The Culture Show at the Edinburgh Festival - Part 2 The Culture Show

The Culture Show at the Edinburgh Festival - Part 2

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Welcome to the Culture Show at the Edinburgh Festival. I am talking


quietly because I have chanced upon this rare beast, the cabaret artist


in its natural habitat, although it's usually a very nocturnal and


thirsty creature. Stay tuned for the best in art, charity and dance.


I'm going to leave now because I Coming up: a sneak preview of the


Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, clemency Burton Hill finds out how to turn a


cult novel into spectacular theatre. David Sidaris tells me how to turn


little moments into big laughs and New York double act Craig and


Kirstin drop into the room with us too, also, Ian Rankin talks with


gallery director Sandy. Our first- timer at the festival explores the


Edinburgh Fringe. We will bring you the best movers and shakers in town.


First up, like me, David grew up believing the whole world wanted to


hear what he had to say, unlike me, he was right. Subsequently, he's


gone on to sell 14 million books worldwide. His unique brand of


self-deprecating work takes such topics as business flights and flat


lent grannies. I was lucky enough to meet him. When my wife and I


first moved to North Carolina we lived three blocks from the school


I would begin the third grade. My mother made friends of the


neighbours, but one seemed enough for her. Within a year, we moved


again. As she explained, there wasn't much point in getting too


close to people we would have to say goodbye to. We have decided to


do this interview in a dissection room in honour of the time I think


you spent in a mortuary. Was there a reason or was it just - I was


living in New York. A magazine called. They asked me if I wanted


to write for them. They said I could do whatever I wanted. I


always wanted to see a lot of dead people. You can't just walk in.


This magazine would get me in. guess the most famous job you had


was you started off as a department store elf. I can see that. I am


small, and I am merry, so they hired me. They're the two CV points


you would look for in an elf almost exclusively, you would think.


Exactly. That's all you need. wear a Zhangly hat with a bell on


it. Well, I had an outfit, and I did it for two years. Was this a


financial necessity? Was there part of you that thought, I'm home now


is I'm with my people? LAUGHTER


I'm going to stay in elf-land forever? That's great. No-one loves


Christmas more than me, but I didn't actually feel like -


(Laughs) I'm home. You're constantly writing a diary through


all of this point. This is something - you don't know that


fame or success are coming. You're doing it because you need to write.


Writing is a compulsion at this point in your life? I think so. You


know, I started writing when I turned 20. I think I just exhausted


every other way of trying to get attention. I tried being an artist,


a horrible artist. I tried being an actor, and the second I got on


stage, all of my nervous tics came back. This is just next on the list.


But now performance is such a large part of your work. A lot of your


time is spent performing your own - readings of your own writing.


but I like that. That's as far as I'm willing to go. Like, I would


not want to... You wouldn't do it in a wig? Wouldn't put a wig on, a


little outfit, jazz it up a bit? I wouldn't. I wouldn't want to


memorise anything because that changes everything as well. If I'm


in an audience, I don't want that person on stage looking at me


because I know you're like this - because I want to be polite and I


want to look like I'm entertaining myself, like I'm prepared to laugh


at any moment, so I like it to be dark so I can't see them, so they


don't have to worry that I'm going to look at them. All I do is read.


I'm not selling myself. I read read, and every now and then I'll look up.


I was in my early 20s when a Chinese restaurant opened in


Raleigh. It was in a new building designed to look vaguely templeish,


and my mother couldn't get enough of it. "What do yousai we go


oriental?" I think she liked that the food was beyond her range.


Anyone could imitate the twice- baked potatoes at the Peddler or


turn out a veal Parmesan at one restaurant, but there was no way a


non-Chinese person could make mushu pork. I always got my order to


order for me but when the kung pao chicken was ordered for me I never


perked up the way I did at the steakhouse. It wasn't just


Raleigh's Chinese food. I was also disinterested in Chicago or New


York. Everyone swore that the food in Beijing would be different from


what I'd had in the US. "It's more real," is what they said, meaning


that it turned out that I could dislike it more authentically.


of the great stuff you do is connected to stories about your


family. One of my favourite one is you and your partner Hugh going to


watch I think it is The End of the Affair as the bombs are falling and


the totally different reaction you had to the same experience. Hugh is


a good - it's interesting to think of the person that you have been


with for the last 20 years as a character, but the character of him


is good just because he is the - such a consistent straight man, so


he's always good to... So he's the foil, the kind of... Yeah. "He


sobbed from beginning to end, and by the time we left the theatre, he


was completely dehydrated. I asked if he always cried during comedies,


and he accused me of being grossly insensitive, charge I am trying to


plea bargain down to a simple obnoxious."


