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Blog: Edinburgh Again

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Myself and The Lava In My Volcano had a BRILLIANT time this weekend, as we went on a MINI BREAK to Edinburgh. AGANE!

As previously, we booked our train WELL in advance, which meant we got to go FIRST. This is always good, but especially so when travelling on a weekday as they give you tonnes of FREE BOOZE and also GRUB. Going up on Friday we got veggie WRAPS, but coming back on Monday we got ACTUAL CURRY on PLATES. It was well swanky!

Also as last time we stayed in the Premier Inn Hub, which The Guests In My Rooms described, correctly, as "like a posh youth hostel", notably because instead of a BAR or RESTAURANT it has a sort of mini-REFECTORY where you could go any time day or night to get free tea and coffee, with a FRIDGE to get beer from and a counter to pay for it at, also to get stuff like TOAST. It made the whole place feel very SOCIABLE, and we even CHATTED to some other guests!

One of the (many) lovely things about going to Edinburgh is that we have both been there A LOT so didn't feel the need to dash around doing things, which meant that on Friday we just went for a bit of a WANDER round, then had some tea. Saturday was a bit more ACTIVE, kicking off with us going to see Victoria Crowe: Fifty Years Of Painting on the recommendation of a work chum. It was Really Quite Good - I especially liked the paintings of the SHEPHERDESS she used to live next to, though we both wondered how it would feel to have a Posh Artist move in next door and then keep bothering you with her easel. The exhibition was THORT PROVOKING in many ways, notably about PRIVILEGE in ART i.e. it always seems to be Posh People painting pictures of and for OTHER Posh People which are then BOUGHT by Posh People in a huge network of Awards and Honours also for and by Posh People. I know this one was about an artist who started half a century ago, so you could say it is as a result of being from A Different Time, but I'm not so sure things have changed that much.

After THAT we zoomed round to The National Museum Of Scotland to go on one of their themed TOURS. The one we rocked up for was called "Strokes Of Luck", which involved an EXCELLENT Retired Psychologist taking us around a hugely varied bunch of ARTEFACTS which had been found through, or discovered involving, or were very very vaguely linked to the idea of, LUCK. To be honest the theme didn't really hold up, but it was a BRILLIANT way to zoom around the MASSIVE collection, and we got to see some brilliant things, notably the BERSERKER from the Lewis Chess Pieces who did NOT look like Slaine but DID very much look like a LOON. We also got to see the TAPESTRY version of one of our favourite paintings from the Victoria Crowe exhibition, Large Tree Group.

We spent the rest of the day doing further Wandering About, notably round Greyfriar's Kirk which, after a MILLION visits to Edinburgh, neither of us had been to before. It turned out to be full of Harry Potter fans, and also the sound of The Proclaimers soundchecking at the castle! Further wandering took us down Calton Road where, after YEARS of thinking about it, I finally located the site of Calton Studios where I did my very first EVER Edinburgh Fringe show in - YIKES! - 1990!

On our last full day we went for a MASSIVE HIKE up Arthur's Seat, which involved a LENGTHY return journey round the base after someone (it doesn't matter who) got a bit confused about the best way down. It was a GRATE walk, but crikey, it didn't half hurt the next day - my Fenland legs are not meant for such things!

In the evening we met my SISTER for the PUB and then a GIG, as we'd booked tickets to see Hamish Stuart from The Average White Band. It's not the sort of thing ANY of us would usually do, but it seemed rude to go to Edinburgh during a festival (the Blues & Jazz one in this case) and NOT see a show. The support band were RUBBISH - they were very Proficient and Competent, but they had no TUNES or indeed POINT and (most HEINOUS of ALL band crimes) they not only did Introducing The Band TWICE, but when they did it none (NONE!) of the band did the traditional BIT. When you say "On BASS, Kenny Rhythm!" (for example) Kenny is SUPPOSED to e.g. play that bit off of Gracelands, but all they did was NOD and smile. DISGRACEFUL!

Hamish Stuart and co, however, were BLOODY BRILLIANT. It was sort of like the first time I saw Belle & Sebastian and thought "Oh THAT'S what this sort of music is MEANT to sound like!" in that it was all the usual FUNKY THINGS you see bands like that do, but GRATE. They were a DELIGHT to watch, ENGAGING between songs, clearly having fun and, astoundingly for me who always wants a song to finish after two minutes, it was ACTUALLY ENJOYABLE when they started mucking around and RIFFING. I could hardly believe what I was hearing - there were GUITAR SOLOES and they were A GOOD THING!!

It was, all in all, a pretty bloody brilliant holiday and one I would recommend to ALL. I enjoyed it so much, in fact, I'm going up again NEXT month!

posted 23/7/2019 by MJ Hibbett

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