Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The Excellent Etherington Edinburgh Excursion!

Yesterday marked the end of the 2012 Edinburgh International Book Festival. It was a triumph of 12 months of hard work and immense planning that saw over 800 authors appear in 750 events for adults and children.  Crazy stuff.  And we were there to add to the nonsense!  My wonderful wife Mimi snapped most of the pictures you see, which probably explains why she's in so few photos herself!

The evening we arrived was warm and calm, and the streets were uncharacteristically empty.  Based on this evidence either I'm shrinking or Lorenzo is still growing.

Our hotel was opposite the festival site in Charlotte Square Gardens. At night the entire space is illuminated with greens and blues and splashes of neon.

A brief sleep and we were into Day One. No time for a big breakfast as Lorenzo and I were bound for the Kingdom of Fife. Hopping aboard a train we crossed the mighty Forth Bridge (1.5 miles long! Gulp!) and arrived in Kirkcaldy where we were greeted by Maggie Gray, our Outreach organiser for the day. She whisked us off to the stunning Adam Smith Theatre.

As scary as a mile long bridge can be, a 475-seater theatre can look a LOT scarier. Especially when empty...

...but it looks AWESOME when full!!!  If you love comics raise your haaaaaaaaaaaaands!

A fantastic show was followed by an EPIC signing session.  Below you can see some of the happy pupils with their books, displaying both Lorenzo's sketched pictures and the best collection of daft expressions ever.

Then it was on to the next event where we spoke to two second year classes at a local school.  Schools in Scotland have only just started back, so this was an early year bonus event!

Our work done we returned to Edinburgh for a quick shower and a breather ... and then we were off again! Yep, you can't visit this city without enjoying the sights and sounds. But there are still some rules to obey.

Rule Number 1...

Last year Mimi and I caught a great comedy show so we decided to hunt down something different. Lorenzo had heard a radio interview with beatboxing legend, Tom Thum, and so we purchased three tickets, headed to the inflatable cow venue (better known as the Udderbelly) and had our little minds BLOWN!!!!

If you ever get the chance to catch Tom's solo show, do it.  Do it IMMEDIATELY!  This was one of the most incredible live performances I've ever seen.  It was absolutely brilliant on every level.  The things this man can do with the human voice ... wow...

Buzzing with post show happiness we bounced down to The Dogs (an excellent little restaurant on Hanover Street for those who are taking notes) to meet the world's greatest publicist and our dear friend, Lauren Bennett. This is the lady who really makes the magic happen ... and also ensures that we turn up to events on time!

Unfortunately it was not to be one of our classic late nights on the town (ahem) as we had a VERY early wake up call the next day. At 7:15 we were whisked to the train station, two brothers bound for Falkirk and a rather magical event, as we were visiting a BRAND NEW building, St Bernadettes Primary School.

And a pretty cool school it was!  

Even better than the school and the show, was the discovery that we had been invited to also officially open their school library.  When you work in Children's Books, honours don't come much higher than this.

And here we are, seen struggling with child-proof scissors and a large ribbon. Fools.

We quickly jumped back on the train and headed to the festival for our second presentation.  This was a big one, as part of the RBS Children's programme, and it was SO MUCH FUN.

One of the nicest parts of our work is meeting all the young creators out there.  Seeing the breadth of amazing talent and passion that so many children have for both writing and drawing (especially their own comics) makes it all worthwhile.

But we don't just get to appreciate cartoons.  This boy brought us his very own TWIG.  Now, for anyone who's seen our Lost and Found show, my opinion of TWIGS is well known.  For everyone else ... well ... you'll just have to try and catch us at another festival!

Day Two for the Etherington Brothers had reached an end and it was the turn of my talented wife. In all the ways that Lorenzo and I are blissfully idiotic on stage, Emylia Hall (as she's known in the world of books) was gracefully magnificent!

Oh, and Mimi/Emylia has also been nominated for the Anobii First Book Award - you've got until the 12th October to cast a vote for her debut, The Book of Summers, HERE!

Wonderful stuff ... but then the battery in my camera died!  AGH!
You'll just have to imagine the evening spent in the company of Mimi's agent and publishing team, the plates of tapas, the laughter, the fun. Sigh ... good times.

Finally, after two early starts Saturday began with a leisurely breakfast of, well, pretty much everything the Roxburghe Hotel buffet had to offer. Which was a LOT.

We waddled over to the festival grounds for our final closing performance, a public show that saw us performing to such luminaries as legendary Journalist/Presenter/Radio star/and best selling author, Jeremy Vine. Wow. Um, no pressure then!

Thankfully everything went off without a hitch (Lorenzo was on TOP comedy form) and we even managed to sign a copy of Baggage for Jeremy's daughter!  HaaZaa!  Hope you enjoy the adventure, Martha!

Elated, sated and ready for bed, we bid our farewells to Edinburgh and jumped aboard the seven-hour return train home to Bristol.  As tours go, this was a good one.

Thank you to all the festival staff, event hosts, publicists, publishers, the book shop crew, outreach workers, school teachers, librarians, drivers, parents, authors, comedians, musicians, chefs, publicans, train drivers, hotel staff, wives, brothers and most importantly KIDS who made this trip the greatest.  We can't wait to see you all in 2013.