Thursday, 14 August 2008

Fringe Benefits

It was a damp, drizzly day in Edinburgh. The granite looked even greyer than normal. Sis was texting her boyfriend and I was checking shop façades for Fringe info.

We passed a church.

- Hang on a second: I'm just going in to check the line-up. I said.

I went in and asked the girl sitting behind a table which served as a makeshift box office.

- Sure you can see something: what time?
- Well... now, actually
- There're programmes just in there...

We went through to a room where they were apparently serving tea in the parish hall (not a vicar in sight though). There was a large hatch at one end where two students were perched eating Kitkats and prawn cocktail crisps.

- You know what? I said, emerging from the folds of the programme after several minutes - there is a play on now. And it's a comedy.

We wavered ever so slightly. Should we take a chance, watch a play on impulse, broaden our minds? Or walk on down to Princes Street, spend an hour in Accessorize touching the merchandise and then go for coffee?

- Come on, it's only forty-five minutes!

And that sealed the deal. Five pounds (three pounds fifty for a student) and a mere forty five minutes of our lives and we had not only 'done' the Fringe and improved our minds through culture but also successfully found a way of keeping ourselves occupied during that awkward hour when it's too early for teatime.


And that ought to be the end of this post.

Only... the play was called 'I hate everything'. And it was about all those annoying little things about modern life (like people who listen to their mobile phones on the bus and that tiresome guilty feeling you get when you walk past a tramp).

And you see... there are so many of them:

- When the supermarket cashier says 'I'm closing after him' and points to the guy standing in front of me. This almost exclusively happens to me in Poland (maybe because I'm not a British guy).

- People slightly older than my generation whining about not being able to get a mortgage because of the credit crunch. Aw diddums and welcome to our world. I'd love to shell out on a nice flat but sadly I've got to spend my earnings paying off student loans and funding state pensions for the baby boomer generation.

- Famous people who aren't really famous. It's terrifying that you can be away for just a year and a half and suddenly the magazine racks are full of unfamiliar faces. What on earth is the Dragon's Den? Am I really expected to keep track of all the wives and girlfriends of the England football squad along with their fluctuating body mass indexes? What did Kerry Katona actually do before she started making Asda commercials?

- Headlines in the Daily Mail and people who repeat them in the pub, not realising where they got the idea from. And Express 'campaigns' about issues you didn't even care about: 'Thanks to campaigning by Express readers, local post office/pub in Lower Minging is saved! Now the village's three elderly residents can queue up and complain again, just like in the good old days!'

- Women's fashion that makes you look pregnant. This includes everything at the moment. Who said the Empire line was a good look? And exactly when did the British female cease to have a waist?

- Yoghurt adverts aimed at women. Why do you never see guys talking about feeling bloated and tucking in to a pot of Activia?

- Hair straighteners. It's already straight. And it's just one more thing to worry that you've not switched off when you're already sitting on the bus.

- China winning all the gold medals. It's not fair, there are just more of them...


island1 said...

"It's not fair, there are just more of them..."

That's funny :D

pinolona said...

Yeah what was it they said on Mock the Week? 'It's ok to be xenophobic now they have an economy...'

But you see when your population is over a billion, there are bound to be more than one or two who are good at sport.

Aidan said...

There's a Chinese restaurant in Edinburgh called 'One Billion People Can't be Wrong'. Cute, even if it does rest on a Chinese-food/Chinese food-from-this-very-restaurant conflation.