The Festival Cafe - day eight
Here are the runners' blogs for the Festival Cafe on 24 August 2011.
So, we are halfway through our last week at the festival (boo), but we had yet another excellent show today (hurrah!).
I was looking after the excellent multi-award winning Irish/French chanteuse Camille O'Sullivan and her entourage. They were all so much fun and her show has been receiving excellent reviews from the likes of the Scotsman (five stars) and The Telegraph (four stars).
She told me this was her seventh Fringe festival! But she still very much enjoys coming over from Ireland, were she is from. She wowed the audience and Clare English with covers of Nick Cave's The Ship Song and Nine Inch Nails' Hurt.
She was very nervous in-between performances and toyed with the idea of something stronger than tea! But she was reassured with the reception she received once out on stage!
There was champion beat boxer Beardyman also and Alan Bissett talking about his show "Fighting Talk" and "The Men Who Stare at Goats" author Jon Ronson (who was fresh off a plane from New York) talking about his book "Are The Corridors Of Power Packed With Psychopaths?"
All in all, it was a pretty interesting if hectic show. If you didn't manage to catch the show today, you can listen again on the BBC Radio Scotland website.
Tune into BBC Radio Scotland the rest of the week from 1315 for the Festival Café live from Potterrow and we'll be here for another couple of days blogging and tweeting away with all the gossip and our photos so check it out and keep in touch.
I feel we must apologise to the one, lone BBC Radio Scotland listener, tuning in from somewhere in the far reaches of our broadcasting region where the signal is a bit dodgy, who tuned in today at exactly the moment human beatboxing genius Beardyman declared that the world was ending. And then having promptly lost signal again, has been furiously bulk-buying tinned peaches ever since. If this is you, fear not, the apocalypse is not upon us! Put down that tin and come back over here to the wireless...
But in all fairness to those others of you who were driven to panic-buying after listening to the show today, Beardyman's was the second mention of the end of the world in 45 minutes. The first being delivered by the 'Wireless Mystery Theatre' who's spooky, snippet of their kitschy radio-plays had echoes of Orson Welles' famous hoax of the 60s that inspired listeners to take to their Nissen huts in blind panic. Completely unplanned, Britain's top beatboxer then followed them with an entirely improvised 4 minutes of weird and wonderful human-radio. If you didn't get a chance to listen to this live please do so immediately via the BBC Radio Scotland website. It was a real treat for the Festival Café to be the subject of his talents and the whole piece was devised in the greenroom only minutes before - genius.
While Beardyman twisted lyrical knobs in one corner of the most buzzing greenroom of the last 2 weeks, Camille (she's dropped the O'Sullivan bit now because she's that good...and was always better than Madge anyway) warmed up in a leopard printed flurry in the other; with the charming Jon Ronson and Alan Bisset clambouring over parts of Camille's drum kit to get out of the greenroom and over to the café for their much needed tipples. In the spirit of sneaky, backstage gossip, Jon was on the uppers (Vente Americano from a well known coffee chain that shall remain nameless) and Alan on the downers (white wine) because, well, because he was wearing a white jacket of course.
With all the to-ing and fro-ing of the Festival Café's resident beatboxer I didn't get much of a chance to listen to the show and sadly only caught the end of Camille's stunning rendition of Hurt. Tripping into the tent as the last bars of her song still hung in the air, I felt like someone who had missed an invitation to the party at end of the world - not a dry eye in the house. Luckily for me (and you) though, I can hear it all for myself courtesy of BBC iPlayer. So if you don't mind, I'm off to find some tinned prunes and a quiet place.
So I went to one of the ubiquitous American coffee outlets today with Jon Ronson, Just me and Jon walking to pick up a coffee (large* Americano with hot milk for him, a large cup to collect my thoughts as I try to impress for me).
I was feeling pretty cool let me tell you.
Jon Ronson is in town for the Book Festival and had just stepped of the plane from New York (hence the need for a large coffee) where he was conducting interviews for a new book. We discussed film deals, his latest book 'The Psychopath Test', I pretended this was an everyday occurrence and Jon seemed oblivious to my starstrucked-ness or at least didn't look too scared.
When I arrived back at the green room Alan Bisset had arrived. Alan is pretty rock and roll for an author. He has collaborated a lot in the past with leading figures in the Scottish music scene, going on tour with Malcolm Middelton. He also lived up to the rock and roll image by being the first guest on Festival café to order something stronger than a macchiato to drink. Although I was slightly let down by the fact it was a white wine.
The green room was buzzing with people while Beardyman was literally buzzing. He is amazing, if you have never heard him you must check him out. He sounds like I do in my head when I try to beat box, which is pretty damn good.
Meanwhile Camille was smouldering on the sofas. Seriously, the cushions had scorch marks on them once she had left. She is one hot lady and what a singer. I think we were all a little bit in love with her by the time she finished singing.
I also had to look after the Wireless Mystery Theatre who came on and did a short extract from there play with a host of props and some of the nicest hair do's I've seen in a while. It was a quick hop on/hop off performance by them and so caught up was I in getting them assembled and taxis organised that I missed their performance.
But am I worried? No, I hear you cry, for you can catch up with the show on the BBC Scotland website.
Ah my little ones, I can sense my work here is nearly done- the pupils have become the masters.
*Jon (and therefore now I) sticks it to the man by refusing to use aforementioned coffee outlet's enigmatic terminology for coffee sizes.
It was guests a plenty on The Festival Café today, as usual I hear you say! On the sofa with Clare for the whole show we had author and journalist Jon Ronson, talking about his book The Psychopath Test, and Scottish author of the moment Alan Bissett talking about his new novel "Pack Men" which is released in a couple of weeks! We were treated to performances from half-Irish, half-French chanteuse Camille, beat-boxer extraordinaire Beardyman and The Wireless Mystery Theatre who performed an extract from a ghost story that was specially devised for The Festival Café.
Tim Supple. Director of 1001 Nights
I was lucky enough to look after our last act (last, but definitely not least); Houda (actress) and Tim (director) from 1001 nights, a two part epic which is currently being performed at the Lyceum Theatre as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. It's an interesting play which in total is six hours long and focuses on a number of strong adult themes such as the supernatural, love and marriage, and power and punishment. Houda treated us to a beautiful short monologue in English, the play also features a number of extracts in Arabic, as the novel of the same name was orginially written in Arabic.I would urge you to go and see it for yourself, I'm definitely intrigued and I am going to try and get along to see the play before it closes on the 3rd September.
On tomorrow show we've got A Capella group Voices who perform in a variety of weird and wonderful styles (definitely worth a listen!), Guy Masterson also joins us to talk about his portrayal of Shylock in the play of the same name, and the cast of internationally renowned improv show "Baby Wants Candy" perform for us. We'll also be joined by Chris Larmer who recounts his experience of taking his terminally ill ex-wife to a specialist clinic in Switzerland to end her life. Listen to the show at 1315 on BBC Radio Scotland, or catch up with any episodes you've missed via the BBC iPlayer.