It’s August in Edinburgh, and that means Festival time. So far I have – perhaps not surprisingly – mostly been to storytelling and poetry events. Here are a couple of listicles – although not with gifs in the way that Buzzfeed would do it, I don’t want to get too populist – of what I’ve seen and what i have yet to see. Just in case my opinions are likely to sway you.

9 Things I’ve Seen So Far:

1 (and 2). SHIFT/ A Best of Spoken Word

Or, ‘The One Where Seven Poets Take It In Turns To Do Wildly Different Shows Each Day Of The Week’ (thus cannily minimizing Fringe Fatigue – very clever, these poets). So far I’ve seen Sam Small with ‘Love And Other Drugs’ (Mondays) and Harry Giles with ‘Drone’ (Fridays). These particular shows are almost polar opposites in terms of content and delivery, but both worth a look. I’m hoping to get along to some of the other performances, which contain Rachel McCrum, Jenny Lindsay, Rachel Amey, Ali Maloney and Bram E. Gieben – although I don’t know if I’ll make them all, as I haven’t come up with a similarly canny way to beat Fringe Fatigue…

Shift flyer

3. Blind Poetics Big Night of Spoken Word

I wasn’t there for the whole thing, but what I did see was fab. Sucks to be you if you missed it – you’ll need to wait til 2016 for the next one. In the meantime you can always head to the slightly shorter, monthly Blind Poetics instead though, so y’know, every cloud.

4, 5 and 6. Story Shop

This has just kicked off at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Each afternoon at 4pm you can go along and hear a short story from one of a selection of up and coming Edinburgh writers. And me. You can also watch online if you can’t make it, which I’m aiming to do for a lot of them as apparently I can’t just leave work at 3pm every day to go and hang around in Charlotte Square… Keep an eye on the @EdinCityofLit Twitter for daily links.

7. Tale Twisters

Stephen Barnaby and various guests tell stories in the basement of Clerk’s Bar as part of the PBH Free Fringe. The night I was at featured border ballads and tales of community work in Lanarkshire amongst other things. It was good, and I bought a book of Stephen’s 50 word stories – but the run is finished now. You snooze, you lose, people.

Stephen Barnaby Book

8. Melody

Another free spoken word show in the basement of Clerk’s Bar, but this one is still on – and will be until the 29th. It’s about how music sparks memories. Jemima Foxtrot is a really likeable presence on stage and the show is by turns funny and thoughtful and sad. Check it out, I say.

melody - Jemima Foxtrot

9. Edinburgh In The Shadows

It’s your last chance to see this one today (Tuesday 18th August, Pilgrim at 1.45pm) so get a shift on! It’s a storytelling journey through Edinburgh’s history with Max Scratchmann and Alec Beattie, really engaging, amusing and in places pretty dark. Full of weird Edinburgh stories that have been lost to history, with some excellent embellishments. Pretty sure the one about Victorian Drug Parties is completely accurate though…

Edinburgh in the Shadows - Max Scratchmann

6 Other Things I’m Planning To See

1. Poets Against Humanity

This is like Cards Against Humanity, but with poetry being ruined by a panel of comedians and poets. It’s a regular occurrence in Edinburgh, usually at the Banshee Labyrinth every other month – but it has a new home for the Fringe in the form of Chiquito Mexican themed restaurant (this Friday 21st August at 8.40pm). It may seem like a weird venue but, if you work for John Lewis or have a Cineworld card, you can get a discount on the food. So that’s nice.

Poets Against Humanity

2. Is This Poetry?

Andrew Blair and Ross McCleary continue in their quest to annoy everyone they know and like with a poetry show at the Edinburgh Fringe taking the mickey out of both poetry and Edinburgh. Based on the preview, this show oscillates between being incredibly funny and willfully obtuse. The whole thing is totally worth it for their history of Edinburgh, and ‘Poet or Edinburgh’ (which you might have seen at the aforementioned Blind Poetics Big Night of Spoken Word). I imagine I will go to this more than once. The run starts on Sunday 23rd, the hashtag is #sexynihilism*

is this poetry

3. If You’re Happy And You Know It – Take This Survey

This is Agnes Török’s solo Fringe show. I’m interested to see it because she’s a great performer, and there’s a narrative thread running through the show about the research she has done into how to be happy. As a person who googles everything, there’s something about that which really resonates with me.

If you're happy and you know it take this survey

4. The Room: The Musical

For those who have seen The Room (aka the Citizen Kane of bad movies) this is exactly what it sounds like. You will surely understand why I want to make this a part of my life, even though it isn’t on until 1am. For those who haven’t – just carry on with your lives, I guess.

The Room The Musical - pic by Timothy Kelly

5. Like Breath on a Mirror

This is an actual stand up comedy show by Hari Sriskantha. I’ve seen Hari do short sets in the past when he still lived in Edinburgh, I think at Red Raw in The Stand – and he was good. So now I’m curious to go and see his Fringe show. Take that, festival marketing machine!

6. This is an honourable mention really. I was hoping to pay cash money to see Bridget Christie, who has been a Fringe staple for me since her 2009 show ‘MY DAILY MAIL HELL’, but I left it too late to get tickets and her run has now sold out. This is particularly sad because this year’s show even matches with the theme of my listicle, as it’s called ‘A Book For Her’. Oh well.

Have you got any recommendations, book/writing themed or otherwise? Chuck them in the comments!

*it isn’t, but let’s all try and make that a thing.

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