My family - it's all stuff that they think is funny because often


people say, oh, how can they ever forgive you after - I think, what


do you think I have said about them that's so revealed? Like, I have


never revealed any of their secrets. I think maybe it gives the illusion


of doing that but it hasn't really, so I'll say to somebody, like,


"What do you really know about my sister?" "She has a parrot."


Like, yeah, she has a parrot. That's what you know! I mean, you


think you know all of these things. I know she did something awful in a


picnic area. Did I talk about that? I didn't write about that, though,


did I? You alluded to it, so now that stays with me now. It was -


what could it be? There are several obvious contenders, but I have sort


of over time gone, oh, no, actually, there's quite a wide variety of


things that you could do in a picnic area that would be appalling,


you know? So finally, you've obviously moved


to Paris, and now you're in England. Yes. England has got you for awhile,


which I am delighted about. What is it about England that suddenly


caught your fancy now? Well, I was living in Paris, and I started


coming here for - to do things for the BBC, and I think I came for the


first time, I don't know, maybe ten years ago, and I thought, it's open


on Sunday, because Paris is completely closed on Sunday, and


that was enough for me. Just the sake of the democracy was enough...


That was enough! But I don't think people understand either - how


difficult it is to get your papers to be able to live in another


country, so I have indefinite leave to remain now in the UK. Do you?


Uh-huh. I had to take a test. you do the citizen - tell me you


took the citizens... I did. Apparently it's the hardest thing


in the world. Somebody told me two or three questions. I have no idea


of the order of the Kings and Queens. What year did women get the


right to divorce their husbands? What year did they get the right to


vote? 1931. How old do you have to be to deliver milk in the United


Kingdom? There is a legal age... Try when you're 13. That's all I am


saying. Thank you very much for talking to me, David. Well, thank


you. And he will be tickling audiences


at the international Conference Centre until Saturday. It's still a


no, I am afraid. Sorry. Visitors to the vest value could be forgiven


thinking it's all about comedy and theatre. Indeed, those two art


forms intend to prevail. It's definitely getting there. But


dancers are all over the shop. Choreographers are fighting to find


brand new audiences. We sent our double act to hunt down the best of


them. This is your last chance. It's great Buckingham Palace,


Saturday, 9.00pm. These days, we're known for our


riotous and art-fuelled comedy, but there was a time in the not-too-


distant past when we could be found dabbling in the dark arts of


contemporary dance. And while there are thousands of sho shows to see


at the festival this year we still see dance as the beating heart...


And sweaty crotch... Of the festival. I have always wanted to


say "sweaty crotch" on the Culture Show. Dance is an often


misunderstood form, whose meaning can sometimes seem impenetrable.


But we've noticed this year choreographers making real efforts


to reach out to audiences, proving that dance isn't just for arty


One small personal story with huge universal appeal is Swimming with


My Mother, conceived and performed by David Bolger and his real-life


mother Imagine. I wondered if you could tell us


maybe a little bit about what inspired you to make a show about


your mother, but also about swimming and how those two ideas


connected. It was because my mother had put me into the water before I


could really walk and with a bicycle tube around my waist, and I


thought I wanted to do something on that and how maybe my life didn't


stay in the swimming, but it went into dancing, and then I got a bit


scared, and I thought, do you know what I'll do? I'll put my mother on


stage with me, so I would have that And the sea scares me, actually. I


get quite scared in the sea. I'd love it, but it scares me. I get


scared of what's in it. It's really strange. I get sometimes very


panicky about fish or, you know, just - I suppose because I feel


like I'm in their world, and I - The characters in the piece move


around in time, so we see you as a young boy and you as a young lady,


and we move around, and the text helps us do that. The text is


recorded and played to us as a voice-over. The way the text would


- was going to work was to use it as a score for the pieces and to


allow that to accompany the movement, but for us to be able to


swim through that score, swim through the words and the story.


