Edinburgh Fringe: A Beginner’s Diary – DAY FIVE

Day Five – 11/08/12

I sleep in late today, given the 6am bedtime, and miss the 1pm and 2pm showings I was thinking of going to. OH WELL. The Neurologist has departed for sunnier climes; we have a heartfelt farewell, in which he entreats me to stay in touch, and I protest that we already follow each other on Twitter. He seems to think this is a tad impersonal, so I agree to add him on Facebook. And thus begins a beautiful relationship of occasionally liking each other’s statuses, because that is how we do things these days.

Rob Auton: The Yellow ShowImage
Treading the fine line between spoken word and stand-up, Rob’s show is all about…well, yellow. The audience wears yellow-tinted glasses. He wears a yellow coat, over a yellow jacket, over a yellow tshirt, over a yellow tshirt. The show starts with him putting yellow straws and yellow rubber ducks into a glass of yellow drink, before reading from his favourite book: the Yellow Pages. If you don’t think someone could talk about yellow for an hour – well, you’re wrong. Surreal, slightly autistic, and oddly moving.

Christian O’Rielly: This is Not a Love Song
I go to this by accident. Singer-songwriter stand-up with a guitar; think Bill Bailey meets Nickelback. He gets my ethnomusicology hackles up by suggesting that “sad” sounding chords and “happy” sounding chords are universal. NO NO NO NO NO. I almost deliver a really nerdy heckle, but manage to hold myself back.

Loretta Maine: BipolarImage
AAAAAAAH I LOVE HER. Basically Courtney Love meets Ke$ha character-comedy from Pippa Evans, with all the associated wildchild alcoholism. Loretta plays angry grrrrrrrrl music with her band, Penis Envy, that’s so close to the actual bands that I listen to that I almost forget it’s a spoof. Basically, she sings some songs about vaginas, downs an entire bottle of wine in 20 seconds whilst the audience roars, and I decide that I’ve found my new LIFE ROLE MODEL. The title-track has been on my brain ever since.

Andrew O’Neill
Andrew seems to be everywhere I go this week – in pubs, lingering on the street, wandering around scrawnily – so I decide that it’d be weird to not actually go to his show. I’ve seen his stuff a couple of times, most recently supporting Amanda Palmer in Shoreditch, and always enjoy it: much recommended for fans of counter-culture, whether that’s steampunk, heavy metal, or tranvestitism. Let’s face it, there’s massive crossover amongst we subversives anyway.

I don’t really know what to do after this, so wander about for a bit feeling lost. I go for a TABLEFORONE at a Thai restaurant, and spend the entirety of dinner sniggering at the sight of the Thai waiting staff and the Scottish clientele trying to communicate with each other past an apparently insurmountable language barrier.

The next page of my notebook is a bit jerky; I wrote it as I walked. Direct transcription:

I am walking to Pleasance Courtyard, and it occurs to me that this is the only time at the Fringe that I’ll ever have this all-new, near religious experience. I had it at the first year at Hay, and at the first year at Latitude, but the years since when I return have just been echoes; memories; fades. Suddenly, I have a sense of how precious and fleeting the New is. And I’m wasting it this evening; wandering alone, eating alone, seeing no shows. I need to up my game, if I want to really Be.


How to Be a Psychic Magician
My second attempt to go to something skeptic-y. Unfortunately, there’s only a piece of material separating the room from the rest of the bar, where a man is playing a loud singer-songwriter set, and I think – from my notes – that I’ve moved from maudlin to grumpy. Direct transcription:

Bit of a Derren Brown card reading. Fox sisters kickstarted séances and spiritualism. Some fucking grim girl chewing gum and rocking her leg in the corner of my eye omg. The usual breakdown of cold reading. ‘Personality’ breakdown like you do with horoscopes. Peter Popoff holy water – sends you weird gifts. The thing is with skeptic shows, is that it doesn’t take long to be familiar with all the topics covered, and if you keep going you just hear the same thing over and over again. James Heidrick – telekinesis. Shitty pencil trick. Shitty book trick. Randi fucked him over with Styrofoam. Heidrick did it by blowing on shit. Uri Gellar. Spoon bending, lame Project Alpha, parapsychologists. Bannercheck. Article in Skeptic: “Is Parapsychology dead?” Yes, but anomalous psychologists aren’t. Got dragged on stage to do some wank with some marked cards. BORED. BORED. BORED. BORED. BORED.

