Friday, December 09, 2005
- An Evening With The Heavyweights
I sent off the first few orders of the book this morning and fulfilled the media requests for review copies. I tell you what - jiffy bags ain't cheap!
Work was slow and boring. I left at about quarter to five to go up to the Festival Theatre to collect my ticket for tonight's show; One City - One Book. The aim was to promote and launch a new book called One City, which is a charity based in Edinburgh aiming to tackle social exclusion.
The book was written by the charity's three patrons and heavyweights of modern Scottish literature, Alexander McCall-Smith, Ian Rankin and Irvine Welsh with J K Rowling writing the introduction.
I collected my ticket at quarter past five, which meant I had two hours to kill on my own. I took a walk round some of the Old Town then stopped in to the The Mitre bar on the Royal Mile. An easy pint and some people-watching then I nipped over the road for a quick Single Sausage out of a chippy. I started to walk down towards the Grassmarket with the intention of going to The Last Drop or The Beehive but remembered Finnegan's Wake was sometimes quite good, so I grabbed another pint in there.
It was far too busy though, so I walked back up in the direction of the theatre, which was already mobbed. Not wanting to hang about in the expensive foyer bar, I nipped round the corner to a pub I had noticed on my way up; the Captain's Bar. I thought it might be a student place being next to a University building, but it was anything but.
It was small, smoky and full of regulars; your quintessential old man's bar. It poured a damn good whisky as I soon found out, but sitting on my own I realised that despite the friendliness of the barman, some of the drinkers had noticed my arrival and took to staring at me to see if they could suss out whether I was an undercover cop or rival drugs baron. I enjoyed my drink and they soon gave up, which left me able to listen in to some remarkable conversations. Not your every day type stuff, football or the latest sweep down at the scaffy, but some real juicy stuff that I can use to form some stories. I stayed for about half an hour then left for the theatre, writing my notes down after I had vacated the bar. Now I know why Stevenson was so attracted to mingling in the Old Town bars.
The show was superb. The three authors looked relaxed and talked about the new book with a serious humour. Each took turns to read a section from the story they had contributed to the book; Smith and Rankin both sitting while they did theirs, and Welsh patrolling the stage effing and blinding much to the consternation of the dozens of well-to-do ladies in the audience.
I'll be putting together a more thorough review of the evening in my Scotland's Treasure column for The Scruffy Dog Review, so if you want to read more please click over in January. I'll remind you all at the time.
Before I left I got myself a signed copy of the new book and left several dozen fliers for Fringe Fantastic lying about the crowded theatre.
And why not?
ORDER a copy of my latest book, FRINGE FANTASTIC! Click here to order securely using your credit/debit card.
For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please see the website at: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk