A follow-up post from the plague pit

I had planned a massive follow-up post for April 2nd, covering all the many events I had been to and taken part in on the 1st. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and Jen… I reckoned without a bout of flu, which I was still cheerfully dismissing as a cold this time last week. On the 2nd I was completely wiped out and it has taken me until now to work up the energy to write this post.

So was April Foolery worth a week spent recovering? It certainly was. While I am disappointed by the lack of media response (as I have been over the entire PEL issue, not just this particular aspect of it), I couldn’t be more proud of everyone who took part. It felt like a mini-Fringe, but without the tourists and massive commercialisation. I’m quite fond of the tourists, personally, but I see the way the Fringe has become so commercial and so heavily regulated as a massively bad thing. But that’s another story…

I teamed up with Gillian Morrison and Trystan Davies, who were going round taking footage of as many of the events as they could get to. Our original list was pretty optimistic, covering most of the events going on in Edinburgh with very little regard for such dreary considerations as the time it takes to get around town,  the fact that events might run late for unforeseen reasons, or my plague-stricken state slowing me down a bit.

However, we got round a glorious handful and visited Rhubaba, Out of the Blue, the singalong at St Andrew’s Square, April Woolery at the Meadows, The Stick Factory, spoken word at the Meadow Bar and the closing party at Third Door. My personal highlights included seeing a couple of young Goth ladies (I think that’s the correct term and hope they’ll forgive me if it’s not) spontaneously joining in with the Sound of Music singalong; discovering the April Woolery group knitting and spinning in the sunshine (with actual spinning wheels and everything!); collaborative storytelling with the children at The Stick Factory, who formed into crews of angels and pirates who eventually did battle in the form of an egg-rolling contest; and learning of a gentleman who went out and did a clowning performance all by himself. It’s a pity there’s no footage of that, since it’s exactly the spirit of April Foolery!

There’s still a massive amount of work to be done to get PEL reform underway (and I’ll still be using this blog to comment on it), but I think we can congratulate ourselves on a job well done in terms of April Foolery. Sometimes it’s important just to have made something happen. Sometimes we need to be reminded that in an age where everything is controlled and regulated and we’re used to having to ask permission and fill in forms for every little thing, there is still a place for spontaneity and a “just do it” attitude.

I  have more to say, including pages worth bookmarking so you can keep an eye on further developments, but that’s all I have the energy for just now. Time to go and collapse for a bit.

One more thing, though. All the events I’ve mentioned were illegal here in Edinburgh. Just like every other small, free event that takes place without a license will be until the legislative mess concerning PELs is sorted out. Please support your local grassroots criminals in their fight to make their art legal again by going to as many small, free arts events as possible.


About jenbitespeople

Edinburgh-based writer, dramaturg and director. Here you'll find posts about my work, mental health, arts politics and whatever else happens to catch my attention.

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