Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Two disappointments, but the day saved by Canada!

I had been batting very well at the Fringe and Festival. Twelve great performances. But yesterday I saw my first 'not very good' show. Now, I don't blog about shows I've not enjoyed. I did wonder what I might have said had I been working, and had needed to file something. I might have said, "The backing musicians were very good." Or "This musical tribute made me want to download some of the original artist's music." If I had intended to speak my mind fully, I would have said, "It was a lovely day in Edinburgh yesterday, and I should have just stayed sunbathing in the Gardens." I should have. It is always disappointing when a performance that you hope is going to be good, turns out not to be - in my opinion, of course.

The second of yesterday's disappointments was when I went to book a ticket for what was to be my birthday treat to myself. I thought to be well organised and make sure I had a ticket in my hand for a later night at the Assembly Roxy, where the Havana Ballet's 'The Cuban Gypsy' was going to be top class, I was sure. Except .... the company had failed to reach Edinburgh, for whatever reason, and all performances have been cancelled! Ah well.

So I was strolling along, wondering what had happened in the Universe for the Earth to be revolving around the Sun faster and faster. Recent years have passed so quickly! This next birthday has come round too soon. I was passing Venue 38, Space Triplex, when I was 'accosted' in the nicest possible way, "Would I like to see some talented Canadian singers?" And why not.

I found myself in the queue with a group of former Glasgow University Alumni, who, when we were ushered into the hall, left a seat for me, front row, right in the middle! This turned out to be significant. The performance: 'Countermeasure: 14 Characters'.

I was promised 'Genre-defying versions of jazz and pop favourites, powerful originals, stunning harmonies, dramatic staging'! And as the show got underway, I found myself really enjoying it all.

It was at that point that the mistake of sitting in the middle of the front row, with a big smile on my face, became apparent. The compere decided to find out the names of some of the audience, and what they did for a living. Not a problem. I'm retired now of course, and I've done a few different things in my life. So when asked what I used to do, I mentioned that I had been Editor of the Scottish Curler magazine. Countermeasure being a Canadian group, that identified with some of the cast, curling (arguably) the country's national sport!

That should have been it, but no. A few minutes later, with a couple of other members of the audience, I was making my Edinburgh Fringe debut. I was taken by hand out of my seat, to a chair at the back of the stage and told to "Sit there, I'll be back to get you later!" I have to say that in all my adult years, that's never been said to me by a beautiful woman. But I digress again.

My Fringe debut involved some dancing to samba rhythms, shaking my rear end, and a conga round the stage. At least I wasn't asked to sing!

I trust no live footage or photographs of my 'performance' exist. It was not pretty.

Of course, the programme was not finished. The group sang to accompany clips from the wonderful 'Runaway', a National Film Board of Canada animated short by Cordell Barker, and that appealed to my love of trains!

The penultimate song was trailed as a Scottish tribute, a traditional love song. And we got a version of the Proclaimers '500 miles'. Absolutely brilliant, especially when it morphed to the 'metric version'!

Exit theatre, big smile on my face! Well done Canada. Countermeasure have only a few more shows in Edinburgh - the last is on the 20th - before they are off to Italy for a week at another festival. Go see them if you can. I promise that I won't be on the stage next time!

If you can't get to see them live, Countermeasure's website is here, with lots to explore.

Countermeasure images are from the group's flyer and a CD. The middle image is a screenshot from 'Runaway'. Watch the whole film here

1 comment:

  1. OH my. It all sounds like so much fun. I play music all day. Thanks to Pandora I can choose whatever genre suits my mood. On any given day I can be seen be bopping around my kitchen to the songs of my youth or wistfully listening to some of my favorite classical. Composers.