In the summer we went to Edinburgh to see a screening of The Killing II, the Danish thriller I was obsessed with all year. They were screening the first episode of series two at the Filmhouse as part of the Television Festival. As a very special bonus Sarah Lund herself was present for a Q & A! Well, Sofie Gråbøl, the actress behind the woolly jumpers.
Season Two Episode One was as thrilling and intriguing as we’d all hoped. Then finally Sofie was introduced and the crowd went mental. I wondered if it would she was be bemused or slightly creeped out that hundreds of British people had turned up to watch a screening of a television programme that had aired in Denmark years earlier?
She was so very, very classy. How do European women do that? You know, look elegantly put-together yet slightly dishevelled like you’ve just had a good tumble? She was wearing slim-legged trousers and one of those big floaty jumpers that would make me look like a lumpen potato but on her was the height of casual sophistication. She answered the audience questions with wit, patience and perfect English. I was consumed by teenage yearning… how cool would it be to be like that? Understated style, wry and witty, sexy and aloof all the same time. I couldn’t get a toe into her jeans, let alone any of the other stuff. Wah wah wah.
Afterwards, we emerged from the theatre and back into reality. Except it was not quite reality, as we were still in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh is a lot different from Dunfermline. I moved to Dunfermline after I got married. Edinburgh and Dunfermline are separated by a bit of water and linked by the Forth Rail Bridge, the Greatest Feat of Victorian Engineering™ (and a nondescript road bridge), but the two towns are worlds apart. Edinburgh has galleries and festivals and cinemas that show films other than ones that require 3D glasses. There are places to eat foods that are not doused in cheese and/or batter.
Dunfermline is located in the region of Fife, which is known as the KINGDOM of Fife because in the ye olde days Dunfermline was the capital city of Scotland. But that’s going back a long way now. The thrones have long been replaced by kebab shoppes.
Fife has been my home for seven years now and I love it. I dig the coast, our village, my friends, my tiny commute, the veggie patch and the secluded woods to wander in. It’s a great life. But every now and then I need a fix of fancy dinner or entertainment so I hop back over the water.
Being in Edinburgh feels like a different world. There’s a Castle, for crying out loud. On this particular summer’s evening the castle was bathed in that weird metalicky post-rain sunlight. We had a bus to catch back to Fife, but I didn’t want to break the Edinburgh spell. We’d been to see The Amazing Sofie, we’d had a drink and I wasn’t wearing tracky dacks.
“Let’s come here more often,” I rambled to Gareth, “And see more movies without 3D glasses? Catch some bands? Or a play. We never go to plays. I mean, look at that castle! Why don’t we just move here? There must be a shoebox for sale…”
I swooned at the Edinburgh sunset as we waited at the bus stop.
And waited and waited.
Then waited some bloody more.
Bus after bus after bus flew by, full to the brim with Fife-bound festival-goers. The drivers would shrug their shoulders helplessly as if to say, Sorry love. Nae room.
And with that, the Edinburgh love affair was over.
With every bus that passed I could feel the futile rage boil in my veins. I wanted to be home. Now! Home in good old Fife with a cup of tea. Why did we leave Fife? Whose ridiculous idea was this? I bet it was Gareth’s idea.
Soon it was dark and I didn’t have a warm jacket, coz I thought we’d have been home ages by then. Stupid Edinburgh.
After approximately seven years and many murderous thoughts, a bus finally stopped.
“We are getting on this bloody bus if it’s the last thing we ever do,” I said to Gareth. “So get your elbows oot!”
“I’ve not many seats left!” warned the driver.
Normally in this country there is a definite queue etiquette but this time everyone just surged violently, like seagulls on a hot chip. Luckily we’d been waiting so long we were right at the front, so we managed to get on. I had to stop myself from screaming “IN YOUR FACE!” to those left on the pavement. A family with about six children made it too, but a quartet of revellers who’d been waiting on the steps of a pub - not actually in the queue let me point out – missed out.
Pub Man was very unhappy.
“I want your name and the name of your supervisor!” he bellowed at the driver, “This is an outrage!”
“I’m sorry sir,” said the driver, “The bus is full and I can’t let anyone else on.”
“But how are we meant to get home? Give me the name of your supervisor!”
“The bus is full!”
“Give me the name of your supervisor!”
The bus driver politely explained the situation again, hit the button to close the doors and started to pull away. But Pub Man was having none of it. He leaped onto the bus and somehow managed to wedge himself in the gap of the semi-closed door as we moved down the street.
“I’m not getting off until you give me the name of your supervisor! How the hell are we supposed to get home!?”
The passengers rumbled with disapproving tut-tuts and “for fook’s sake”s and “have ya no’ heard of the train pal”s. But Gareth and I looked at each other with an uneasy, “that could have been us” expression.
I mean, how close are we all to coming undone? We’re oh so civilised watching Danish thrillers in the cinema and standing politely in queues, but push our buttons a wee bit and we begin to fizz. And there’s nothing quite like that special brand of impotent rage that comes with public transport delays, when it’s really late and you just want to fucking get HOME to your bed. Another half hour and maybe we would have cracked up too?
The driver stopped at the end of the street, opened the door again and Pub Man reluctantly stepped down. He was still ranting as we drove away. I wonder if those poor buggers made it to the train station in time for the last one over the Bridge.