August 2017 - Scotland

Precision is one of my favourite things, so when you begin your morning with a well choreographed battle sequence in Game of Thrones and end it with the timing and staging perfection of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo you can look back and think, damn, that was a good day.

There is a certain madness that descends upon Edinburgh in the month of August, multiple festivals converge and more than once I've thought it is channeling Time Square craziness. Then I remember there is few things worse than Times Square.

Most of this madness stems from the Fringe Festival. The posters lining the street, the endless buskers (some official, some not so much) and the 100+ page festival guide that was from time to time seen deserted on empty tables outside coffee shops. It is the 200+ web pages Jonno diligently searched through on his phone to find a good show to see, although I really think the point of the festival is to walk into the epicentre of madness, pick some random person handing out flyers and go see whatever show they are promoting.

But alas there were no last minute comedy shows or spoofs on Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, or Shit Faced Shakespeare (The NYC version is drunk Shakespeare; I prefer the Scottish name more). Instead we had planned our tickets well in advance for another major event happening in Edinburgh in August, The Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Every New Years Eve in Australia one of the TV channels (is it ABC?) replays a performance of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. I don't know how many of these I watched growing up (and I remember getting bored of it pretty quickly), but I can honestly say that after watching it live, it didn't go on nearly long enough.

The precision is astounding and I'm sure you only see a small part of that on the TV. Everything starting from the entrances to exits are meticulously planned, performers know exactly when to turn to compact themselves into an exit that fits exactly 4 people shoulder to shoulder. From the small entrance to Edinburgh Castle performers expand to cover the entire stage (which mind you is just a street) both quickly and in perfect time.

It's safe to say that on this trip we've listened to our fair share of bagpipes, from soloists to en masse and everything in between. Some were good, some more like STOP THIS MADNESS (to the random bagpipers at Inverness Castle: I have no idea if you were practicing or performing, but you need more practice, preferably somewhere soundproof) but when those massed pipes and drums flare out of the castle it is truly something else and in that I have a new appreciation for that crazy Scottish musical instrument.

Bagpipes aside I love me some drums and the precision plus award for the evening goes to the British Army drummers. I could watch this video over and over again (and I do). You can't beat this!

"They're like toy soliders!!!" - Jonno