Extreme street acupuncture!

Walking home from work earlier this week on a very fine, sunny spring evening, spotted a crowd of tourists on the Royal Mile watching this street performer, Sideshow Stevie, paused on route home, had missed most of the act but did see little of his final part…

Which involved this small bed of nails, laid across his tummy

Then this fairly hefty chap climbed up and stood on the board!


Now that is a pretty extreme form of acupuncture!

Making music on the Mound

Walking through Edinburgh on the way home from work the other evening and came across this trio on the Mound, right by Princes Street Gardens, in the space next to the Royal Scottish Academy. They are called Marama and consisted of two drummers and a bagpiper, kicking out the jams to a fabulous beat, folk music but with a more modern edge, which reminded me of bands like Shooglenifty we used to go to see back in our student days who took Scots and Irish folk music but reworked it in a modern style (we danced all night to those, irresistible beat).

They were having a ball, drummers whacking away and the piper frequently dancing around them both as the beat rolled out across the city and the crowd cheered along.

Great fun to come across things like this just ambling home, another sign of moving properly into spring and summer (despite the weather!) as street performers start to appear more often.

And here’s a short video clip of them in action – sorry, being a street scene the audio isn’t that great and doesn’t do them justice really, but was only way I could try and grab at least a bit of of their sound to share:

Festival time Edinburgh

Edinburgh is bursting at the seams as the Festival season gets into full swing (and I’m off to the opening night party at the Book Festival later this evening), the entire city buzzes, the streets are full of crowds and performers, but sometimes you just have to sit down for a break and a chat with a human statue (complete with seagull and pretend bird poo!):

human statue and wee girl

It isn’t just the Royal Mile that is thronged as the Fringe performers promote their shows, the Playfair Steps are normally a good shortcut from the Mile down to the New Town, past the National Gallery and Royal Academy, but during August it is packed solid with tourists checking out the craft stalls – nice if you are on holiday and can amble at a snail’s pace looking around, pain in the bum if you live here and need to get somewhere for a certain time!

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This lady performer on the Mound is very, very flexible:

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One thing that never changes at the Fringe, one way to stand out among the literally hundreds of other shows happening every single day – show some skin!

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Channel 4 News’ arts and culture correspondent Matthew Cain doing a report from the Royal Mile – the camera was a good 40 or 50 feet away so most folks in the crowd around him couldn’t see it, it made him look like he was walking through the crowd talking to himself:

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Traditional Japanese musician on the Mile

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With the city so astonishingly busy paramedics on mountain bikes are used to get round the crowds for emergencies to treat anyone who needs it until an ambulance can get there. Here’s one hard working bike-medic catching a quick coffee break among the Fringe crowds:

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Lady with her harp:

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It’s Edinburgh, Festival time and seeing a man in a kilt on top of ladders juggling knives on the historic Royal Mile is pretty much an everyday sight as I walk home from work!

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These Native American musicians are here playing on the streets during the Festival most years:
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“Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so…”

I noticed a spike in one of my photos from this summer’s Edinburgh Fringe this week and wondered why:

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Turned out it was being linked to from several websites, including this Japanese one. I’ve seen my pics borrowed numerous times on other sites – including, rather pleasingly, the New Yorker book blog at one point – but I think this is the first time (that I know of anyway) that I’ve been used on a Japanese site. Truly I am a cosmopolitan chap.

Fringe time

The Edinburgh Festival moves into full swing with the International Festival and Book Festival joining the Fringe which has been going for a week already. The city centre is bursting at the seams between tourists (which we have all the year round, more in the summer, of course) and and Festival goers – the city’s population practically doubles during August. Just trying to walk home from work of an evening is a nightmare, the streets are jam packed and most of the folks are moving slowly so it can be quite frustrating when you are trying to get around your normal working day, it’s not so bad when you are off and can relax and enjoy the vibe. That said it does give ma some good opportunities for some street shots on the way home, walking up the Royal Mile where a section of kept for performers to big up their shows, from handing out flyers to actually performing segments of their shows on the street or on tiny stages, to attract audiences, and with thousands of shows running the month you have to work to get your show noticed and get those bums on seats.

