as I read that in the queue for my next event – I had really enjoyed the show, laughed lots, but apparently we were a bit of a disappointment. Others have said the same, to which Josie replied with: “nooo! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, sorry to seem moany x” – but it did put a slight dampener on the event for me.
The queue I was in was at the Voodoo Rooms; I found myself next to Gemma Arrowsmith of Mould and Arrowsmith – I do hope to make their show at some point this month. We were queuing for Keen and Khan – Starstruck, wherein Helen Keen from earlier today did a show with Dr Sophia Khan (currently University of Shanghai, previously NASA) about things you might not expect from NASA. This was a delightful ramble through things as random as NASA’s “dress code” to the naming of telescopes and NASA’s weighty responsibility for world peace.
I haven’t booked a thing for tomorrow, will play by ear. Think I might not bother with the late night show I was planning to go to, though; just a bit too late for me.