Tattoo anyone?

By Paul Bryers, 2014

I’ll show you mine if you show me your’s – not a chance.

However, I will introduce you to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The Tattoo is an annual series of Military Tattoos performed by British, Commonwealth and other International military bands and display teams on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle in the Scottish capital. The music from the mass bands (primarily bagpipes and drums) will send shivers (good ones) down your spine, and make you feel proud to be Scottish, even if you are not born of this land – this was the moment Chris said “Maybe I would vote for Independence, if I could vote!” And he’s English! Then you have the dancers – Scottish, Maori, African – again, en masse, so it is a wonderful sight to behold. And the light show on the Castle walls is brilliant – sorry Magic Kingdom, but we are talking about a real castle and the light projections are better than Walt has to offer.

This event takes place each year throughout August on Monday through Saturday nights, is sold out well in advance, and is never cancelled. Prices vary from $40 to $600; the higher priced tickets include an excellent pre-Tattoo Scottish dinner, with a wee dram and wine. Dining is located within the secured Castle perimeter and you get escorted to your seats just before the event commences – believe me, it is well worth the extra bob or two!

The Tattoo occurs at the same time as the Edinburgh International Festival, which is the biggest coming together of the Arts anywhere in the World. The Festival consists of formal lah-de-dah operas, concerts and plays, but far more interesting and varied is the Fringe Festival, which consists of, literally, hundreds of musicals, plays, displays, bands, mimes, stand-ups, etc. Many now famous artists were discovered at the Fringe, and many of them still come back each year to perform and enjoy the many shows on offer. Chris’ cousin put on a one-man play this year about a drug addict dealing with the death of Princess Diana – intense. My favorite was Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho, a drag comedy musical extravaganza – hysterical. All the venues are small and you can take in your pint. Prices range from around $0 to $30.

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