Global temperatures continue to rise
The average temperatures around the world continue to rise and not all of it is coming from my body temperature when Lucy Porter walks past on the way to her Fringe show. Science has been divided over the issue of global warming, roughly falling into two camps: real scientists with a brain capable of interpreting observational evidence and stooges in the pay of oil companies or working for Bush who continue to deny the obvious like a stuck record of Ann Coulter. Now both have finally agreed on one of the principal cause of global temeperature rises: Dell laptop batteries.
Which brings me to some of those unusual shows on this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, such as the Dell-inspir(on)ed musical Goodness, Gracious, Great Bytes of Fire. The Cartoon History of Islam has been drawing in huge crowds, although mostly rampant mob crowds outside the show/exhibition demanding mass beheadings. Spank That Monkey is a show which decries the Fringe and all modern art as a ‘bunch of old wank’ and so put on a show where they spend an entire hour tossing off on stage to illustrate this; still I’ve seen worse on the Fringe (the Oxbridge am-dram crowd spring to mind). There was a show people found to be the funniest in town, a cutting satire on Edinburgh council’s woeful transport policy. Then unfortunately we found out it was actually just a presentation of the real transport plans from the council…
The Film Festival had a sell-out retrospective of forgotten British director from the 20s and 30s, Windsor Smythe-Sponkington, including his silent masterpiece, the 1926 murder-mystery set in Lower Eccles “The Sparking Mystery of the Kipper and the Black Pudding”. His first talking movie, “Pearly Queen of the Drains”, is one of the gems of British film history, thought lost to posterity until it was found in a disused chicken shed on a farm in Norfolk four years back and lovingly restored by the British Film Institute. It is thought to be the first movie musical in British cinema history and stars such now-forgotten leads as Daisy Meadows (“Britain’s favourite singing grandmother”), Alf Brasspenny and Knobby Garnett singing such hit songs as Flushing My Hopes Down the Sewer and “My Old Man’s a Dustman, My Mum’s An East End Hoor”.
The story is a simple one of a poor working class girl who lives with her impoverished but chirpy and cheeky cockney family in a London sewer, dreaming of a better life and enough money to buy a steak and kidney pie big enough for the whole family to live in; the scene where the mother, now too poor to buy even rancid jellied eels to feed the family after father has spent all the housekeeping on on drink and whores, is forced instead to eviscerate herself and use her intestines as filling for the eel pie. Oh how we laughed. Personally I was most taken with his working-class version of the classic “The Red Shoes”, “The Green Wellies”, which sees an overweight famer’s daughter from Yorkshire (perfectly played by Dora Cabbagelard) who dreams of dancing ballet among the turnip fields and, as far as I know, is the only movie to feature a supporting cast of singing and dancing whippets (which appear in the gran finale at the country fair as our heroine in her Wellingtons dances among the prize marrows, a truly unforgettable movie moment).