Monday, August 22, 2011


Up on stage. Dragged up on stage by an unusual comedian at the Edinburgh Festival, in front of maybe 300 people, squinting into the dazzle, trying to smile, wondering what’s happening to my lips. It was embarrassing of course, but fun too, even while I was up there I was enjoying it, it was memorable. That was The Boy With The Tape on His Mouth, a man doing an hour’s show with his mouth taped up, using mime and physical comedy and the audience; child-like, playful, sophisticated, bit of Tati, one of my highlights. The other would be A Slow Air by David Harrower, lovely play at the Traverse, about family, a brother and a sister, estrangement, something I always seem to be looking at in my fiction, beguiling. And the wonderful story-telling of The Man Who Planted Trees, with the very funny dog puppet, the surprising and engaging kids’ show, Boxes and Bubblewrap, Michael Morpurgo doing his gentle, moving thing in Private Peaceful, and Neil Gaiman at the Book Festival, being pleasant and interesting, though I’d have liked to hear him read.

So that was a success. Daughter desperate to return next year. Son a little more luke-warm, a little less surprised by it all. Walking down the Royal Mile among tightrope walking jugglers, fire-eaters, strangely dressed performers accosting us to hand out fliers, he’s earnestly asking me, Who would win in a fight between Caligula and Blackbeard?

In other news, The 1000 Autumns of Jacob de Z … a bit disappointing. I love David Mitchell, but I’m not enjoying this very much. Jacob de Z’s a bit dull, the thriller story of the second part’s an improvement but not very thrilling and with a predictable (inevitable?) twist. Just beginning the third part. When you admire the visuals on a Pixar film, you know there’s something wrong with the story. Here, I’m admiring the research.

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