One of the things I love about living in Edinburgh is the fact that there's something to see and do pretty much every day of every week. A lot of the time it's free, too. My kids have adopted my unofficial hobby of people watching - also free. We made it into a story telling game when they were smaller and we'd be waiting for their Dad to come off a train or a plane on a Friday night after his work away weeks of old. We got really into it one evening at Aberdeen train station when a young couple waiting in the taxi queue opposite had what can only be described as The Most Passionate Snog Known to Mankind. Son timed it - one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four.... while daughter just sat with dropped jaw, flicking her gaze from them to me to son and pointing wordlessly at the force with which two sets of lips could meet without bodies falling to the floor. It was a tornado of a kiss. A thing of power and slight violence and to fuck with it all here and now. I wondered where they'd been, how long they'd known each other and where they were going next; to bed would probably have been a good assumption but they had the urgency and youth of a couple who looked like they might still each have single beds and a frustrating, incomplete, parentally challenged autonomy over their lives. I watched as stories and memories and iconic hot kiss images swarmed inside my head. It's been a wondrous, almost mythical reference point in our lives ever since: 'That Kiss'.
Edinburgh's great for people watching too. Grab a smoothie or a coffee anywhere and interesting people happen by. There is a randomness to a city that truly is food for the imagination and I have come to be dependent on it. During the festival my friend and I watched a guy at The Meadows going silently through the motions of playing a tune on his accordion. Once he was ready he threw his hat on the pavement in front of him, adjusted his shoulder strap and reached into a bag sitting beside him to pull out a large, rubber horse's head which he pulled over his own head, stood up and launched into a Wurlitzer of a tune with gusto. I was holding a cardamom sweet bun and a flat white at the time while the sun blazed through blossom tree leaves and I felt sure I was in some kind of perfect happy mad heaven with my pal exploding with laughter at my side. It can be a bit like Alice in Wonderland, without the menacing undertones and with a lot of buses instead.
At the weekend daughter and I headed into the city centre for creative mojo food. We hit The Lion King stage show exhibition at The Arts Centre - it's free, yippee! This collection of costumes and show history info has set up camp before the show launches at the Playhouse this month and sets tongues wagging and whooping with excitement.
I was so in love with daughter seeing images and beautiful evidence of a woman directing the massiveness and incredible scale, detail and general fricking awesomeness that is The Lion King stage show. Daughter wants to be a dancer, a designer, an actress, a cafe owner, a pro horse rider and an Egyptologist so it was cool to be able to reinforce her anything's possible attitude with talk of Julie Taymor.
Then we saw one of the things I'd wanted to be when I was wee - a horse & human hybrid. Ace.
And we just picked out things that spoke to us and made us wow.
On the way out and down to the brilliant shop (more on that later) daughter spotted some randomness stuck to the underside of the concrete stairs - some guerilla art exhibiting - Henrietta Feather Bottom. Priceless - don't you think?