Few fires burn with the intensity of the zeal of the convert, and I count myself in that number.
Throughout my formative years I was told that the people of Edinburgh were cold, unfriendly and strangely mean with their tea. Imagine my joyous surprise to discover that the good folk of this great city are every bit as pally and down to earth as Glaswegians, only with a different choice of chip shop condiments.
There, I’ve said it. Expect me to have my birth certificate revoked.
Oh, said my fellow Glaswegians, they won’t speak to you on the buses. Yes, yes, they do, although why bus-based conversation is taken as a mark of civilisation is anyone’s guess.
On at least one occasion I was trapped on the 22 by a blow by blow account of the horrors of an unfortunate toenail clipping episode at the chiropodist. There is a reason why headphones became so popular, my friends, and it’s not just because of the music.
Glaswegian folklore holds that you’ll never be able to ask an Edinburgher directions, they just won’t tell you. Balderdash and poppycock.
That terrible slur came about because the entire population quickly learns to wearily raise one arm upwards in reply to the question: “Can you tell me the way to the Castle?”
Sometimes I think we should all just be issued with T-shirts reading That Way; No, There’s No Lift; and No, The Queen Doesn’t Live There. This is my city now, so how dare some wumman, and not even a Glaswegian one at that, call us out for being hostile?
At the risk of unleashing my inner Glaswegian . . . back off, sister.
From Lothian Buses drivers through coffee shop caffeine slingers, to those little old ladies that every bus stop seems to be issued with, these everyday folk are the ambassadors of Edinburgh, dispensing directions, information and why you should avoid that chiropodist.
We’re now welcoming that annual deluge of arts and culture. People come from bits of the globe you’ve barely even heard of to do a mime interpretation of the Highway Code of Kazakhstan.
They come every year, and they keep coming back, and they seem to be bringing their pals. If we were so hostile, would they keep coming?
Show will be all bright on the, er, afternoon
Actually, I could get pretty hostile, in a Genghis Khan kind of a way. I’m going to be spending this Fringe in a yurt in St Andrew Square with The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, where academics come to play at 3pm every day.
There they can present ideas as dangerous as why sunblock is killing us, why genetically modified things are good for us and how to get the internet from your light bulb.
Admittedly, I think the last one is sheer witchcraft, but these seem like bright people and they know their stuff, and the readers of this great institution are also bright people, so why not come along and join in the debate?
You’ve got to roll with toilet humour
A PAIR of Knightsbridge princesses wafted on to the number 22 the other day. You know, those tall, shiny girls with swishy hair, like a Neil Oliver tribute act. Sunglasses on top of heads, teeth that could guide in night flights and voices pitched at just the right volume to order champagne at a Hunt Ball. Even the headphones couldn’t block out their conversation. They said “yah” a lot.
They were hauling serious amounts of shopping from Lidl. The giveaway item was the giant multipack of toilet roll. Yep, they were here for the Fringe.
Gosh, they were thrilled. They were actually too thrilled to even notice that their shopping bags were blocking the gangway.
At each stop people stumbled past, until about halfway up the Walk, when one of Leith’s more chemically enhanced sons staggered aboard. He lurched up the bus and then stopped dead at the theatrical lovelies.
His could not pass, but rather than remonstrate harshly, he swept up the giant multipack of toilet rolls and plonked them on the lap of one of our Harrods Harriers.
“See yous,” he announced, showing all of his three teeth, “yous are definitely the bonniest on this bus, but ye’s must do a heck o’ a load a poo.” He did not used the term poo.
Hostile? Think not.
Come clean for a happy time
Welcome to all those from Knightsbridge, Kazakhstan, Korea wherever. We do look forward to your visits, and we welcome you and we wish you well but, remember, we live here.
So if our smiles get a little strained, or our voices become as sharp as a tired hostess who finds her party going on a little too long, cut us some slack.
Do what any good party guest would do under those circumstances. Offer to do the washing up or push the hoover about, or at least keep the gangway on the bus clear.