The text is the water. I suppose something that had an ebb and flow


to it and a theme and different subject matters that correlate to


Another dance piece making ways at the Fringe tackles darker and more


abstract concepts of memory. Forgetting Natasha layers flux and


imagery to explore one woman's dementia.


It actually started with me thinking about memories and how


memories make us who we are, how they affect us on a daily basis,


you know, without all of these memories, who would you be? How


would you exist? This is where my personal experience of my grandpa,


who unfortunately did suffer from dementia, and how he forgot how to


make a cup of tea to him forgetting who my mum was and, you know,


eventually, really, just completely forgetting himself. I don't


remember people's names, but I remember being on a train not


Covering my school books with wrapping paper, walking in the rain,


the bell ringing and always arriving late for my music lessons.


What we see is some projected images on screen and some


incredibly complex production. Can you tell us about how you arrived


at the multimedia? This idea of the memories that we keep them in like


boxes - they're made up of hundreds of boxs that we open and close, and


they come out sometimes, and some days they maybe weigh very heavy on


you, and some days they lift you up - that's the idea of where all of


these boxes came from. I don't remember your face anymore. But I


I remember you. I will always remember you. They are using all


these different tools such as the poetry, the speaking, the visual


elements, the dancing, all coming together. When I make a piece of


work, I am trying to communicate, so I hope that, through using these


different mediums, it does make the work accessible. Even more


emotionally resonant is Falling Man, a piece inspired by Richard Drew's


iconic and controversial photograph from 9/11. This show explore as


painful moment in our collective history through a powerful fusion


of movement and text. For more than an hour and a half they streamed


through the building one after another. And they were all very


much obviously very much alive on their way down. I was really


nervous about making the piece, thinking would I do something would


do it justice? As somebody that didn't live through that, whether I


could make a comment on that. It is something we all experienced, one


of those days that we all remember, and we all have a resonance with it.


They were culled jumpers or the jumpers, as if to represent some


new lemming-like class. It places new the position of trying to


consider a human being's predicament in that situation. Yes


it's got this big context but at the heart of it it is about this


one man, who is having to make a decision. Yeah, that's what it was


about for us, the humanity of it. If you were in this situation, what


would you do? Now, the falling man is falling through much more than


blank, blue sky. He's falling through the vast spaces of memory.


And picking up speed. Is it a dance piece? Is it a theatre piece?


think it is somewhere middle. I think it is dance theatre, yeah. It


very much has its roots in dance and movement, but yeah, it needs


the text and it needs something to give it context. I wonder if you


have a sense of what dance or dance theatre can do that maybe strikes


that it can't do? It adds something on an emotional level. I think it


offers something that is more subtle and allows the audience to


reflect more rather than be told That's three pieces here at the


Fringe that tell us powerful, complex and deeply human stories.


For us, that's what dance theatre does best.


There'll be more dance from the international festival next week.


Now to one of the highlights of this year's Edinburgh Art Festival.


The Tony Cragg is one of the world's greatest sculptors, using


natural and synthetic materials to create beautiful objects that defy


categorisation. Alastair Sooke went to meet him at the gallery of


modern art, where he had put the final touches to his first show in


over a decade. Back in the 1980s a group came


together. They included Anish Kapoor and others. This year the


Scottish gallery of modern art is celebrating a member of the group


who hasn't penetrated the public's consciousness in the same way, a


star of British sculptor who sadly has been overlooked in his homeland,


Tony cafplgt Crag's early sculptors used found


plastic objects. With his work in demand in galleries round the world


he was one of Britain's brightest artistic talents. The winner of the


Turner Prize in 1998 is Tony Cragg. Even though he won the Turner Prize


and represented Britain in 1988, Tony Cragg is still a bit


unfamiliar to lots of people. In part because since 1977 he's lived


in Germany, where he has a studio in a former tank factory. But this


new exhibition in Edinburgh of nearly 50 recent sculptures offer


as remind they are Cragg's career didn't ossify after his peak in


1980. He deserves to be celebrated. And this is the first time that


many of these stunning works have been shown here in the UK. I met up


with the artest for a tour of the final installation. This isn't the


first room in the show, but I thought it might be a good place to


start. Partly because, this is a piece called Under The Skin and it


reminds me of some of the work from earlier in your career where you


used found objects. You can see this is a chair, this is a table


and it is covered in hooks. Sculpture is very much about


reading a surface. How should we read this one? That's what we have


to find out. The surface we are seeing is indicative of energy


states. Just doing this, this is an enormous amount of energy to this


in. This is a lot of work. They are curly forces off the surface and


they stick on the to each other, like Velcro. This attachment, this


potential to kind of attach you. This stickiness about it I think is,


it excited me. That's why I made the work. Tell me about this piece.


