The end of the Fringe as we know it?

Thirteen days ago The Times had a front page headline Two weeks to save the Fringe from oblivion, erm, so is this really it for the Fringe?! The chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Shona McCarthy has been asking the Scottish government to lower the two metre rule to one metre in venues to ensure at least some shows will be viable. She said acts that would usually come to Edinburgh in August are already arranging stuff in England because, well, they can. Quite why the two week deadline I can’t figure out, yes time is seriously running out for anything to happen in August, but why by 12th June? Or is that paper emphasising the clock ticking timebomb more than the chief exec?

Is there really a danger that two years without a full-on Fringe will mean the demise of the Edinburgh Fringe? The article states that “an alliance of ten venues recently warned that the Fringe was in danger of sinking without trace”. Oh boy, I know I’ve pondered such a thing, but I’m a top level catastrophist! I keep checking the BBC online news for updates but all I’ve read recently is that the Scottish government intend to extend their temporary emergency powers (that really doesn’t sound promising!). These temporary emergency powers were meant to expire in September but they want them extending until March next year, with an option to extend further until September 2022 if they deem it necessary. Wow. Cautious or controlling? Opposition parties have expressed concern that the government is trying to rush the bill through before the summer recess which means there won’t be time to properly scrutinise the details and fully debate it – call me cynical but I smell something fishy!

I haven’t seen anything that even hints the Sturgeon will agree to cut the two metres down to one. There have been a number of large trial events in England that have had good results, as in only few positive cases found linked to the events. Yes, there are new variants, some that spread quickly but they don’t seem to be as harmful (which come to think of it, way back last year some scientist said that as viruses mutate to survive they become less virulent as part of that survival process). There’s enough evidence to show that one metre distancing is good enough if the rules are followed. Many countries have gone down to one metre and seem to be doing okay, many businesses here are unmanageable and unviable at two metres. If businesses here have to abide by stricter guidelines, then the government could at least give enough assistance to alleviate some of the hardship caused by them.

I’ll leave you with a quote I saw this week from Scotland’s chief medical office, one Dr Gregor Smith, talking to a committee he said, “…. and if you are at one metre your risk is much greater than if you are at two metres ….” No shit, Sherlock! Who’d’ve thunk it! Of course there’s a higher risk, higher, but higher than what? What is the risk now and each day as more people get vaccinated? And much greater? I wonder the percentage that adds the “much”. In times gone by, folk carried snuffboxes about their person, these days we need saltboxes for a ready pinch to hand!

Toodle pip!

What will the future bring? I wonder…..

To paraphrase an old favourite from The Sound of Music which has been wiggling through my head all morning. You may, or may not be aware that the Scottish Parliament votes have now all been counted and the Scottish National Party is still in power. No surprises there, but what now? I awoke this morning with my head immediately buzzing with thoughts, niggles, questions; probably because late last night when I should have already switched off and gone to bed, I stumbled upon a Facebook page that, well, frankly it disturbed me. It was late, I was tired though stubbornly still up, I guess the words clung around as I finally went off.

The words? You know how some folk make mean, jibey comments on Facebook but you know they’d never actually say any of that stuff out loud, face to face? Well, this particular thread was written by nationalists who quite likely would say all of it and more, pitchforks at the ready to drive the English south and crowdfund to build a new wall. Actually, they kinda make me think of the Brexiteers, mmm, some nationalists are very sure on kicking out anyone English and/or unionist, I wonder if they’re aware that Scotland needs incomers? In England the PM has announced a deal which will allow students from India to live and work in the UK for two years after graduation, bet plenty there will have lots to say about that (the deal is reciprocated by India but I doubt certain factions will read that far).

Maybe I should reiterate at this point that I do love Scotland and the Scottish (well mostly). I know and like many nationalists, as I said last post, vive la différence, humans will be humans with all their foibles, just different foibles for different folk. God knows, a room full of yorkshiremen would have more foibles in it than some small countries! Scottish independence is inevitable now and while that makes me sad, I totally get why some many want it especially now. I don’t want Scotland to leave the UK but at the same time, the world of politics seems to going batshit crazy these last few years, English politics have gone right down the pan, yeah, why not? Bring it on, how much worse can things be?! Well, it won’t be utopia, a land of milk and honey, lambs will not be frolicking with wolves in the meadows. Scotland may throw out the can full of English government worms, but be sure there’ll be plenty of other worms in plenty of other cans just waiting for a can opener to come along.

