Edinburgh Fringe Day 25 — On Knowing What I Don't Want.

The angel font at St. Giles' Cathedral
Tonight Anne-Marie and I planned to go and listen to the Scottish National Youth Choir singing  Fauré's Requiem at St. Giles' Cathedral on the Royal Mile.

The programme started at 10pm which meant I had a couple of hours to fill after the gig. Shouldn't be a problem — there's plenty of comedy on, right?

But I spent a couple of hours on the Internet this morning trying to find something I fancied that started at 8pm and, frankly, there wasn't a lot. The two comedians I really fancied were all booked up so eventually I decided on Patrick Monahan, given that several Facebook friends have highly recommended him.

So it was a quiet day of rest, which I really needed, in Colinton, and I only went into town at 5pm. Lovely gig; smallish but very appreciative audience and both the Heavy Petting team before me and George after me were commenting on the end of the run, how tired they were and how it would be good to get home.

The Heavy Petting act is a lot of fun. Four of them are performing a series of sketches and sharing the somewhat sparse proceeds. They haven't been as popular as the Tickled Pigs and I'm going to sound like a boring old fart when I say it's probably because it's much more intelligent comedy. And they are lovely people too.

Happily I caught the no. 2 bus to the Guilded Balloon venue which was utterly stuffed with people (well it is Saturday night) and queued happily for Patrick Monahan and sat happily waiting for the show to start.

The first five minutes, all composed of Patrick and one audience member doing Zumba passed amusingly enough. Then it got onto men sitting down to wee on toilets ... and 20 minutes later, with lots of audience participation, it was still on men sitting down to wee on toilets. My face hadn't even cracked once.

I was totally in the minority; the audience loved it. It was all about them and they all had a drink. At least it wasn't profane — not a single swear word and children allowed in. But it was boring, trite, predicable. So I left.

Now that was a big decision but having been so very happy here, the feeling of boredom and being in the wrong place felt so much more powerful than it might have done; I actually started to feel distinctly off-colour and I simply wasn't prepared to allow that. Luckily for me, there was a little sketch about getting into a party when you're not invited where Patrick was focused on someone else so I could dive out without drawing attention to myself.

Instead, a walked in Edinburgh in the rain, trying to find something to eat. Tupiniquim had just closed down for the night but I found a lovely little cafe with Earl Grey tea and a piece of shortbread and just sat there in complete contentment until it was time to go to meet Anne-Marie. Again, there was absolutely no feeling of being odd or out of place alone.

St. Giles' is a lovely vaulted cathedral (do look at the website) with wonderful acoustics and it's really beautiful to sit in and appreciate to the sound of soaring, cascading music. The prelude was some modern choral music which was all about death and conflict and which really didn't please me although the singing was superb. I wondered if I were just having a very off day but actually I'm just knowing what I like and don't like and I don't want stories about murder or execution in my life, thank you.

But then the organ and choir melted into Fauré's Requiem ... and I am not kidding, the angels and the spirits of the cathedral emerged from the walls to listen. The whole timbre of the cathedral changed and it became alive with sentience. Beautiful, glorious, perfect.

Oh and it was just lovely to be driven home too!


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