It is called Hedge? Yes. This is part of a new group of works. It is


just the idea of in England you've got fields, monocultures of nothing,


in the middle between each field is a wide hedge. I and my brothers, we


used to love to be in these hedges. It was like a paradicic world, if


you like. I want to build something that has the buzz of a metropolis


but it is one of the hedge, if you like. I think the hedge idea is


really very beautiful. It is also people think of sculpture as solid


and traditionally full of mass, and this is, you can go in and around


it. Yes, that's right. Sometimes you only want the aroma of


something. This bright yellow piece, what are we looking at? We are


looking at are some commercial vessels. What, plastic? Originally.


The things I drew originally... If you come round this side, can I


show you. This here is a detergentle, a shampoo bottle.


you've extended it. This is a Domestos bottle. It is very


interesting the parallel with the first room, because I can see you


are taking something which, to use your words, is quite banal, an


everyday thing, a table chair, and transforming it into something


magnificent, different, very unexpected. At the moment you were


not bound by utilitarianism, the vocabulary of form is free for you.


You don't have to be practical and economic with it. Suddenly things


start to happen. The thing grows up into space and becomes something


that you noble else has ever seen before and you have to struggle


with it. -- nobody else. To a lot of people it is


objectionable to see sculpture, because they don't know what it is


for. "What is it for?" It's for nothing. It is just because it


gives you new ideas, new emotions, new language or something. What is


this piece called? Red Figure. is part of the Rational Being


series, is it? It is, yes. strikes me that in all of these


series you are playing with futurism. Future Rix, no, future


Rix wanted to have the illusion of movement. I don't think that's what


I want. I want energy. Even though it is on about it have any energy,


you are creating the illusion. course it has energy. Only because


you've imbued it as a sculpture. no. Something sticks out like this


with amazing energy. That's real strength. That's real power to keep


that volume out there. That is energy. I'm probably being dumb.


Energy sort of implies motion to me. I suppose this has an illusion that


we've seen something that's freeze- framed and almost like a piece of


smoke, or material smoke, is about to shift before our eyes. No, I can


understand why you say that but I see it differently. The thing about


sculpture, when people say statue, static. They have the idea of


stasis, of ridge itity of a frozen moment. The history of sculpture in


the last 100 years is fantastically dynamic, evolving, developing. You


should never see the material as being something static.


formidable Mr Cragg has lost none of his energy. The exhibition is a


timely reminder of his importance, but di wonder if, from his studio


in Germany, he ever felt overshadowed by the media stars of


British sculpture. I think anybody that makes sculpture is heroic and


interesting. I'm a real sculpture enthuse yavements I think there are


lots of really great sculptors around. But I'm competitive in


myself and especially in what I'm trying to do for myself. I'm not


really scerpbd about other people's opinion too much, to be frank. They


want to make something better, they should get on with it. You can see


Tony Cragg's sculptures until November 6th.


Now Governor, cor blimey, strike a light, would you Adam and EVe it,


have a banana. If you don't care about the song, you are hard


# Remember the comedy song # Musically weak and the joke's not


that strong # Makes me think of bad school


reviews # Deluded prep school kids


# So far from cool # Playing the fool


# Synthetic shirt from Next # Was it as embarrassing as we


remember # # Golf is a wonderful, a wonderful


sport # You really ought to try it


# Every ought. It will keep you happy and enjoying life


# But it keeps you away from the wife #


# God can you imagine how his kids must feel? I would have bullied


them if I was at their school # Caning never worked


# Can it be right # Can comedy songs ever be cool #


# It's easy to think they can't because of a bunch of comedians not


helping the cause # The things that you hear on Radio


# The same three people and the same three chords


# But don't panic # Because there's a new breed of


musical missionary # With genuine skill


# Not just a rhyming dictionary # And actual jokes not snide


remarks # Production values not acoustic


git ars # Mascara


# High-heeled boots # Not grey-haired men in grey-


coloured suits. # # You see there is hope


# Gotta make sure you've got a few things up your sleeve


# You gotta look good you gotta be funny


# You gotta sing right # Throw a few moves in there too


# You've got ta have attitude # And maybe advice


# I think you just described Rihanna


# Is Rihanna comedy # No, no, no, no, no


Um, I usually don't have much trouble.


