One of the best things about going to Edinburgh every year is that I don’t make rookie mistakes such as buying tickets at the last minute or setting off too late. This is what went through my mind as I raced through town trying to get to the only EIF show that hadn’t sold out, Wind Resistance by Karine Polwart. It was entirely through choice that I had decided not to buy a seat but a piece of floor space, and I felt remarkably smug and superior to the seated people as I was shown to my cushion in front of the stage. Actually this turned out to be the best seat in the house, the stage was only raised by about a foot and I had a perfect view of everything that happened. The show itself was as folk as folk - the first line was “As I wandered up yon hill”, and I seriously worried that she was going to sail out of Liverpool, never to return. Not my type of music really, but I was quite engrossed for the whole evening, as she weaved a story of her neighbour’s grandparents’ lives through it, took in descriptions of the local area and wildlife, herbalism, history and folklore, and Alex Ferguson’s surprise decision to bring on John Hewitt in the 87th minute of the 1983 Cupwinners’ Cup Final between Aberdeen and Real Madrid. Only in the second half did it become clear that the real theme from which everything rippled back and forwards was her own experience of childbirth. The music was pleasant and the whole experience a charming evening that I’d just never have gone to deliberately.
I walked back to my room, delighted that I hadn’t made a rookie mistake like forget that I wouldn’t be able to get a bottle of wine after 10 o’clock. I deliberately chose to stay sober tonight. It was weird. The room looked so real.
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