Saturday, 16 February 2013


With street performers such as Arizona Jones, Conrad and JP arriving early this year there was an air of excitment on the High Street before the festival began.
As more faces arrived both new and old the buzz was amazing.

Then something started to happen; maybe the weather played a factor, to many new faces on the High street amongst the Fringe staff. Or a completly new set of rules governing how street performers are "managed" on the High Street.

People come to the High street and go to the Mound because there is entertainment. True family friendly entertainment. Circus skills of every variety. Something watchable and afordable for everyone. It's street theatre and even with a credit crunch a few £'s is not bad for a 45 minute show.

If the street theatre wasn't at the Mound or on the High Street, would the people handing out flyers have something to do. The answer is of course no. The High street would be dead.
I have good friend from the Fringe theatre and music world but none have the ability to hold an audience of two to three hundred or more around a Fringe stage for 45 minutes.

Edinburgh has the ability to draw the Worlds best street entertainment, but Edinburgh is doing it's best to get rid of it all. Maybe the Fringe, the council and those residents and shopkeepers who complain need to take three weeks off in August and get off the High Street.

Leaving the street to those of us who see the beauty in what happens there. Where good and great entertainers manage themselves.

Stepping into the Circle

Working in an environment like the High Street during the Fringe could be (without the danger) like working in a war zone. You have to be on the ball at all times. Have a sixth sense when it comes to what’s happening around about you. And gain the respect of everyone that matters to get the photographs you want.

Respect gains you entry in to positions a press pass will never get you. Like shooting a Wedding on the High street last year or getting fisheye photos from the centre of circle shows a year or so before. I’ve shot personal intimate moments; family pictures for many performers, because I’m part of their family a photographer, a friend.
This festival it was time to take my life in my hands and try something a little more exciting.
Stepping beyond the safety of the shows edge I stepped into JP’s show. I would be within inches of his deadly double headed battle axe for the photo opportunity of a lifetime; even if it was just a few minutes away.
With the sparkle in his eyes which meant I was going to die or the axe was going higher than ever I took up position. The camera I fired thru a burst of shots. Not daring to check afterwards. It was a moment to savour only later once I’d made it home.
I’d survived to fight another day. To carry on in the battle ground that is the High. And hunt out any other shots I could risk my life doing.

Do Right

Over the last few days of the Fringe I spent my first few minutes listening to Juzzie.
Love this track. So I spent just a little while putting this slideshow together.

It'll probably be edited as this was a very quick effort.


This is a topic I keep bringing up through my many blogs. I capture the world I see before me with long lenses. I do on occasion shoot pictures with wide angle lenses; but it's just not what I like. And as a photographer I'm not very good.

I'd rather take a photo of a hand with a flyer or an interesting pair of boots (you know who you are) than the whole picture. Because in my eye and in my mind that makes it more interesting.

Haiku is a beautiful form of expression. And for me extreme telephoto photography makes the image that little bit interesting.

Wide angle - Wordsworth.
Telephoto - Basho

Not everyone sees the beauty in Haiku; just as not everyone sees the beauty in my photography.
But as I've always said. Photography is (was) my passion. Images captured were always just for me. I'm not a mass market photographer. I don't sell stuff it just gets stolen by some, used and occasionally credited by others.

From through the crowd,
A smile,
brightens my day.

Atop a pole,
A hat,
Waiting it's moment of fame.

A Whip crack
Fluff in the sun,
Joyful laughter.

Beautiful girl,
How sad,
Your painted face.

Wet flyers,
Never read,
protection from August rain.

An angry scowl,
Someone from Edinburgh,
who doesn't want a flyer.

Who was my show?
The wrong answer given.

It's short life,
Printed, folded, discarded,
A flyer.

Pigeons flock,
To the sound of whip cracks,
Spaghetti, how strange.

Like No Other

Jonathan Taylor (aka) Daredevil Chicken had an idea for a show finale. Scale a Fringe tower and drop a couple of thousand bouncy balls from it.

Does that in any way sound familiar. Can anyone remember the Sony advert? Like No Other.
The Advertising agency must have had a brainstorm of an idea. Or maybe they just saw it before.

