New Year fun is packed full of ups and doons

Edinburgh new year games
Edinburgh new year games
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ARE you an Uppie or a Doonie? Don’t know? Well, discovering to which team you owe your allegiance is simple.

If you live north of the Royal Mile, you’re an Uppie and are entitled to wear the Uppie’s colours of silver, blue and purple as you gather around the adventurous silver eagle that is the Uppie Totem. If you live south of the Royal Mile, you’re a Doonie. Your totem is a brave red stag and your colours, red, orange and pink.

All of this will mean nothing to you, of course, unless you happen to be taking part in the latest entertainment to be introduced to the Capital’s winter celebrations, The New Year’s Games. At five city centre venues – Grassmarket, National Museum of Scotland, The Hub, Dance Base and St Giles’ Cathedral – your challenge is to win points for your team by taking part in a series of games created by Scottish artists.

The action starts at 2pm at the playground in the Grassmarket where you can check out the Red Stag of the Doonies and the Silver Eagle of the Uppies, and win tokens for your team in a number of outdoor games.

The event is based on a tradition found in many towns and villages across Scotland, in which the population divides into Uppies and Doonies to play a town-wide ball game. As well as all-day play in the Grassmarket however, there will also be the chance to take part in four entirely new performance games, each designed to be fun for both players and spectators. No excuse then for not popping along to shout for your side.

Throw Things At Found is the title of the first game, located at The Hub, Castlehill. Usually, you throw things at a band to make them shut up. In this game, it’s a bit different. The game has been created by arts collective and experimental pop band Found, who were formed by art college students Ziggy Campbell (lead vocals, guitar), Tommy Perman (bass guitar, synth) and Kev Sim (electronics, percussion).

At Dancebase, in the Grassmarket, Scotch Hoppers is the game artist Brian Hartley will introduce. Hop, skip and jump through Dancebase and fire up your co-ordination skills with a series of hopscotch-inspired challenges, designed and directed by Hartley and Stillmotion. Start at the top and play your way through the increasingly tricky levels, or take a short cut to the end and watch the professionals.

Game three is Resonate The Labyrinth, with Pippa Murphy, at St Giles’ Cathedral, in the Royal Mile. In this game, you must take on the challenge of the labyrinth, a twisting sonic journey through St Giles’ Cathedral, with a minotaur at its heart. Can you reach the centre without being spotted? A game of sound, movement and monsters, come along and play, or just listen to Murphy’s evolving musical score.

Finally, Dreadnought at the National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, is a game of blind geometric warfare devised by Spotov and inspired by the Razzle Dazzle camouflage of World War I battleships. Combatants assume the role of either remote radio controller, sightless human agent or double-headed wrecker, and must negotiate the elegant vector field of operations without activating any of the mines.

Up to 9000 people are expected to take part in the street games and the combined weight of the winning tokens for the two teams is 168 kilos.

A total of 8000 sheets of florescent Day-Glo paper, 280 pom-poms, 130 balls and seven vintage car horns will all feature in the games.

Winners and losers alike should head back to the playground in the Grassmarket for the closing ceremony at 5.30pm. In the meantime, let the New Year’s Games commence.

New Year’s Day Games, Grassmarket/National Museum of Scotland/The Hub/Dance Base/St Giles’ Cathedral, Sunday, 2pm-6pm, free