A special post for some special people

Last year two of my high school friends got married, and I was chuffed to be the MC.

At that wedding I met some family friends of the bride and groom, who had travelled from Edinburgh for the wedding. They found out I did some stand-up comedy and insisted that I come to Edinburgh.

‘In a few years’ I replied, ‘I’m not quite ready yet.’

But they said all the comedians come to Edinburgh – even the very new ones, and I really should, and that I could stay with them.

I thought about it, and then thought ‘worth a shot’.

I applied for a grant from DCA to part fund the two months of performing, writing and seeing shows.

I cried when I got the envelope saying my application was successful. I knew before it started that this whole trip would mean a lot to me. Even just getting the grant gave me a huge boost because it meant that OTHER people thought I was worth betting on, not just my family or my friends…

I hadn’t spoken to the couple I’d met since the wedding and the phone number I had for them wasn’t connecting. Google came to the rescue and so I emailed the address that came up:

“This is Bonnie (Perth, Australia) who you met at Briony and Harry’s wedding late last year… I’m pretty sure this is the right Bill and Helen because I remembered you made knitwear and then when I googled your names and Edinburgh the shop came up in the search”

A day later and I got a reply.

“Hi Bonnie, I think this must be the right Bill & Helen because we remember you too, so we can’t all be going lala. How great that you go the grant, well done, I’m sure we can help with the accommodation if you let us know when your dates are.”

Bill and Helen let me stay with them for free for a month, when most people are renting out rooms at extortionate amounts during the Festival.  They didn’t know me at all when they offered, but they managed to make a HUGE difference to my year – if they hadn’t insisted that Edinburgh was the place to be I certainly wouldn’t have gone this year. The whole time I was there they treated me like part of the family and I was sad to say goodbye.

There will be another post about Edinburgh, but this one is just about them, if you are ever in Edinburgh please check out their shop and say ‘Bonnie says thanks!’

Bill Baber – Knitwear (handmade in Scotland)

It’s in the Grassmarket – off Cowgate Street and the website is here.

This was the goodbye present I made for them when I left.


A Mary Poppins silhouette – because it looks believable from their window!

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Climb every mountain…

Yesterday I climbed a big hill in Edinburgh called  ‘Arthurs Seat’ with Cameron, John and Jamie.

This was the first sign I saw as we began the walk, which wasn’t at all comforting.

It was closely followed by this one.

We still managed to have a rather fine time though, and John did a lot of posing as well as walking. Look at that profile!

And we played games like ‘spot the bald man’s head’ in the grassy knolls. Can you see him?

At one point we joked about giving someone a comedy flyer on the walk, then Cameron did. They didn’t come to the show. The walk was beautiful, but steep and quite tiring. Even the fences looked a bit exhausted.

At one point a grey haired man JOGGED past me up the hill, I’m guessing he was about 50, shortly after that I sat down.

Just for a bit though. Because we eventually made it to the top to see sweeping views of Edinburgh, where I sat down again.

Note the careful rock arrangement of ‘cock and balls’ by some previous walkers – this photo was taken from the top of the hill, so actual size was about 5 metres in length on the ground.

It was a bunch of fun – particularly thanks to the company, so here’s a final photo of the gang. I’d recommend the walk to anyone visiting Edinburgh. Refreshing, relaxing and astounding. Take a rain jacket though.

From Left to Right – Cameron, Jamie, John and Bonnie.

The Window People

I’d never heard about this before arriving in Edinburgh. And I’m not sure if it’s a national pass-time or just something I happen to have seen quite a bit of, but everyone seems to enjoy sitting in windows.

No, really. I have photos.

EXHIBIT A

This was the first window-person I saw.

EXHIBIT B

The second window-sitter – who actually preferred to be horizontal.

EXHIBIT C

These guys were very social and chatty – even from a height.

Can you spot them?

There they are…

Would you like a FREE flyer?

Edinburgh Festival has over 2,000 shows and 21,000 performers and all of them want YOU at their show.

