Tuesday, 28 August 2012

What's your name and where d'you come from?

We’ve talked names before, but where you're from also says a lot about you to other people. Yes, the assumptions may be unfounded, but admit it - the stereotypes pop straight into your head when you hear where someone lives. Especially if they happen to hail from Hell (yes, there are several Hells on earth – three of them at last count).
Hell is a perfect example of my favourite kind of place (that sounds wrong somehow...) I am a big fan of those places with names that conjure up so many images and preconceived notions that your brain starts to melt a little. Anyone up for a trip to Cocks (Cornwall), Muff (Donegal) or Sandy Balls (Hampshire)? *snigger*
On a slightly more innocent note, there’s Pucklechurch. Sure god love us. All I can see is little old ladies having fetes and cake sales. Whereas Shirehampton is just full to the brim with hobbits - in my head at least... As for the people of Merrijig - they must be a happy lot (and quite fit too, I'd imagine, what with all that dancing).
And then there are the places that are just fun to say. I give you Auchtermuckty as a perfect example. Go on - say it out loud. Let it fire around your mouth. One of life's simple pleasures.
Speaking of simple pleasures (and minds). My brother and I were endlessly entertained when we were younger by Ballydehob. Could there be a more Irish-sounding (a.k.a. culchie) place? Perhaps. I think Drimoleague, Carrickfergus or Ballindereen could give it a run for its money as being the actual birthplace of leprechauns.
I can imagine living in a place with a novel title gets a little tiresome, and the residents could be in danger of the odd sense of humour failure when they've heard the same lines trotted out at them for the 4,739th time (so what do you do for fun here in Dull…?), but if you're lucky enough to live somewhere with a fantastic name - embrace it. And embrace your stereotype while you're at it - it's much more fun (it is for me at least. I'm Irish, so I get to drink a lot and eat a lot of potatoes).
Cape Foulwind - I know a few people from there...

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Festive frolics

As the Edinburgh festival was kicking off last weekend a small gaggle of us were out taking in the atmosphere (and the beer) and a friend, let's call her Sabriena (because that's her name), decided to 'help' a performer whose flyer-hander-outer had clearly shirked their responsibilities and left the whole pile on one table. Now Sabriena has an impish streak at the best of times, add wine and naughtiness is guaranteed - so out came the eyeliner and said performer, unbeknownst to himself, was soon offering free shows and discounted tickets, not to mention taking on new personalities. Imp-girl then began distributing the flyers to passing punters, forgetting that Edinburgh is a very small place…
It took no less than three flyers before Sabriena was handing one of her special flyers to the performer himself. Caught rotten. He did see the funny side, but there was a definite tone to his good-natured repartee when he realised just how many of his 'very expensive' flyers imp-girl had ‘amended’ (see also: defaced).
So, by way of penance for the sins of the imp, if you are in the vicinity of Edinburgh I encourage you to go and see Trevor Browne – he is, apparently,  'probably the greatest folk-rock musician of all time’, ‘brilliantly funny’, and he's low on flyers - so tell your friends.
As you can tell, you don't have to actually see any shows in the festival to enjoy it, but it’s worth it all the same. Last night we went to see Mark Watson: The Information - the geeky non-welsh, non-Jewish funny guy from Never mind the Buzzcocks, 8 out of 10 Cats and Mock the Week (in his words; a 'non speaking role'). His show features plenty of audience interaction (the mark of a fine comic in my book) and the better half even got kudos and a big laugh for the comic timing of his interaction. This was not heckling, I hasten to add, for heckling rarely comes off well for the heckler - the hecklee generally takes the chuckling glory, and rightly so, because the majority of hecklers are an embarrassment.
Just two statues, shootin' the breeze
We followed Mr Watson with a mime act. Yes – I said a 'mime act'. What’s more, it was bloody brilliant. Words I never thought I would hear, much less write, in connection with mime. Had you said to me a guy could keep an audience totally enthralled and entertained for an hour without uttering a word I would have been skeptical at best, but that is exactly what The boy with tape on his face bloomin' well did. He is a man, but the boy title suits him so much better - and I say that with the nicest possible intentions, because he clearly hasn't lost his childhood imagination. There are lots of positive words to describe the show, but lighthearted does it best. Go and see it - you will come out with a BIG smile on your face.
People watching gold
Its ability to surprise, with the likes of good mime acts, is one of the many reasons I love the festival. I’m also a huge fan of people watching and during the festival it is absolutely golden. Maniacs, midgets and massive cows – its got it all, and more. My 9-year-old nephew put it best when he said 'Edinburgh is weird sometimes'. Yes it is. Weird and wonderful.

This is NOT how gingers should be treated