Edinburgh’s heArt Muscle

Edinburgh first encounter. 20-21st Aug

Spent a weekend here. This is a running hills city for me. Unexpectedly flexible and stretch-entwined over the hights and breaches. A social vibe!
Scattered showers that felt like a therapeutic spraying massage. I ran through it just cause I was late for shows. Otherwise wd’ve just enjoyed the feeling. It turned sunnier on Sunday. And the city turned rusty and rounded with historical and cultural patina. Visibly so. The rustiness was a glowing thing, one you’d love to live with, a sense of core authenticity. Loved how it opened out my eyes to the sea at the fringe of it.

Very laid back host – Lesley, 50s(?), incredibly unassuming. And such a bright relaxed condo in the basement of this old building. Modern finish, a mix of utilitarian minimalism and tasty luxuriant interior design. Wide open spaces. A radio humming 24h, that memory of teenage travelling into my mum’s student age friends years ago. Or my aunt’s.
That sensation of home into a stranger’s house. A strange comfortable simultaneity of both. Flooded with the scent of lavanda and other relaxing plants (almost too much). Huge bathroom.
A taste for the brightening of spirit. The healer of stress. Wide king size bed, shade lighting, wide mirrored, huge windowed, wide opening up to the skies onto the park across. My kind of wide breathing intimacy. “A Century of Solitude” and “To Kill a Mocking Bird” on a shelf. A Puffin postcard (I have it too, bought on a trip of mine in Shetlands), next to one very old one of Singapore, the harbour market probably 100+ years ago. I was very tempted to snatch it…

(but then the weekend’s references to Singapore: nYami and her coincidental story about her 7-8 years married stint there, my blemishes from back 15 years ago, the prospect of maybe going there again, the mix of curiosity about nYami and the weirdness or empathy discomfort I felt around her, the frailty of the boundaries of intimacy that I dreaded somehow… though still open to her world of experience… So no! The innuendos are mostly threading a story of disenchantment with it. If I go there again I should try be as clean of sorrows as I can. And of appropriations. Particularly possessive emotivities. As now, this weekend it ended up smelling of death. Or decrepitude. Which was sad.)

Back to Lesley – the two mongrels lady, generous of spirt and sharing a warm welcoming companionship aura. Working for athletes and not only. Developed a product for bone density and repair, while also a neural natural enhancement medicine. Would have loved to have more time to speak to her.
(Glow wording… too much maybe, I know, some of it will end up in my AirBnB comments and review of the place. AirTnTed. That truth which is real though a touch glossy. I accept that and weave through some personal stuff, as it happened, but leave out the Paul McKenna books.. of whose I read a couple of chapters funny enough, I as curious…and was left over with the idea of self as a story, I am my own story and will continue to be that plot line until I choose to recreate the story, to assume a different identity, etc. That theory. .. but right after I plunged into an english language version of my memories of Remedios in Garcia Marquez’s.)

Saturday 20th Aug Edinburgh, The Fringe Fest !:

Late to awake, then spent a lot to shave, shower, hair wash… no blower… Running amok in the rain, minutes-missing some shows, but getting a grasp of the geography of it all.


The Diary of a Madman by Gate Theatre, Notting Hill company @ Traverse Theatre
after a short story by Gogol (aparently his most famous one) @ Traverse Theatre – the story of a family man, a bridge painter in a small Scotland town and his deconstruction and final demise while trying to keep dignity and identity intact. Quite an elaborate 5 character play, around 2h. Could easily grow onto West End. Engaging and alive. Experienced team. Seems not at their first success. A sold out event. Maybe not necessarily my kind of story from the POV of nationalism even with all the critique around it. But more from the psychological drift and the personal dissaray. It was a good start of the weekend for me. 4 stars.

Separate from Fringe but part of the Edinburgh International Festival and the main reason I ended up in Scotland this weekend was the work of two choreographers with the Scottish Ballet
A two piece evening @ Festival Theatre

First MC 14/22 (Ceci est mon corps) by Angelin Preljocaj
A ruthless 12 male body of work sometimes tenderly but most of the times gruesome and intense, physical and provocative it is a work that emphasises male aestheticism over solid layers of religious references, sometimes mythical too (like the futility of aspiration and or hope but the continuation of it in spite of defeat). Or the Last Supper tableau reshaping gradually into a male erotica and politica manifestoes. Or the Pieta reenacted between two men. Or the Procustes Bed. On religious and freedom repressions, torture and domination. Sometime remindful of israeli-palestinian duality. A lot of domination within couple and struggle to live in the same space, borders or no borders involved. Sometime love, but most of the time just the rejoice of power and the manifestation of it in a male couple. There is a spiritual thread there too, but violently obliterated often enough.

