Tuesday, 6 August 2013

What a mashup...


I saw my double on the bus yesterday morning.  I must tell you that it is unsettling, seeing your doppelgänger; especially if you have not had your breakfast.  It makes you immediately want to get a radical haircut...or a paper bag.  It makes you wonder what they see when they look at you, or if they see you at all.

And it isn’t just my own double I’ve come across.  This afternoon I saw the spitting image of someone I worked with recently.  I’m thinking of emailing her to ask if she knows she has someone wandering around Edinburgh impersonating her, right down to her fashion sense.   It's downright spooky. I am now wondering how many other people I know who aren’t them I might come across in the next month,  because if there is ever a time and place appropriate to finding  long-lost twins, ghosts or android facsimiles; it has to be in the vast mashup of festival Edinburgh.   

Mashups seem to belong in Edinburgh:  that quirky combination of a pre-existing classic with something from another genre entirely.  Think Little House on the Prairie with Pa as a werewolf, or Alexander McCall Smith and vampires:  ‘Bertie Plays the Bloodsucker’.  Can’t you just imagine 18th century society hostess and poet Alison Rutherford welcoming the Ladyboys of Bangkok to her intellectual soirees along with Walter Scott and David Hume?  

In festival Edinburgh you can be Dr Jekyll, Mr Hyde and Joan Rivers all at the same time (you could call your show ‘Monster Mash’, or you could team up with the Ladyboys and  call it ‘Sausage and Mash’)...and possibly make a profit doing it, if you can find a cheap venue, enough friends to distribute your snazzy flyers and, most importantly, catch the Scotsman critic when his judgement is impaired by too many cheerful blues singers, garrulous mime acts and plays about women talking through their lady gardens.  

The festival is the zombie in Jenner’s hat department.  It’s what stops dour old Edinburgh getting too stuffy for its own good.  Despite the complaints from over-worked taxi drivers and those who face life with a  frown at the ready, just in case they need to disapprove of something, most of us love it really.  Just the way we love our city when it returns to normal again.  

It seems entirely fitting that Edinburgh’s mainline railway station--Waverley--is named after  a  novel about a young man who reads too much poetry and falls in love with a Jacobite heroine and her cause.  For a time all is romance and adventure, but in the end reason prevails and he marries more rationally--a pragmatic union that will get him places.   I expect if Scotland votes for independence Alex Salmond will want the name changed.   Something just as meaningfully Scottish, but modern, of course.  ‘Trainspotting’ springs to mind.  All aboard for Begbie Station?  

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing series of coincidences this new post brings. My wife and I are currently listening to a recorded books reading of Alexander McCall Smith’s The Sunday Philosophy Club. (We are fans of the author, and, so far, this book.)

    Almost immediately, I had the conviction that you were familiar with his work, and that you admired it as well.

    Also interesting to note that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde appear in Smith’s book as well as your post, and that they serve as keys to understanding something about the character of Edinburgh.

    Finally, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is where my daughter and son-in-law performed several years ago in what was for them a flattering invitation and a memorable experience.

    Small world.

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