Scott Tucker: 'He showed it was possible to be intellectual and incredibly funny'
- Brian Donaldson
- 23 July 2021
List reader Scott Tucker completes our Q&A series about the joys of Edinburgh's festival season
As the countdown moves towards Edinburgh festival season, our collaboration with the Edinburgh International Festival comes to an end with this final weekly Q&A interview. Today, we present Scott Tucker, the winner of a competition in which we asked readers to send in a particular memory from the Edinburgh festivals. Scott's story involved him being brought up on stage by Adam Hills at the Assembly Rooms in 2004 to recreate a scene from Flashdance, 'with a bottle of Irn-Bru instead of water poured over my prone body'. Scott still has the orange-stained t-shirt. Here, he tells us about other memories of Edinburghs past.
What are your first festival memories of Edinburgh?
I started attending the Edinburgh Fringe in the mid-1990s. I can remember seeing acts such as Mark Thomas, Bill Bailey, Hattie Hayridge, Al Murray, and Lee Evans. My friends and I thought it was really cool that we got to see all these live acts on our doorstep.
What is your all-time favourite memory of Edinburgh during August?
In 1999, I met my (now) wife online. She lived in England at the time, but was born in Edinburgh and her mum's side of the family were mostly in the city. We had a long-distance relationship, but she came up to visit for the festival that year with her mum: that year was really special for me. We shared our love of live comedy and Edinburgh whilst getting to know each other properly.
Can you name one person you met in Edinburgh during festival-time who truly inspired you?
I've been lucky to meet and interact with a number of performers over the years, but I think the one who made the biggest impression on me was Mark Thomas. He showed how it was possible to be intellectual and political whilst still being incredibly funny. Having read his book As Used On The Famous Nelson Mandela, it made me aware of issues which I had previously only had a minor understanding or knowledge of.
If you could curate your own festival line-up for a day, who would you include? Anyone can be on there, dead or alive.
There are so many great performers and artists that I love, both alive and dead, that I suspect I could potentially curate a week-long line‑up! It would be interesting to hear from graffiti artists Shepard Fairey and Keith Haring about their influences and creative processes. Novelist Ian Fleming presents such an intriguing persona, that I'd want to hear any stories and anecdotes from his formative years and how they influenced the creation of his James Bond character.
Bill Hicks and Richard Pryor would both be amazing to see live and in-person, having enjoyed a lot of their audio and video recording over the years, as well as knowing how they were a huge influence on a lot of performers. It would be awe-inspiring to see musician and songwriter Nick Drake playing his beautiful compositions live, especially since there were very few times he did so during his short lifetime.
What would you change to improve Edinburgh during August?
The prices! When I first started attending the Fringe, I could potentially see six or seven shows a day, as ticket prices tended to be quite low. But nowadays it's become so expensive. Oh, and the weather: nothing beats sitting around soaking-up the festival atmosphere in the sunshine!
How does Edinburgh compare to other arts festivals across the world?
Unfortunately I've not had the pleasure of visiting other arts festivals across the world: perhaps Edinburgh has spoiled me? I think the wealth of hospitality and friendliness from most of the Edinburgh locals, as well as some of the quirky venues, makes for such a unique experience for both first‑time and return attendees.
Part of The List's My Perfect Festival series, created in collaboration with the Edinburgh International Festival. Read more about other people's festival experiences here.