Susan Morrison: Taking heat off as Festival ends

Portobello Beach heaving with pale blue residents out to get sunburnt. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Portobello Beach heaving with pale blue residents out to get sunburnt. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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SO, they’ve all gone then? We can all come out to play again and find you can get a seat in a restaurant, sit down on a bus and move about without a face full of flyers.

It’s like having visitors to the house. It’s nice to have them, but gee whizz, it’s great when they go.

Mind you, it was a truly spectacular Fringe this year. For one thing, the weather played fair with us for days at a stretch. Why, I do believe our heatwave lasted more than two weeks, which is about 13 days and 23 hours longer than any other, since records began.

Just as an aside, it’s always that phrase, “since records began”. I mean, what happened before records began, eh? For all we know, there could have been endless summers of baking heat before someone – probably a civil servant – turned around and said, “We’d best make a record of this” and started filling out a form, and then the next thing you know, the weather got rubbish for about, oh, I don’t know, 200 years.

Anyway, you could hardly see the sand at Portobello for pale blue Scots who were rapidly turning bright red. There is something magnificently bloody-minded about a nation that stopped using sunbeds but insists on stripping down to torn boxer shorts the minute the sun comes out, and then showing off the sun-scorched skin with the cry, “Look at that, then, eh? See ma ­sunburn?”

Mind you, we may have turned away from the sunbed when we thought we might get mistaken for ex-MSPs who apparently liked to hang out in dodgy Manchester clubs for swingers. Ah well, that’s over for another year. We’ll just have to wait for the next festival to come along. What’s that you say? There’s a history festival in November? Bring it on...

Signing off from deaf discussion

In the last week of the Fringe I chaired an incredible debate in the Speigeltent when two deaf activists proposed that we ‘Send the Deaf to Orkney’.

The population of Orkney is almost exactly the same as the deaf population of the UK. The – not entirely serious – proposition was that the deaf should all migrate north and build their own world there, using British Sign Language as the native tongue and telling the hearing world to naff off.

The BSL interpreters hurled themselves into the fray, translating debating points and gags for the mostly deaf audience with terrific panache.

BSL is a beautiful thing to watch. It’s a bit like modern dance, only with a point.

Orkney Council had sent down 200 flags, and whenever someone scored a good point, or cracked a joke, the tent blossomed with fluttering Orcadian flags, waved with a mostly silent, but wild cheerful enthusiasm.

In the end, the vote went against the move to colonise Lerwick, mainly on account of the weather. Can’t blame them there.

What they want is more of us hearing folks learning BSL. I would, but I am the world’s most accident prone woman, with a tendency to dramatic arm-flailing. I once smashed an entire glass door with an over-generous gesture whilst trying to direct two old ladies to the toilet, so just imagine the damage I could do by just trying to say ‘Good morning’.

The great news is that more Scottish school kids are learning BSL. The bad news about this, of course, is that our teens will have yet another way to communicate without us oldies understanding a single word.

When it’s all down to interpretation

I DO believe it’s the first time in my life that I’ve had an interpreter beside me. Although it has to be said, that given my native Glaswegian breakneck speech pattern, some people believe I should always have a translator beside me.

And that’s not a racist comment, by the way, any more than charging me for using tomato sauce is.

Anyway, who puts tomato sauce on fried fish? Now that’s just plain wrong. It’s like red wine with fish. No wonder they charge 25p for it. Probably to discourage that sort of thing.