Sets and Dragon, Rock and 'Roll
Two weeks ago yesterday I took part in a Tai Chi demonstration in Princes Street Gardens to try to attract people to come along and give it a go. (It's good fun, excellent for fitness and health, and sufficiently exotic to appeal to people for whom yoga is so last century. We did a couple of sets, which look pretty weird when you watch from outside with no idea of what's going on, but whose 106 (I think) moves actually form themselves into little repeated groups so it's not too difficult to rmember what comes next, especially when you're surrounded by people who've been doing it for decades.
We didn't just do Tai Chi, though, oh dear me no. We ran our dragon. You know, the one I described back here. When it came down to it, I didn't actually spend any time inside the dragon (as before, we were only using half of it as we didn't have enough experienced folk to run the whole thing). I spent a lot of time helping to load it into the van out at the Taoist Tai Chi Centre, unloading it in Princes St Gardens, and doing the same in reverse at the end of the day. In between times, I was employed as the main beater of the drum that hets the dragon to move and stop in some kind of order. and I enjoyed it immensely. Playing the drum out of doors presents interesting challenges, such as trying to keep the pearl (the lady with a kind of gigantic baby's rattle who leads the dragon about) in view, trying to keep playing smoothly when one's drum is being towed around on a rope, and dealing with inquisitive small children who all want to have a go (and were allowed to do so when the dragon was resting).
You can see more pictures and a report here. I'm just left of centre in the very first picture, and can be spotted in a few of the others showing the set demonstrations. I am the drummer on the video clip, though I have to say it wasn't recorded in one of my better bits: I'd give myself about 4/10 for that extract. I was better most of the time.... Anyway, good fun, we aroused plenty of interest, and we definitely added to the festival atmosphere.
Next time we awaken the dragon (he's called Hamish, by the way) from his slumbers, I hope to be there with my drum to give him a heartbeat.