I blame Trump for all this mess with political leaders. Okay, so there’s always been a cult of personality thing around like forever, but it seems to have escalated with Trump. It seemed ludicrous that he could become president, but that was just the starters! The cult of Trump showed how much a big personality can get away with and, well, Boris Johnson decided it was time for his big play. I reckon that he played everyone, even when things weren’t looking his way, he was playing the longer game moving all the pieces into place so that one by one they’d be removed from the board leaving him at the top.

This morning it occurred to me that maybe we’re all in just another play he’s manoeuvring now; see, this may sound daft, but, what if in actual fact Johnson does want rid of Scotland? He can’t say that directly but by manipulation and misdirection he can make it look like it was none of his doing! Indeed, a dear friend of mine endured some seriously passive aggressive behaviour by an Ex for months and months when he tried to manipulate her into being the “bad guy” ending their relationship, oh, she figured it out afterwards, after her unrelenting optimism (that he’d get over whatever was making him act mean) finally drove him to admitting he wanted to break up. Yeah, some good guys don’t like having to do things that’ll tarnish the image, they don’t realise that just being truthful will merely cause a blemish that will soon be gone as folk come around and respect their honesty.

Will Nicola Sturgeon take a moment, pause for thought, reflect on how the world has turned these last few years? Promises made can be shown empty when it turns out they were only on supposition that agreements would be reached to one’s own benefit. Will anyone remember that pride always has a fall following on behind? However things pan out I hope Scotland comes through, stronger and wiser. May my dark night fears of tiny minds, ego-led politicians and Kafkaesque bureaucracies just stay in the recesses of my mind, banished away by sunshine and smiles. To paraphrase from another classic film, It’s Springtime for Sturgeon and Scotland 😆

I shall leave you with another picture from my walks down here. The local river, I’ve spent many, many hours through the years beside it 💛

It’s downhill all the way

After doing my civic duty yesterday, I skidaddled down the road to the old country (so much quicker going down the way, as my old dad used to say). First morning woke early, ye gods, frost! And I’d thought, what a waste of time, when I had to cover a multitude of young plants around the garden with various objects yesterday evening. Apparently it’s been back to wintery coldness down here recently, but now I’m here things are gonna get warmer and, rather annoyingly, wetter.

Hurrah, teatime viewing is Richard Osman’s House Of Games. Ha, back in the day mother banished the new colour telly to the sitting room and insisted we all sat at the table for meals – it still feels slightly devilish even now to eat tea watching the telly down here! ROHOG is rather good this week, I do like Samira Ahmed, she and Angela Rippon (isn’t she looking great) compliment each other well in the pairs round. Meanwhile at the far end Dom Joly has been rather a misery guts, doesn’t like losing, does he? And then there’s the stand-up comedian, the rather amiable and unassuming John Robins, he’s whupping Dom Joly’s ass in the final round each day (oh, I hope saying that doesn’t damn John’s performance today). On checking wikipedia last night, I see he’s been performing at the Edinburgh Fringe since 2007, winning the Comedy Award in 2017 for his show The Darkness of Robins – how does his name not register with me at all?! I’ll have to look through my Fringe programs when I get back home and see why Mr Robins has stayed below my fringedar.

Oh joys! John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme is back on Radio 4 on Thursday evenings, I was happy to have the kitchen to myself to listen while (while or whilst? Linguistics?) I did the washing up. Oo, I wonder if he’s ever been on ROHOG? With the unusual things he dreams up I bet he’d be rather good on it, though his quickness on the buzzer wouldn’t be stand-up fast. Finnemore v Neenan would be a good match, I reckon, let’s add in, erm, Carrie Quinlan and Alice Lowe. Okay, so I think about people I’d like to see competing on ROHOG, more about that another time.

By the time I return to Auld Reekie the dust will have settled after the parliamentary election. No doubt it’ll all be whirled up again soon enough with independence talks. Politics suck, why can’t folk just try to get along better? Vive la différence! Another thing that sucks is waiting to see how this year’s Fringe will pan out. Registrations have now opened for it but, as the vast majority of venues won’t be viable under current restrictions, it’ll be more the Online Fringe than the Edinburgh Fringe. Hey, at least that could be fairly international, I mean, from next year there could be fair less Creatives over from europe thanks to Brexit, and then, god knows what will happen when Scotland goes for independence?! And let’s not forget the new Scottish Hate Crime Bill thats been disturbing many with its potential new puritanism. At this rate 2019 may turn out to have been the last ever full-on Edinburgh Fringe!!

Oh dear, that went bad. I’ll pick the mood back up by leaving you with a pic of the blue haze of bluebells in the local woods. Toodle pip!