I went to the Tattoo last week, for the first time ever. I had a friend visiting from England and it was her idea, otherwise I suppose I still might not have managed it. I’m glad I did.
What took me so long? Well I guess it may have been my innate suspicion of military triumphalism, or my distaste for any view of Scotland which makes us look like we all live on haggis and shortbread. There was no sign of the former in the Tattoo offering, and not too much of the latter if you don’t count the lone piper on the castle battlements. That’s more of an iconic statement, I would say.
There were motor-bike-racing six year olds doing a human pyramid; samba dancers from Mexico; and most strikingly, a female marching band from New Zealand. This is parade drill like you’ve never seen it, with mini-kilts and high kicks, rows and columns marching through each other, forwards and backwards, and never a step out of line. Very enjoyable. A choir from Stewarts Melville School did a choral accompaniment, and when it came to ‘I vow to thee, my country,’ I just cried. I always do. Pity they missed the second verse which is even better (‘And there’s another country…’)
One thing we could have done without though – an allegedly Scottish trait though I wouldn’t dream of suggesting it – the tight-fistedness of the Edinburgh authorities when it comes to parking charges. Three hours in Castle Terrace car park on a weekday evening? That’ll be TWELVE POUNDS Madam. Shocking.