# Call me rude, boy, boy - is it big enough? #


You're kind of scaring me. Can we not just cuddle?


# We need expert help # # Let's sing a comedy song


# We have four chords # Can't go wrong.


# Make it sexual # Or people will think you're a -


# Say the punch line at the end of the line


# Or if you want them to try # Go into a miner


# If it's topical, sing about your internet provider


# Or just smile, smile, smile - huh # Let's sing a comedy ditty. We're


in Edinburgh, the cultural city # Make sure there is a story as


well as ha, has # If you want to get five


# If you want to get a five stars # So believe in the relevance of


humorous songs # Keep faith


# And open your eyes # Look around you


# There's so much to see out there # From rockin' Australians


# To DJs with facial hair # There are loads of things


# That would be awful if you said them


# But when we sing them, they're funny


# And that's the way this works # So leave it to the people


# Who are beautiful and talented # Who won't fall back on hazy


# Rhymes involving cheese # Leave it to the people


# Who DO have grade five theory # And at least four stars from a


critic # And please -


# Don't stop believin' # Hold on to that feeling


# Streetlights # Keep us


# Don't stop believin' old? Hold on to that feeling


# Streetlights, people # Oh!


# Don't stop! # And frisky and Mannache won't stop


believing until August 28th when they'll have to contractually leave,


but they will be touring in October. Now - in the streets of Edinburgh,


the writings of Ricky can be strange and downright surreal. His


novel, the Windup Chronicle has been developed into a play.


Clemency Burton-Hill went to New York to check out the rehearsals in


advance of its Premier in Edinburgh later this week. You should hear


The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a detective story set against the


secret world of life in suburban Tokyo. Her eightth novel is a bend


of sci-fi, noire and post modern realism. Nurakami is a truly


literalrary voice. They're truly ambitious literary works


intertwined with the surreal and hyperreal leaving the reader with


an unforgotten set of images emblazoned across the mind but not


necessarily ones that'll easily be translated from the page to the


stage. This production evokes the same dream-like imagery as the


novel, using film, puppetry, dance and performance techniques to


explore the complex world of the modern Japanese psyche. Few


directors would be bold or perhaps crazy enough to attempt to bring a


novel as complex as the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle to the stage. But


Steven Earnhearth hart with his background in film and music videos


is perhaps the perfect man. What drew you to this work and the Wind-


Up Bird Chronicle in particular? When I read The Wind-Up Bird


Chronicle, for me, it was a chance to envision a project that was


going to take all of the things that I was really passionate about,


which is live performance and cinema, even sound and do something


that I had never done before, which was create something that I called


living cinema, so to take all the things I loved about film and all


the things I loved about live performance and put them into one


single project. There is a moment in the book when the protagonist,


Toru Okada, says the one thing I understood for sure is I didn't


understand anything. That could speak for all the readers. How did


you begin to adapt the book into a two-hour stage play without leaving


the audience baffled. It. Certainly wasn't easy. I felt a lot like the


main character, groping through the darkness to find the answers. At


the anchor of all of this was the story of a man who had lived with a


woman for six years and ultimately had this feeling he had know idea


he knew who she was. The play centres around Toru Okada, an


everyday man whose life takes a bizarre turn with the disappearance


of his wife and later his cat. was the last time you saw her?


days ago. I zipped up her dress, kissed her goodbye and haven't


heard from her since no, notes, no calls, nothing. Four days? Did you


call the police, the hospitals, her family? No. Well, what the hell


have you been doing? Laundry. During his quest to find his wife


and the cat, he's visited by a succession of characters, each one


stranger than the last. It was a pleasure meeting you today, Toru


Okada. This curious cast of characters includes a ghostly war


veteran, a prostitute of the mind and, of course, that wind-up bird.


I have never seen it, but I hear it all the time. It sounds like


someone's winding the clock. My wife and I decided it's the bird


that winds the spring of the universe. We named it the wind-up


bird. So what happens when the bird stops winding? In 2004, Earnhart


travelled to Japan to secure the rights to the novel. One of the


things I really came away with from my time in Japan was this tension


between the outward expression of Japanese people and the inner life.


