Every day during the Fringe I’m sharing a stage with a great lady of Barnton, Jojo Sutherland. We are a pair of right fannies, the show is at five, so the show is called Fanny’s @ Five.
It is entirely possible that the editor may asterisk out that title, but I assure you, we have no truck with the Americanisation of what used to be a fine Scottish word and activity.
Why, even my grandmother, that dragon of the Church of Scotland, regularly referred to those who had slackened in their Sabbath attendance as a heathen fanny.
The Fringe is bung fu’ with beautifully crafted stand-up shows, written with panache and flair. Every word is carefully chosen, and every punchline is delivered with the precision of an incredibly expensive stealth bomb.
Jojo and I like to refer to the style of our show as freeform scattergun interpretation, which is jargonese for, “we haven’t actually written anything”. Fortunately, we’re a pair of gobby dames with a predilection for blethering, so filling an hour with off-the-cuff interaction is not a problem. We are also a pair of nosey besoms who tend to learn a lot more about the audience than they intended.
People have told us some truly most bizarre things. Who knew that the youths in Fife used to drink a “Purple Nasty”, an incredible concoction of Pernod, Cointreau, lager, lemonade and blackcurrant? Seriously, you upchuck that and it’s going to stain.
We’ve found that stealing from the parental drinks cupboard is still a thing, but thanks to a more relaxed attitude to alcohol, the choice is better than that weird stuff dad bought in Magaluf that no-one can stand to touch.
Which way round do you put your bra on has become an epic audience battle. With stunning timing, given my current situation, I have discovered that the way I put my bra on is very much a minority practice. I am, you see, a back fastener. I reach around and fasten the hooks and eyes behind me. I thought every grown-up woman did.
Well, imagine my shock and surprise to find out that some women fasten at the front and do a sort of wiggle and twist to get the contraption into position.
Obviously, this question is mainly aimed at the women in the audience, but I’m willing to bet that there’s a bloke or two over our show run who’s had a go.
Anything Sophia can do I can do too
Sophia Loren taught me that trick. I can’t remember the name of the film, but I do recall in vivid detail how she slung on her lingerie. She did it with such effortless style that I decided I was going to grow up to be a raven-haired beauty leaning over a balcony in my undies to scream abuse into a hot Italian street at Marcello Mastroianni.
Several things mitigated against me almost at once. Being Glaswegian, I could barely speak English, never mind Italian. We didn’t have a balcony. Marcello Mastroianni didn’t live on our street. My mother would have given me a right slap for hanging out a window in my underwear.
So, most of these things did not come to pass, but I did master the art of fastening my bra like Sophia Loren.
It’s all change on the buses with a Ridacard
At the beginning of the Fringe I had an outbreak of adulthood and bought a Ridacard.
I thought it would be convenience. Come on, I can’t be the only one who has scrambled at the bottom of a bag and slapped every pocket in a desperate need to find a sneaky wee 20p or a desperately needed pound coin? That awful moment late at night when you realise it’s either a wait for half an hour for the next bus or two buses, but you only have the correct change for one bus, so the choice is long wait or long walk? Just me that’s disorganised, then?
Now I get to swan on, slap my ticket down and take my seat. If I want to, I can take three buses. I’m starting to look at my Ridacard as a present to myself.
The Berlin Wall on Princes Street
Popular musical acts were performing at the Ross Bandstand. Someone decided that peasants who had not bought tickets but merely happened to be waiting for a bus, presumably clutching their Ridacards, should not see the shenanigans.
Ugly barriers were erected to obscure the view. They also cut right across one of the most iconic photo opportunities of the Castle, reducing baffled tourists to taking selfies with what looked like a knock-off Berlin Wall behind them.
Visitors were confronted by a big black barricade. It looked like Edinburgh was shut, or we had sold the Castle off and didn’t want to tell anyone.
So let’s hear it for the council. They get a load of stick these days, but they got that wall down. Selfie-taking tourists thank you.