Like No Other.

Jonathan Taylor first performed the ball drop around the year 2000. Guess Where; the same place the Ad company staged the Sony Bravia ball drop, He's performed the ball drop finale to his show at a number of festivals.

What is amazing is that these big companies don't check back history. Last year I had to write to Epson the computer printer manufacturers; because they promoted their "exhibition" as if at the Fringe something like that had never happened before. The bad news it had. They just hadn't checked.

So Sony in their infinite wisdom took on an ad idea. (Their budget makes it look impressive) 50,000 balls.
But Daredevil Chicken got there first. Sony Bravia. "Like no other." I think you need to check you facts.

Then copying other peoples work is a form of flattery. Maybe we should say thanks to Sony and Thanks to their Ad agency, you've given a lot of people in performance circles a very good laugh.

Next year we're all planing a stunt involving nuns, goats and Germans. No wait that's the Sound of Music.

Art in Many Forms

Edinburgh at Festival times brings together all the best in street entertainment from across the world. With acts from Scotland, England, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, France, Japan, Portugal and Israel.
The draw of Edinburgh as a venue for street entertainers is great. It brings to the streets acts as diverse as jugglers to clowns, sword swallower’s to escape artists. Acrobats to mime artists.
There are shows that amuse and have you laughing days after. There are shows that enthral with skill and dexterity. Some shows have heart stopping stunts. Others have heart wrenching moments.
There are shows that every moment is filled with energy from start to finish. Others that are just story telling in its universal form.
Lino and Sivouplait were two of this the last category of street theatre. Beautiful theatre played in the art form of mime and body language.
They played the street against the odds of juggling giants. These two David’s held their own, if on occasion leaving their audience a little confused as to the outcome of the piece.
For me something new, refreshing and original. Beautiful entertainment played out on the streets of Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile.


You can’t judge street entertainment is something I’ve always said. I do feel this is true. Every entertainer in there own way is talented in what ever field they have decided to follow. The structure of their show can change everyday depending on the crowd or space they are playing to. A show played in Parliament Square one day may start differently the next if played on High Street.
But for me there was one show that took my breath away. Had me clapping and cheering at the end. It had been three years since I last saw this show unfold before me. And I was eager to live that piece of street magic once again.
Mario was back. The full Queen routine as mind blowing as ever. The structure supreme entertainment. A master class in everything that street entertainment should have. That’s probably why there were as many street performers watching from the audience. This was what Edinburgh needed. The sun had come out; the energy levels were through the roof.

Maybe it was because it’s been so long between seeing the show that raises it’s expectation of it. Or it’s just down to the energy that Mario creates in character and his audience feeds off of. Its structure, it’s choreography to a musical theme is almost seamless. A fantastic show with something for everyone.
Thank you for the magic of your show. Three years was a long time to wait to see its return.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

To Much to say

With so many things to say and add to my blogs. I thought I'd add a few "Haiku" to break up a few photos.

Side stepping,
I create a gap,
That fills with people

Liquid sunshine,
A cry down the Mile,
Lewis arrived

Monday, 25 August 2008

August 25th

No photos today. Once again I'm back at work. So the camera has been hung up once again. Maybe a year from now I'll step back on to the High Street for August, but that's one year away.

To everyone who passes through thanks. To all my performer friends thanks once again to step into your world if only for a short time. To all the members of casts and crews I've photographed thanks too.

There are a lot of things happening on the mile so I'll never photograph everything. But I do choose from everything I've shot only to publish here groups that respect and acknowledge that street theatre deserves as much respect as any theatre venue. Respect street theatre you'll get my respect. You need street theatre on the High street more than you know.

Once you've finished here it's time to move on to part 3

Edinburgh Fringe 2008 part 3

August 24th

A geisha's flower,
Lit by diffused light
Paper parisol

Odd socks,
Plays with his audience

A bouquet of clubs,
Romances the girl

August 23rd

The Mona Lisa smiles,
A poster applied,
Another layer to a Fringe tower

A paper chain,
To stretch the Mile,
Ever growing