We in New York tend to express everything, you know, and we talk


and talk and talk and talk, but there was a certain quietness and


introspection in Japan that really intrigued me. What I felt that -


Morikami's book was really getting at was that internal journal that


Toru Okada, the main character, was going through, and so much of this


was happening in his psyche and in his mind, and I wanted to represent


that in a way that felt very Japanese to me, that it wasn't so


much about using dialogue and using this long monologues and expression,


it was more about, how can I possibly use all of these elements


at my disposal to accurately portray this very internal journey


that he's going through? You have been down there all day. Aren't you


getting hungry? I have a sandwich in my backpack. How are you


planning to get out of there? way I came down. And how did the


author react when you told him this is what you were going to do?


thought he would be very interested in having the play be originated


and developed in jan, and it was the opposite. He said, "No, I want


you to do it in America." I think he was intrigued about the


uniqueness of what I was trying to do. It wasn't an ordinary


adaptation. I think he was interested in the collision between


Eastern and Western culture. (Speaking in Japanese)


He has a Huge audience in the UK, kind of a cult readership, if you


like. Hue do you think it had will go down in Edinburgh? It has always


been this blessing and this curse of having this amazing book hanging


over me with all of this immense amount of unbelievably beautiful


material but feeling this pressure to make something that is as


truthful and feels as good as that, so I'm hoping that people feel that


we did do something that represents the book well but also gave it a


completely unique adaptation. a perfect example of how post-war


Japanese, especially Japanese men, have become plagued with the


national resignation that's turned them into passive little sheep.


LAUGHTER At a time when they should stand up


and fight, they cower in the corner like little girls. I want people to


leave the audience feeling like they had just been in the Morikami


world for two hours. I feel like if we can do that, we have succeeded.


I want more! I want more! And The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle chronicles


in Edinburgh this Saturday at the King's Theatre. Next up, the


darlings of the American comedy circuit, the variety duo Kurt


Braunohler and Kristen Schaal. Together their combined talents


include South Park and the Daily Show, but Kristen is better known


as the Freaky Groupie in Flight of the Concordes. Together, they're in


Edinburgh with a brand new show that changes every night. I met up


with them to find out why variety is the spice of life. You guys,


we're excited that you're here tonight because we have an amazing


show for you. You said it, kurt. This show has everything. It has


variety, variety, variety, variety, variety -


LAUGHTER And you throw caution to the wind


and you're doing a variety show. Are you nuts? We're wild. We're


crazy! Tell me how you two met because it's an excellent double


act. It really is. We met about six years ago at this place called the


People's improv Theatre in New York City. When I said I wanted to start


a variety show, the director said, "Kristen just asked me the same


thing. "So I marched backstage. Yeah, you went backstage, and you


just sat down, and you were like... Quite moody. Yeah. What did you


think of that? As a first - as an introduction - the beckon is quite


a hard... She ran. She ran like this - "What? What!" Oh, my God.


You're talking to me. My favourite sketch you two do is with a


ventriloquist dummy. It was hilarious, A, the physicality of


you two being somehow connected, but it suddenly became really dark


and twisted. Kristen, what do you think about this amazing audience,


huh? I want to meet them. You can't meet


all of these people, Kristen. I want to shake their hand. All right.


You can shake one person's hand, OK? You, sir, will you just come


here and shake her hand just to appease her? (I'm a real girl).


(Help me. Help me.) So the elephant in the room is this


mound of bandages. Was this part of a comic sketch or clumsiness...


Isn't it hilarious I'll sacrifice my body for my comedy show? No, I


was thinking, it's sunny out. Oh, my goodness! So I went for a run


and went down a dirt path, and I guess I was running really fast...


Also, she's very clumsy. When she falls, she use her knee to break


her fall. She purposely puts it out there. For some reason my left knee


is like, I'll save us, every time and bends and takes the fall. I was


like Superman falling, and I just looked down a, and my knee was


hanging open. I knew it was bad, and I was like,


I have ruined a lot of things in our show.


LAUGHTER Because we had a lot of physical


comedy in it. I wonder where I should sit down. Should I sit on


the chaise longue? No! Well, should I sit on the sofa? No! Well, I


guess I'll just sit on the bed, then.




