Letter from Edinburgh - 18 August 2017


Matt Forde is a comedian. Last weekend my kids took me to the Edinburgh fringe to watch him perform. His show was in one of the many venues in the Pleasance. When Edinburgh is not in festival mode the Pleasance is part of Edinburgh University. But on Sunday night one of its lecture theatres rocked with laughter. Forde does observational politics, some impressions but above all, pokes fun at governments, prime ministers and yes, the President of the United States. 

Matt Forde is a comedian. Last weekend my kids took me to the Edinburgh fringe to watch him perform. His show was in one of the many venues in the Pleasance. When Edinburgh is not in festival mode the Pleasance is part of Edinburgh University. But on Sunday night one of its lecture theatres rocked with laughter. Forde does observational politics, some impressions but above all, pokes fun at governments, prime ministers and yes, the President of the United States.

 

He was notably excoriating on David Davies, Tim Farron and Donald Trump. For a gifted comedian Trump is a challenge. Because the reality is funnier than satire. That was Matt Ford’s point. He said as many would, that there is nothing about President Trump he likes. But if you work in the world of entertainment, then watching a Trump press conference is just extraordinary. The language, the mannerisms and the contradictions. All in one sentence.

 

We saw the comedy show before the events of Charlottesville. Trump initially said everyone was to blame. Then when people of all political colours condemned his inability to state the obvious - that there is no place in the USA for white supremacists, their language and actions of hate - Trump read a carefully scripted speech saying what he should have said on Day 1. But a day later the real Donald emerged. In an angry - he always seems to be fighting his anger - press conference at Trump Towers in New York, the Donald went back to his original position. People on both sides are to blame. This is too serious to make jokes about. And many comedians appearing at the Edinburgh fringe must be sorely tempted. But we now appear to have a leader of the free world who is prepared to condone the Klu Klux Klan. I never thought I would see the day.

 

While in Edinburgh I was lucky enough to see Monday’s military tattoo at Edinburgh Castle. Whatever your preconceptions of this event, drop them and go. It is just a wonderful ninety minutes of entertainment. It rained on Monday night and heavily. But 9000 brave people put their jackets on and cheered their way through a great show. Margaret Robertson and her Hjaltibonhoga fiddle group are now central to the production. They had a larger role this year than before and were magnificent.  In their own section of the show a ness galley appeared and was set on fire. Up Helly Aa now comes to the capital and in the middle of summer. I sat next to the RAF’s head of music who in his day job, is a Ministry of Defence person. He loves Shetland fiddle music and wants to visit the islands, probably at the end of January next year. After the show we discussed our respective day jobs. Our military are facing a few challenges and the most significant is trying to understand what the occupant of the White House might do next. So are we all.


Share this post on social media:

Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Email.