Things to do in Scotland when it’s dead
Kirstin Innes puts together a Festival experience without setting foot in Edinburgh
This article is from 2010.
So, apparently there’s some sort of small gathering happening in Edinburgh, and that means the rest of the country is effectively closed for business? Er, wrong. Here’s our essential guide to getting yourself a festival experience without going to the capital.
Rather than paying through the nose to sit passively in a darkened room with 12 uncomfortable strangers while some bloke who almost appeared on Mock the Week runs through a hastily shoehorned set of Raoul Moat jokes, why not express yourself? In Glasgow, Bar Bloc’s rather lovely interactive orchestra (yes, it’s called Blochestra) is carrying on regardless – bring any sort of instrument you’ve got hanging around the house (we suspect they may even accept a comb and paper) for a combination workshop and jam session led by Craig Grant from Union of Knives (Mon 9 Aug, Bloc, Bath Street, 9pm). More music-making at the Arches, where Scottish bhangra outfit Tigerstyle are running two workshops in creative music-making (Arches, Argyle Street, Thu 5 &12 Aug, 6pm, call 07811 097821).
Welcome Home on Keith Street are running a Zine Workshop, led by Marceline Smith, who writes Asking For Trouble and Jen Collins (hellojenuine) for those who reckon this magazine publishing business looks pretty easy (Welcome Home, Keith Street, Sun 8 Aug, 2pm, call 0141 334 9598), while artists can either work their easels at GOMA’s potraiture workshop (Sun 8 Aug, 1pm) or at that hardy perenium —– sorry, we mean perrenial – Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, where burlesque dancers and drag artists reveal themselves for the pleasure of your pencil (Arches, Sun 8 Aug, 4pm, 0141 565 1000). Incidentally, Dr Sketchy’s ought to fill your exhibitionist-in-eyeliner quota for this year too – see, no need to go anywhere near the Royal Mile!
Foodie types in Glasgow should take advantage of the slightly quieter restaurants to pick up special offers: Gourmet Glasgow is a culinary festival with dining deals in restaurants across the city, including Red Onion, Alla Turca and Café Andaluz, as well as a number of special events throughout August (look out for the Sunday afternoon teas with string quartets in Two Fat Ladies at the Buttery). Full details at www.graonline.co.uk
Finally, if you’ve sworn off Edinburgh but still need a bit of a Fringe in your life, take a wander down to North Berwick, where the Fringe By the Sea (Tue 10–Sun 15 Aug) will be recreating the Fringe atmosphere in a slightly more relaxed fashion. So, out with the screaming street performers, Dizzee Rascal, bloated stand-up programme and high falutin’ Book Festival, in with wandering Pavement Poem-Catchers, lo-fi folk gigs featuring Eddi Reader and Julie Fowlis, a select Scottish comedy programme and talks from Quintin Jardine and Simon King, OBE. We particularly like the look of the film festival programme, and the historical walking tours of the town. They’ve even got a Spiegeltent, and the fish and chips are guaranteed to be better. Probably no salt and sauce, though.
See www.fringebythesea.co.uk/ for details.