And finally, I have to ask, is your voice real? Mine is not because my


voice is (High pitched) "Hey, can I get a drink of water." Is that how


he normally... Yeah. But I have switched to this because it's more


commercially acceptable. My voice is (Deep-pitched) More like this.


But I think it's scary. We used to do the double act like this. That


was our double act. Hi, I am Kurt. And I am Kristen. We used to be


called squeezeky mouth and gravel voice. Look, it's been a joy. Best


of luck with the variety show Hottub. Dude, you're great. Like-


wise. Hot Tub is on until the 22nd of


August in St George's Square. There is another side to this city which


over the years has played host to many dastardly double acts, Burke


and Hare, Jekyll and Hyde, Monsoon, and there are several productions


this year that are taking advantage For a month a year a pageant of


prove olity floats across Edinburgh, like a shimmering veil, a haunting


spirit so thick you can almost smell it. Edinburgh's long history


is all huddled up the hill. It piles up on itself all cluttered


and claustrophobe ig. Layers and layers of it. Forgotten streets lay


literally under your feet. There is something in the area that gets


into the bones of the place. It is like mildew or damp. It is in


everything here, ingrained into the texture and fabric of the place.


The biblical rain, the big skies and sharp northern light. The


castle set on its craggy volcanic rock. The gnarly stoned crowns on


the churches, the blackened gothic sticks which punctuate the jaged


skyline. It is a foreboding kind of grandeur and it is something that


must facility interthe creative imagination like it does into


everything else. Maybe that's why there are so many shows with dark


subject matter on offer at the festival. The this theatre is the


home of new writing in Scotland and included in its programme this year


are plays about freak shows and cannibals. As well as this


production about a psychotic piano maestro from site-specific company


Grid Iron. There are lots of shows that use all the spooky places


Edinburgh has to offer. This is the Anat my -- anatomy museum where


Burke and Hare did all the body snatching. Apparently all the


corpses are down stairs in the Future proof is the directorial


swan song of Traverse's Dominic Hill. It tells the tale of a


travelling freak show which has hit hard times. I guess when thinking


about the programme what I really like is the fact that there are a


lot of kind of good stories within it, quite dark stories, stories of


circuses or cannibals or plagues. And there is I think a kind of


theatricality which appeals to me as a theatre maker. And I think


also appeals to the city of Edinburgh as well. I'm very aware


that here we are sitting in a graveyard, that this is the city of


Burke and Hare. There's a fantastic history to this city. I find it


quite an inspiring city to work in. I went to see the final rehearsals


for another Traverse show this year, a dance piece called Last Orders


which reimagines and updates the I think there's a lot of room for


ketch-up blood in something as gothic as Edinburgh. There is


something genuinely upsetting about that piece. It very quickly became


uncomfortable watching that. It was very much about breaking a lot of


taboos, and the ultimate taboo of cannibalism, of eating people.


Genuinely quite an uncomfortable thing to watch, but very powerful I


thought. Edinburgh's Newtown was designed as


an escape from the medieval warren up the hill. The elegant rational


heart of the Scottish enlightenment, the Dr Jeck toil the old town's Mr


Hide. -- the Dr Jekyll to the old town's Mr Hide. The Newtown itself


also has plenty of dark stories to tell. Ghost city is a series of


audio installations describing sex parlours, cemeteries and ghosts of


the past. As you walk along the streets of the new town you are


unaware of each other's presence, as how could you be when 150 years


separates one from the other? But as the drug you've both taken dulls


the boundaries between the real and the imagined, something begins to


It is no surprise these shows find a home in Edinburgh. Drawn in line


moths to a flickering candle. It's the perfect setting for these tales


to play themselves out. Their poetencey only enhanced by the dark


theatrical sense built of the city itself.


Michael will be back next week when I will be getting limb to juggle


with we are Wolves. Next up Ian Rankin is the UK's top-selling


crime writer but he's got a bit of a thing about art. Sandy Nairn is a


top UK museum director who has got a bit of a thing about crime.


