July 24, 2008

It’s All Tickety Boo for the Tattoo Now

By John Gibson

PRODUCER Major-General Euan Loudon had got back from checking out the fledgling Basel Tattoo just in time to brief the press in the Castle about the programme for the 59th edition of the Edinburgh original.

You could tell he'd been in Switzerland. He was weighed down with cuckoo clocks, bars of Toblerone sticking out of his ears. He doesn't care, just as long as he gets his message across.

And the message is . . . the 25 sell-out performances on the rock between August 1-23 will be crackers.

He couldn't bring the show-stopping Swiss Drummers with him. They were last here in 2006 and while currently they're not on a roll they're already psyching themselves up for the Esplanade next year.

But there'll be breaths of fresh air from Singapore, India and Norway, plenty dancing and marching girls and, of course, enough pipers and drummers to fill a hundred Highland Cathedrals.

"We are a small organisation but with a big voice," claimed the upbeat Loudon, relevant to the untold billions of viewers round the world who'll see the BBC's televised version next month, again masterminded by genial John Smith, whose last gig was filming the RAF's celebration of its 90th birthday.

The hirsute John's assignment with the boys in blue was seriously curtailed by the weather.

A non-participant, he won't have to worry about Beijing's weather. He'll leave that to his colleagues, some 450 of whom will be there, outnumbering Britain's competitors. It's only money.

It's the Territorial Army's turn for the star Tattoo treatment this time, by the way. Rightly so. Where would be without the good old TA? Without them we'd all be doomed.

These press receptions invariably leave us assured that everything will be all right on the night. Loudon's laughing. The money's in the bank. Like his predecessor, Brigadier Mel Jameson, he is good at topping and tailing. Mel in his semi-retirement is growing raspberries in Blairgowrie. I never ever saw him in a jam.

Meant to say . . . Prince Michael's one of the VIPs taking the Tattoo salute. What does he do for a living besides his walk-on part at Wimbledon? Growing strawberries must be his full-time job.

(c) 2008 Evening News; Edinburgh (UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.