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Performers range from unicyclers and jugglers to singers, musicians, comedy acts, plays, magic, dancing, it’s pretty much all there and you can get a great taster of it walking the Mile.

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These guys were walking in super slow motion up the Mile (still pic, so you will have to take my word for it!), which did mean for a change with street shots I had time to get in position and get off a few shots. I’ve mentally named the guy on the rear left here ‘Igor’. I think he looks like an Igor from some mad scientist lab.

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I passed the stilt-walking puppet master with his human marionette again last night, love their act – the girl is very expressive – and when I put some shekels in their collection box she blew me a kiss! I’m in there 🙂

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We even have saucy space vixens in fab retro futuristic silver space garb and sexy silver space boots!

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Sometimes wardrobe accidents happen – this poor woman’s braces have clearly become caught on something:

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We even have Batman, presumably over on a Scottish motorbiking holiday:

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You’re never too old to bike!

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Electra Glide in (Saltire) Blue?

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We even saw a greener alternative to the hideously expensive, over budget, over time and disruptive tram system they are (failing) to build in Edinburgh – we shall all commute in giant hamster wheels! Although one friend suggested actually this made the guy looked like he was a character on a tarot card.

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We even have zombies!
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and very sexy Little Mermaids with the Princesses show:

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Like a puppet on a string

I wonder if one day that, you’ll say that, you care
If you say you love me madly, I’ll gladly, be there
Like a puppet on a string

Love is just like a merry-go-round
With all the fun in the air
One day I’m feeling down on the ground
Then I’m up in the air
Are you leading me on?
Tomorrow will you be gone?

I wonder if one day that, you’ll say that, you care
If you love me madly, I’ll gladly, be there
Like a puppet on a string

I may win on the roundabout
Then I’ll lose on the swings
In or out, there is never a doubt
Just who’s pulling the strings
I’m all tied up to you
But where’s it leading me to?

I wonder if one day that, you’ll say that, you care
If you say you love me madly, I’ll gladly, be there
Like a puppet on a string

I wonder if one day that, you’ll say that, you care
If you say you love me madly, I’ll gladly, be there
Like a puppet on a string

Like a puppet on a….. string

I loved these Fringe performers on the Royal Mile, snapped on the way home from work:

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The woman playing the puppet pulled some fabulous expressions:

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Knife juggler

The Edinburgh Festival may still be a few weeks off yet, but already the always busy with tourists Royal Mile has street performers entertaining them (when the Fringe is on the pedestrianised area is used officially as an incredibly busy spot for performers to give a taste of their shows and promote themselves). I passed this young lad doing some very cool knife juggling on the Mile last night on the way home from work:

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blowing your own trumpet

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In early to work, out late so feeling a little narked; beautiful, golden autumn evening outside so decide to enjoy slow walk home to unwind, wander up the Royal Mile, camera in hand, coming across this bloke playing some jazz on his trumpet. Nice autumn evening, cool breeze, cool jazz, nice. Put some coins in his instrument case, took a couple of pics then just settled nearby to listen for a few minutes and enjoy it.

electric ukulele land

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A couple of buskers on the Royal Mile doing the rock thing but with ukuleles instead of electric guitar, but doing the full guitar heroes movements; as I listened to them rocking out on their ukes I realised they were giving big licks to Queens of the Stone Age! First time I’ve heard QOTSA on ukuleles – I had to shoot a brief vid clip so I could share the sound as well as grabbing a photo:

Accordion by the beach

Down on Portobello beach this afternoon (a dry day!!! a day with no howling gales!!! Quick everyone outside!!!), my mate’s dog happily running around sniffing interesting smells (most animals walk about with their heads held up to see around them, except dogs, who trot around with their head pointing downwards so they can sniff everything) and as we walked along the beach we could hear music. Walking up onto the nearby esplanade we saw this chap playing the accordion, while nearby a wee boy was dancing happily to the music. It sounded like a little bit of France in the middle of Edinburgh’s seaside and put us in happy mind of our trip to Paris coming up in a few weeks. I imagine in Paris accordion players busking must be a bit like bagpipers in Edinburgh.