Emergence by Crystal Pite
The same dance aesthetic I came to love in her work. This time of almost entirely pure choreographic substance almost entirely devoid of story. Or so I chose to watch it as. More a web of gestures and tendencies, points of attraction interaction and agents of disturbance of a general swarm mentality corpus. To me a different take on the idea already so majestically played into Polaris (seen over a year ago), though as far as I understand Emergence is a piece of work from longer while ago. And that would explain why I found Polaris so much more elaborate and engaging. Though the number of dancers also mattered – 37 (19 male 18 female) last night, vs 60 teenagers a year ago in Polaris. But the Polaris one seemed like a living organism, a creature sometime swarm like, some other time a very elaborate mechanism or arachnoid of sorts, or a domino effect reshaping organism. Amazing piece and music that was.
Very engaging and original music, mostly sound effects, on Emergence too. But felt to me like there was a hint of too much ballet inheritance in the expression and deployment of the dancers’ expressivity. A little bit of holding back from complete explosion of body spirituality. It wasn’t the classical technique though, cause that worked massively in their favour especially during a pointé sequence very flock expressive. I guess it was the audience too that held them back at times. It was too obvious to me they were mostly classical ballet spectators. So probably playing in front of them.. I don’t know, there must have been a dialogue of expectations. I felt it mostly in the male performers, which is strange, as I hadn’t felt them at all shy in the Preljocaj piece before. So it must have also been a good dose of exhaustion for twelve of them.
Note for self: ALWAYS book a ticket as central as possible in the DRESS CIRCLE when watching one of Crystal Pite’s big numbers production. The perspective of group harmonies/disembodiment is central to her swarm choreographies. Sacrifice individual expressionism for that, it’s worth it. Not so though in small numbers choreos!, stay not too far away in the latter.

Duminica 21 Aug 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Fest
Equations for a Moving Body by Hannah Nicklin @ Summerhall – a woman of 28-30 prepares for and runs an Ironman . Her own true story.
An intense experience that got me lot of the times in deep empathy attachment to her story. The drive, the pains. The mental algorythms. You can identify easily if ever ran, swam or biked endurance style. Very motivating while being very personal at the same time. Some of the countdowns to finishline though accurate and recognizable were a bit too repetitive for me. I sometimes shift out into a different more elaborate shapes on certain segments of the race. My rendering of the London marathon story is a bit more plastic maybe. But had a glimpse at the more expanded book version of her play(s) – this one and another one or two – and they are much more richer an experience. So quite hype hearted after seeing it.

My World Has Exploded a Little Bit by Natural Shocks (?) @ Underbelly Cowgate – how to deal with death of dear ones – a logic guide in 17 steps humour and pain 3-4 stars. Heartful but also entertaining. Powerpointy and overly exercised. Some emotional transitions almost unbelievably sudden. But a short worthy sit in. A lot of personal mirroring for me in light of recent (years) events. Hugged for long with Erica (the actors made us 🙂 ) – a lovely girl sitting next to me in the audience – lived in Ldn, just moved to Paris. Kept taking notes hiding away in her diary. Curvy but sexy. 27ish. Jeans cut mid-thigh with black embroidery in-threaded partly covering the cut. Open face. Not so much body posture way tho. Pitty 🙂

Denton and Me by Sam Rowe and Macrobets Arts Centre @ Summerhall – a gay man – playwright wanna be – in his thirties longing for true love and companionship shadowing the story of an artist 40 years before him whose diary he’s just read/is reading. 2 stars. Too much male gay specific manierism. Ok, but to me too theatrical in the above way
and too repetitive of the melancholy gulibility at times.

Jules Verne – The Lighthouse at The End of The World by Not Cricket Productions @ C Nova


– adventures with pirates, sea men and cast-aways. 3-4 stars Entertaining and adventurous. The thrills I was getting when was read to or reading Jules Vernes as a kid. These young barely twenty(ies) are definitely not amateurs. Some of them at least. Worthy checking the bulky guy over the years. 25 now or so. But who knows what may come.

On train to London. Write-re-training my brain. Gotta finish those New Orleans stories.

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