Some acts can afford to spend money on things like postering poles (which get covered almost immediately)

Or if they really have some cash to splash they can hire space for their own giant posters.

Most of the acts don’t have budget for this though and rely heavily on flyering to get people to come to their shows. The main action goes down on the Royal Mile (High Street) in the centre of Edinburgh where every second person is holding a stack of flyers, every third person is a busker and the occasional person is an actual audience member.

It’s a lot of people, a lot of flyers and a lot of shows and that will do anything to get your attention…

Below are some photos of a few of them 😉

1. UNDERPANTS FLYERING

This guy clearly thought you might be more likely to read from his underpants than take a flyer.

2. ROLL BY FLYERING

These guys were either lazy or playing the disabled card – and rolled around with their flyers stuck to a couch on wheels. He can walk. We saw him.


3. DRESS UP

Self explanatory.

Here are some guys in matching jackets.

And some nuns…

4. ELEVATE

Another common card played is to elevate your height by standing on a pole-block to attract attention.

This is a variation on the ‘elevation’ technique – this time using people instead of pole-blocks for extra height.

This woman isn’t actually flyering, but I wish she was!

5. DRESS DOWN

Rather than put fancy clothes on, he took his off.

Certainly got my attention.

6. SHOW ‘EM

Just a simple spread of flyers for passers by.

7. GET DRAMATIC

Oh no! Man down!

Oh no wait, he just wants you to take a flyer.

This does attract attention, but isn’t fool-proof.

PILE-UP!

7. STICK YOUR FLYERS TO SOMETHING

At first I thought this was a giant table, then realised they’re just moving a display board. I think the moving of the board is probably more effective than the board itself.

7. PUPPET POWER

When people are sick of taking flyers from people, they may just take one from a puppet.

8. MY FAVOURITE

This was my favourite of the day. It drew people in, held their attention and by the time you finished reading you felt obliged to take a flyer.

If you are one of the shows featured above please send me your details and I will link to your show.

Things I noticed, on the way to somewhere else

Tomorrow is bump-in day. Day after that is show day.
So today was walk-around-do-errands-and-look-at-things day.

Here are some things I found when I went to buy some milk. Then some things I found on the way to the Festival Venue.

Oooh.. what’s that red thing behind fence…?


Oh it’s just a car.

I overheard a discussion by some passers by who decided it was an artwork or an ingenius prank.

This is what happens when a 100 year old barber gets their branding campaign done by a Gen Y advertising executive.

Possibly re-acting to comments that they are hard to understand, the Scottish have designed a sign that clearly says NO LOADING.

But just to make sure you get the message they put them EVERYWHERE.

Another example of handy sign work by the Scottish. This bin takes everything EXCEPT CYCLES.

And finally, I saw these two on the way home from my errands. They could well end up being one of my favourite festival performances of the week. You can’t see it in the photo – but the guy on the right is really rocking out to the guitar (nodding his head, tapping the beer can etc – about as much emotion as you can expect from someone who may well be English) and the guy on the left is giving it all he’s got and the whole street can hear him singing.

I don’t photograph monuments, rather get the postcard

I’m traveling overseas for the first time since 2006 (it’s 2010 as I type this, so you can do the math).

Now it’s not that I don’t think castles, old buildings and monuments are impressive, but I don’t think the world needs any more photos of the Eiffel Tower, thank you. Especially when other people with much better cameras, from much better angles with more impressive sunsets have already got the shot and printed it on a postcard for me.

So instead I take photos that make me giggle, like this.

Humps for 370 yards

I know it’s never going to be a postcard,  and not everyone giggles at the word hump on a sign. So expect photos of all sorts of things while you’re here.

Like London giving out FREE HIRE BIKES. Really! Look!


And they even give you advice on how to ride it safely, how thoughtful.

Did you know that Dubai Airport gives you the freedom to advertise smoking? And according to the advertisement ‘the freedom to enjoy’ it too.

As long as you’re in this box.

That’s it from the first day of travels.

Tomorrow.

Edinburgh.