Secret Edinburgh: Brothels and Bagels with Howard Read
Tim Clark6 August 2011
"One of my favorite places is Elephant and Bagels just off Nicolson Street.
The first two times I performed at the Fringe our flat was opposite what we were pretty sure was a brothel, and a couple of doors down from Elephant And Bagel. I chose the bagels. To eat that is. The Fringe can be a lonely place when you’re far away from the one you love for a month, but it’s a sad day when you resort to a brothel or a bagel.
I read on their website that it’s sister café The Elephant House on George IV Bridge is frequented by Iain Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and where J K Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter novel. But who needs to be flanked by hugely successful authors tapping away and sucking their pencils, when you can have bagels.
The bagels were great (although having written the joke in the first paragraph I could face a crème cheese and salmon one), but what I really liked was the art. When I first went there were loads of painting of elephants by a musician and artist called John Hunt (www.johnhunt.org).
I loved them, they were colourful, cartoony and weird and they really appealed to the budding animator in me.
Every time I’ve won an award in Edinburgh I’ve used the prize money to buy one of John Hunt’s paintings. I’ve got a red elephant (named Susan, by the artist – 2001 New Comedy Award For Animation) and a Crocodile (called Agatha – 2003 Perrier Award Nomination).
When he was born I decorated my son’s bedroom with them. Sadly when he reached four he confided in me that their googly eye scared him, so now they’re under our bed (sorry John).
I’d love to go back this year but since I first went I’ve developed quite a bad wheat intolerance. So unless they’ve got a range of gluten-free bagels, the whole place will now be POISON TO ME!"
Howard Read is appearing in Little Howard's Big Show at the Assembly Rooms in George Square at 4:40pm. Grab a bagel and check it out.
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