Up early for breakfast in the gardens of St. Augustine’s church, on the hill just beneath the castle; best egg and bacon roll in the festival. Then to the underbelly to watch a one act play by the Beeston Rifles, an intense affair of class revenge by a harassed single girl, on benefits, looking after a mentally retarded adult, given to gibberish and wanking. Her revenge is directed towards the privileged rich teenagers who had killed her father in a road traffic accident. Excellent stuff with powerful performances by the young Yorkshire cast. That Beeston must a dark dark place.
Then to the University to catch a comedy routine about political parties by Matt Forde. Claims he cut his political teeth in the Nottingham Labour party. Happens that I know the Nottingham Labour party rather well and they were not particularly known for their sense of humour, or for that matter, their political principles. Both aspects are admirably reflected in this piece which might well have sounded hilarious over a glass of claret at the dinner table but does not transfer well to the stand-up routine. He even made a joke about George Galloway calling him an apologist for Blair and a supporter of the Iraq war. Both of which he is. And is happy to acknowledge. Such people should shudder whenever a bomb goes off in Baghdad. It’s their fault. As Galloway rightly says the blood of those bombs is on their hands ITS THEIR FUCKING FAULT. It’s not the fault of the millions who marched to oppose Blair’s war. Having said that he did make one or two good jokes about Ed Miliband. They were jokes rather than satire, but good nonetheless, although some labour activists might well feel that given Miliband’s catastrophic performance that it’s time to stop the jokes and get serious about getting rid of him. Main impression of Forde was that of a mediocre DJ trying to make it as a serious comedian. Well that was my impression anyway.
A long couple of hours after Forde, sitting in the Grassmarket drinking Scottish beer (Deuchars) reading my book and watching the world go by beneath the rocky cliffs of the castle. Then in the evening to Ushers Hall for a performance by The sixteen, a choral group singing religious works from the 16th to the 21st century, astonishing soaring and uplifting stuff. Surely the triumph of the Festival. Afterwards to a cosy Edinburgh pub to plan the programme for tomorrow. A fairly typical day and one of the reasons I come back to the Festival year after year after year.