Scotland the brave
I have just spent a weekend in Edinburgh (slightly tentatively after getting into a bit of a Scottish scrape a couple of weeks ago -- but actually we all more or less ended up friends <so thanks to all in the Yes campaign on that!>). The main reason for going, was to give a talk at the fringe, about Roman Laughter... at which I had a great time, and -- to judge by talking to a good few of those attending -- so did a lot of the audience. (It is always amazing to do event likes this.. you meet people you've known on Twitter or thirty years ago or lots of young people doing Classics in school, and their teachers. So thank you everyone!).
But we also ("we": I was there with husband, daughter and son who lives in Edinburgh) did some sights and events. That included as we arrived going and having a drink at the Café Royal near the station. It's maybe a tourist pub, but the nineteenth-century ceramic panels (you see them above), depicting the scientific and cultural progress of Britain (all blokes so far as I could see, but I may have missed one) were stunning. (They also had some great baronial Scottish stained glass, as you can see on the right.)
Then we did a few shows.
I had already tweeted Kieran Hodgson's one man "French Exchange", in truth out of loyalty (he's a mate of the son). But it was actually damned good. Anyone who has ever been on an exchange, or (in my case) received an exchange student will recognise all this. The husband and I instantly spotted Kieran's "French girl" (I 'm afraid it usually is a girl) who simply says "no thank you" to every question you put to her throughout their week's stay. But we giggled at the cameo roles of the long suffering teacher, the teacher's husband who gamely goes along, and the poor bloody French tourist department representative, who has to give the equally long suffering pupils the boring speech about the industrial base of whatever part of the country they happen to be visiting.
It was a great performance around a contemporary (middle class) ritual.
Then the next day, after my gig, we went to Simon Callow's Juvenalia. It was an extraordinary one man show, entirely based on Juvenal's Satires -- as translated by Peter Green. It was done pretty much straight. And we rather wondered how this would go down. I mean the arcane references in Juvenal's Satires are as arcane as any in classical literature, but the audience was absolutely rapt. A treat.
And we had some good food (particularly like The Honours), and some over-plush, over-baronial lodgings, and back to Peterborough on the wonderful East Coast Line. All of us, it has to be said, a bit ill.. either getting over the bug, or in full bug-dom, or just getting it.