That's understandable as when his gallery lent �2 million of art to


another gallery it was nicked. This is a really nice piece about Sandy


Nairn's new book. An Italian painter decorator hides overnight


in a up the board in the Louvre. He walks into the gallery, unhooks it


and removes the panel from the outer frame, walks out of the front


door of the gallery with the most famous painting in the world hidden


under his coat. Nowadays the theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911 seems


almost comic. The modern-day reality of art theft is much more


sinister. Art theft nowadays is big business. Interpol reckons the


trade in stolen art could be worth �3 billion a year and it's the


fourth biggest illegal trade on the planet.


As a writer of crime fiction, I've always been intrigued by the


subject of art theft. To me, there's something quite sexy about


the classic art heist. My own novel, Doors Open, concerns the theft of


paintings from the storerooms of the National Gallery of Scotland


here in Edinburgh. The art heist can be audacious. It can be clever,


intricate, and it can almost be the perfect crime. Although my book was


a work of fiction, art crime is a sad reality. It is estimated that


over 10,000 works of art are stolen every year. The chances of


recovering the works are very slim. On average nine out of ten pieces


are never recovered. One man who has dealt with the fallout from art


theft is museum director Sandy Nairn. During his time at the Tate,


two of Turner's most famous paintings were stolen while on loan


to a German gallery. The long struggle to recover the works is


the subject of Nairn's new book. Why but write the book? When the


Turners were stole no-one Frankfurt in 1994, I happened to be the


person who ended up co-ordinating the recovery operations over the


next eight-and-a-half years. I knew it was very unusual for a senior


museum person to have been that closely involved. I thought there


was something to tell that others might understand from it. But I


then also wanted to get to the issues around art theft, the


questions of value, the questions of myth, the motivations and the


ethics. I felt those were important. A couple of the characters I really


like in your book, they start off working for the Met and when they


leave they were kept on as investigators weren't they? There


was a particularly key pair of "Rocky" Rokoszynski and Mick


Lawrence... Great names. I wish I had invented those names. Rocky was


a great character. He did great work in the Met, mostly working in


drug scams and gangstering businesses in Europe. We were lucky


to get him. Was there a point where you thought these paintings are


never coming back? It is hard to say. There were several points


where I thought it was difficult. Four years after the theft we saw


some very bad forgeries. Someone was trying to pass those on in


Antwerp. There were five occasions in Germany when we were all set up


potentially to be able to recover the second one and for various


reasons we didn't. It must have been a huge sense of relief when


you finally started to get these paintings back? A huge relief, a


moment of joy. It was a strange moment, as I was still thinking,


where are we going to put it, how do we get it back to England?, but


no, it was incredible. This lying in front of us was the wonderful


late Turner painting, Shade and Darkness - the Evening of the


Deluge, probably now worth at least �18 million. Slowly, we started


smiling and grinning at each other. At a certain moment, as all the


consequences of getting this wrong loomed in my head, I asked Roy


rather formally the question: "Roy, is this the genuine Turner


painting?" After an extended pause, he said, "It's like meeting an old


friend." I want to ask you, why do you think people steal these


paintings? I think the financial thing is always there, and I think


what we can see very notably, since the 1960s in particular, when we've


got this incredible upward graph of the prices of the most notable


pieces of art, whether they are ancient art or masters or whether


they are now modern art or indeed contemporary. With it we see a


great deal more attempts at high- value thefts.. I think one can be


distinct about the high-value thefts than the regular stealing


from houses. Can musiums ever be completely 100% secure? I guess not,


if they are letting in the public. I think letting the public in has


to be the priority, as well as the security of the paintings and works


of art. With high-value items there'll always be criminals who


think is there a way of overcoming this. The fact that the public,


writers, fantastic makers down the years are fascinated by art heists.


We are aren't we? A I'm not sure why. I should ask you, why but want


to write Doors Open? Stkwhri wanted to write a history novel. I wanted


to write a heist movie and I'm fascinated about art. I'm jealous.


I wish I could paint but I can't. I can't even draw a stick man. When I


was given the opportunity to write a book different from a detective


story, there would be no murders in it, just the heist and the people


involved. I've noticed that since the publication of Doors Open,


curators follow me round galleries. I'm sure you can be trusted. They


ought to think you know more about it and how difficult it when


something is stolen what to do with it. That's why I haven't stolen it


in real life. Join us at the same time next week. If you need more of


a cultural fix, tune in at 11 o'clock tomorrow night to catch the


Review Show. We leave new the capable hands of Arthur Smith, who


has been relaxing this year with laughter yoga. This refreshs the


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