edinburgh festival; beam me up scotty


It’s August and one of the things I really miss is our visit to the Edinburgh Festival. I only started going to it a few years ago and I love it all – the Fringe, the main festival, the book festival, the tattoo, the crowds, the city. It’s just got to be the best selection of entertainment in a single place anywhere in the world.

I originally went there with Paul S as we were assessing the event for sponsorship purposes. We had some contacts with the organisers of the Fringe – I was very keen to see whether BT could bring improvements to their online capability. But we were still unsure about how to do the whole event. So we asked our old friends Gavin and Scott Hastings to introduce us to it. Boy these guys know their way round their home town. We had just the most brilliant time. Scott in particular was a fantastic help – planning an itinerary for us, sorting out tickets, some hotel rooms and restaurant bookings, hosting us at some of the great shows and helping us get in the mood with a few cheeky glasses….

We realised that an online deal might take a long time to sort out – it’s such an immense and complex project. But we also realised that the Festival could offer a great addition to our hospital programme, especially as an antidote to all the summer’s sporting highlights. Although some way from our London base, we figured that it might be possible to take some guests there for a quick impactful weekend visit. To test the idea we did a pilot run with some old business friends G and M a couple of years ago and we had an absolute blast. G was able to source tickets for some of the key events like the final night of the tattoo which was just spectacular. See the shots below and take a look at how excited G was afterwards (1st shot). Bless him.

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Scott did us proud on the second day too. We took in some Ukranian dancers, a Chinese circus, a bizarre little play, the book festival, lunch at Harvey Nicks. Later we caught the Perrier awards, some fantastic Japanese drummers and then the big one – the late night show at the Spiegeltent. Oh yes. We’d visited it the year before with Scott and Paul. It’s a 1920’s marquee decked out in wood and glass, lots of mirrors, intimate booths, bars and in-the-round performance area. The venue is the George Sq Gardens up by the University and as well as Spiegeltent the whole square is transformed into an entertainment zone with side attractions (including the world’s smallest theatre), bars, barmy dj’s belting out some great music etc.

But the main attraction is the Spiegeltent. It’s always fully booked but Scotty always managed to get us ring-side seats. He knows people you know. I was telling M, G and C about the acts beforehand – weird acrobatics, the tiny russian twins who performed incredible contortions, brilliant singers and comedians, outrageous dancers, the guy who performed incredible rope tricks from his bath (that one was for the ladeez) and best of all Ursula Martinez – a sort of stripper magician with a cheeky red hanky! I think the way I described it made it all sound quite salacious and M and C were not looking forward to some seedy lads’ night. But the evening was a riot – a bit like a variety show with a contemporary twist. M and C loved it as much as G and me. Because we were ring-side we were also pretty soaked from the bath guy but it didn’t matter. It was just the most brilliant night.

So if you’ve never done it get up to Edinburgh and take it all in. Many thanks to all the guys at Platinum 1 but especially Scott. We’ve done countless trips to the Open with he and Gavin and it’s always been the most fun. They just know everyone in Scotland I think. Oh and if you can’t make Edinburgh but are intrigued by the red hanky just google Ursula Martinez. It’s a lot more fun live!

pp

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