42nd Street Forever
Europe By Train: epilogue

REPOST: Edinburgh Festival 1999

1999 programme covers, clockwise from top left: Fringe, International, Film and Book Festivals Originally posted on The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey 30/08/1999

Rachael's decided to give it a miss this time to pursue her career(s). Ken says he'd like to wait another year before doing it again. But the presence of Liz, Rob D, Sylvia, Rob G, Jon, Old Lag, Christine, Nick and Lesley means that apart from those two, all of Spank's Pals who were involved in the 1998 Edinburgh Festival visit are back for further punishment in 1999. You're all very brave. In addition, we also have a couple of new recruits joining the team: Charmian, a veteran of several Fests, and Grizelda, a first-timer who's followed through on her promise in the letters page this time twelve months ago.

As was the case previously, we're working to a broad brief, covering events from all four main festivals:

  • The International Festival has world class music, theatre and dance at fairly reasonable prices. (Not that Nick believes that after the abortion that was Die Ahnlichen last year.)
  • The Festival Fringe is open to anyone who can fork out the entrance fee, resulting in a programme of several thousand performances ranging from the heart-stoppingly brilliant to the arse-clenchingly bad.
  • The International Film Festival has tons of new, previously unreleased films from around the world, seasons of established classics, and a first look at the hot hits from Cannes.
  • The Book Festival is great for "meet the author" sessions and public readings from all sorts of writers. What other book festival can offer you a reading with visuals by the Chemical Brothers' lighting team?

And once again, I'm dragging myself out of bed first thing every morning to bring you daily reviews of the stuff we see during our week in Edinburgh, with the help of the Pals. Last year it got to Friday morning before sleep deprivation and alcohol poisoning ruined the dream of having updates online by 11am each morning. How long will it take this year? Watch this space...


Official Festival Sites

Edinburgh Festivals is the gateway into the official sites for all Edinburgh's festivals: as well as the four big ones, it also has links to the Tattoo, the Jazz and Blues Festival, the Hogmanay celebrations and much more.

Edinburgh International Festival has the full programme and online booking facilities.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe has an easy to search database of shows, indexed by venue, title and artform (when you've got over 15,000 of them, that's a useful thing to have). Good bulletin board facility as well, although it tends to be dominated by flat-share adverts and low-end Fringe acts whoring themselves for some free publicity. (Literally, in some cases. Genuine posting from July 20th: "Free sex at my house during week 1 & 2 of the Fringe [Benefits]. BYOB, BYOC, BYOV.")

Edinburgh International Film Festival was a bit slapdash last year, but they seem to have got their act together now, including sort-of-on-line ticket booking (email based with no verification of ticket availability).

Edinburgh Book Festival looks nice, but doesn't really offer much more than an HTML-ed up scan of the hard copy programme. Tsk.

Flux Festival [dead link] is the subset of the Fringe dedicated to rock music, now in its third year. The site has details on all the gigs (ranging from Orbital to Ivor Cutler) and links to an online booking agency.

The Assembly Rooms, the Gilded Balloon and the Traverse Theatre - three of the biggest venues on the Fringe - each have official sites with specific programme details. But why isn't the Pleasance on line yet?

General Festival Coverage

The Scotsman's Festival site is traditionally the most comprehensive collection of daily reviews you'll find anywhere. To cover all these shows they sometimes have to draft in gardening correspondents and the like as emergency arts critics, so be prepared to take some of the reviews with a pinch of salt. This year they're publishing reader reviews [dead link] as well, something the official Fringe site did last year until they realised just how many bad reviews they were getting.

Festival Revue [dead link] made its debut last year, and was quite successful at giving the outside world a taste of the Edinburgh atmosphere through huge amounts of streaming video. This year they're even relaying their video clips to a big screen in Covent Garden, so soft Southern bastards can enjoy it too.

Inside Out is a Scottish webzine primarily dedicated to film. Their Film Festival section has probably the best EIFF coverage you'll find anywhere, and this year they're broadening their range to include the other festivals [dead link] and a bulletin board [dead link].

Britcomedy Digest is a fanzine page dedicated to all aspects of British comedy. Expect reviews of the funniest stuff on the Fringe as the festival progresses.

Other Edinburgh Links

Web 13 [dead link] and Cyberia [dead link] are the Edinburgh cybercafes whose hospitality, technical resources and stocks of Tunnock's Caramel Wafers were abused to get these reviews out to you. Thanks to them.

Napier University once again provided the accommodation for Spank and his pals during their week in Edinburgh, thanks to their dirt cheap letting of student self-catering flats during the summer vacation. We booked in March and had to take our second choice of location, which shows you how popular they are. Start planning now for 2000.

The Gen [dead link] is a spookily well-assembled photographic tour of Edinburgh, utilising 20,000 pictures and lashings of Shockwave to allow you to navigate a series of 360 degree panoramas of the city using just your mouse. Stand in the middle of a virtual Princes Street and watch everything rotate around you, just like it does in the real one at three on Sunday morning.

Deep fried Mars bars [dead link] have become the standard cliche of Edinburgh cuisine. Why not try making your own at home?


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