I don’t have much more to add to this, other than that I think “Randi fucked him over with Styrofoam” would be a good name for a po-mo novel. Aside from a brief pint with Chella & Sarah, I haven’t seen anyone all day, which is perhaps the root of my grumbliness and general ennui. Bored, I decide to go home early (I mean, it’s midnight, but that’s early on the Fringe). En route I decide to cheer myself up by getting:

DEEP-FRIED PIZZA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Image


Ordering it is a bit of a palaver, as everything in Scottish takeaways has some ridiculous colloquialism which they don’t put up on the board but they do say with their mouths. Never the best in social situations, I try to navigate the situation as best I can.

Me: Do you have, um, deep-fried pizza?
Man: *blank look*
Me: Pizza….deep-fried?
Man: Whole pizza?
Me: Uh, no, well, I mean, do you do slices?
Man: No.
Me: Oh. A whole one then, yeah, I guess.
Man: A whole one. Margherita?
Me: Sure. But that’s – that will be deep-fried? Will it?
Man: Fried? Oh. You want fried or fresh?
Me: Fried.
Man: Half-pizza then.
Me: Oh. Half-pizza? Yes, ok.
Man: Half-pizza supper?
Me: What.
Man: Supper?
Me: Ok?
Man: Saltandsauce?
Me: Ok…?

So apparently, in Scotland, adding “supper” on the end of anything just means “with chips”. “Single” means “without chips”. I like this! Burger supper! Curry supper! Sandwich supper! Baked potato supper! And the innocuous “sauce” of “saltandsauce” fame is a sort of brown sluRRY made up of brown sauce and vinegar. I don’t know why you would add vinegar to brown sauce, when there is already a lot of vinegar in brown sauce. As with much Scottish regional food, I suspect the answer is: WHY NOT.

Shows seen: 4
Friends seen: 0
Deep-fried pizza tried: 1


5 thoughts on “Edinburgh Fringe: A Beginner’s Diary – DAY FIVE

  1. Hello!

    Good work on finding a deep fried pizza. BUT (and this is confusing me probably more than it ought to) – that looks like it’s not battered-and-deep-fried, but just deep fried? Is that right?

    I’m beginning to think there’s two alternative versions of the “pizza crunch” (as they called it when I tracked one down) – but that was in Glasgow. Perhaps there’s some kind of Edinburgh/Glasgow rivalry with different ways of battering pizzas? Or perhaps it’s solely the whim of the chip shop? Who can tell.

    This is the deep-fried-pizza I got, anyway…

    Pizza Crunch
    Eating the Pizza Crunch

    Oh and Rob Auton is great.

    1. The simple answer to this is that I didn’t take any photos in Edinburgh so just chose a google image that looked similar to the think that I ate.

      I have heard that “pizza crunch” is deep-fried pizza with (again, deep-fried) kebab meat on top – but this may be another regional issue.

  2. Wow. The one I tried didn’t feature any kebab meat (think it was just a margherita dipped in batter) – but yes, could be regional variations.

    Have you ever tried a “parmo”? It’s pretty much a pizza with a flattened out chicken instead of a pizza base. Suspect it’s only available in Middlesbrough.

    Despite not having eaten meat for years, I maintain a grim fascination with all sorts of horrendous local fried delicacies. I’ve always wanted to batter & deep-fry a pizza at home but for some reason it’s never happened.

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