I'm a bit late with posting this but I did not want to let any more days pass by without providing that little commentary on my adventures in Edinburgh last weekend.
As mentioned in a previous post, I started the weekend with gin tasting / cabaret event, which was ok but nothing really to shout about other than that the singers were really good. The gin...well, it was ok, and it was something new to try.
The other events I went to last weekend, tho, were much better:
Wired was a play put on at a venue hosted by the Army and focused on a young soldier being traumatised by witnessing the explosion of an IED. The play was superbly performed by three actresses who kept the small audience enraptured all the way through the MC's experience of PTSD. It was thought-provoking and moving, and not something I would have expected (especially given the venue). I didn't find the ending believable, but it did make one think. Again, it was one of the performances that I probably wouldn't have picked if I had read the description properly...but that proved to be a rather good find.
That is kinda what happens at The Festival...you sort of stumble into things because there are thousands of performances through out the month of August and it is almost impossible to remember or list everything that looks interesting in the programme.
The highlight of my trip, however, was a Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour.
Now, you may ask what our favourite consulting detective has to do with Edinburgh? Well, the tour wasn't so much about Sherlock Holmes as it was about his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, and he was born in Edinburgh (just around the corner from where I made my HQ for the weekend). There was, until very recently, even a statue of Holmes to mark the spot - as the original house had been torn down to make way for a roundabout. This year, the statue was missing, too, a victim to further roadworks. I hope they put it back soon! It belongs in Picardy Place.
(This is the picture I took last year in Picardy Place.)
Let me say this, too: The tour started at 10:30 and lasted for near enough 2 hours ... in the pouring rain. And I mean, rain heavy enough to keep many festival-goers off the street. Except, of course, for a small group of 11 "enthusiasts" (i.e. nutters) who got happily soaked following this guy through town:
He was a great guide!
We started at the Royal Mile with a history of Edinburgh, then went to Edinburgh Uni - the medical school of it - and spent some time at the med quad, the inner quadrant that leads to the School of Anatomy. Here he told about ACD's childhood, his family, his school days, and his father's drinking problem, Burke and Hare and general body-snatching, ... as well as a bit of history of the university.
(The Anatomy School is straight ahead.)
Then we went to George Sq. where ACD and his mother lived when his father was institutionalised, and just when ACD went on an unheard-of sabbatical from uni to earn money on a whaler in the Arctic. Much of what the guide told here was new to me - about ACD nearly drowning on a few occasions and earning the nickname "the great northern diver".
The last leg was a walk over to the Old Infirmary, where ACD worked with Dr. Joseph Bell. This was pretty cool, too. And this also is where the topic of Sherlock Holmes comes in because Dr. Bell, a pioneer of forensic pathology, was ACD's inspiration for the detective. He also was the model for almost every depiction of Holmes we have:
The guide threw in a bit of interactivity there were he demonstrated Bell's method of observation. I didn't know about Bell's involvement in the Ripper case and that his report (indicating the identity of the Ripper) was received by the Met but then mysteriously disappeared?
There were also mentions of our guide about ACD potentially having accompanied Bell on the investigation.
This is a part I want to investigate further. It sounded a bit too fantastic to be true. Not that I doubt the guide - all of the other things he told were in line with what I had read - but it sounded too weird to not be known more widely.
So, this is a new likely rabbit hole that beckons.
The tour overran, which meant I didn't have time to make it to Simon Callow's performance of Wilde in De Profundis. :(
But ... I am resolved to make another trip (just for the day) down tomorrow to catch Callow and a show by Katherine Parkinson, which I am excited about, too (but only found out about on Sunday).
Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain...but that didn't really stop anyone.
(Mercat Cross & St. Giles)