curiosity about the ways of the world

Preparing for The FEAST

I am just wondering how to write about last night’s event when I discover Rob has beaten me to it. He must have been up a lot earlier than me today because he has already posted pictures and words about a sampling session at Out of the Blue in the Old Drill Hall capturing the quirky creativity of the night.

I am burdened with detail because I am involved in organising the event. Trying to stuff words into a nutshell, The FEAST hopes to encourage greater understanding between Chinese and Scottish communities through food – Dim Sum to be precise – and music inspired by the sounds of cooking.

The idea comes from Kimho, a musician, who believes food is the best way of bringing people together. He also likes to fuse sounds and inspirations of old and new music from all over the world. So that’s how he comes to be playing his Yang-chin alongside the electronic experimental pop of the artist/musicians FOUND while Alan the drummer and film-maker glides about on a skateboard capturing images of Eric the chef cooking up Dim Sum in front of a hungry audience in the Old Drill Hall off Leith walk.

All this raw material will be turned into a live performance of The FEAST (food, film and music) at The Eating Place food market in Castle Street on Thursday August 30.

I think it’s quite a lot to take in (which says a lot for our sponsors!). Rob focuses mainly on the music and mentions the food in passing. But I am struck most of all by the comment he makes on the value of blogging in documenting the event as it grows instead of writing a lengthy essay for the sake of sponsors at the end of the project. I agree, I think a blog can be a more natural way of communicating to the wider world and if you get it right sharpens the name of the sponsor without any grovelling.

At least that’s what I am hoping we can offer with our blog on The FEAST wesbite which we will soon create, not just to list the sponsors but – since understanding is the aim – to document what everyone involved is learning from each other: Scottish farmers and Chinese chefs, Scottish businesses and public bodies, Chinese shop keepers and artists and musicians from both communities. Making links between people is part of the plan. Which is why I spent some time last night scattering flyers for the Eating Place at Out of the Blue and picked up Out of the Blue postcards for the food market. (I think the best things about Edinburgh need to get in touch with one another).

If possible we will document difficulties as well as triumphs. So here’s one for starters. I must admit last night’s show was so unpredictable that at first I was a little relieved that none of the big boys had been able to come to the filming session. Watching Eric chopping meat and kneading dough I realised what a lot we were asking of a young chef who is not used to cooking under a spotlight. But he did it beautifully. Then I began to worry about the number of people who had come; how were they all going to get a promised sample of Eric’s cooking? No problem there either! The quietly efficient Mrs Szeto and helpers suddenly appeared with baskets of Dim-Sum-made-earlier as people lined up for their share while Kimho and FOUND began to make music.

Somehow it all came together. So no grovelling but thanks to the sponsors who have started this creative journey: Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothians, Saigon Saigon Restaurant, Edinburgh City Centre Management Company and in particular Tristan from ECCM who gets up very early in the morning to help organise the Edinburgh Farmers Market and (not quite so early) The Eating Place in Castle Terrace and has put us in touch with Scottish producers and growers contributing to the FEAST. I hope we will be meeting them all in our FEAST blog when it is made.


  1. MK

    Hi Fay –
    I haven’t got round to blogging it just yet (but was thinking I would, or perhaps wait till the event on the 30th and talk about the whole thing and how it had progressed/evolved) but I did post some photos on Flickr:

  2. Administrator

    Excellent idea! Much better than those fiddly (and mostly meaningless) evaluation forms.

  3. Robert

    I think blogs are especially interesting in such projects such as FEAST, where the ‘product’ (such as it is) is the response and dialogue that is created as the project unfolds, rather than a finished statement or piece of artwork, say. I imagine that, in the past, such intangible products were quite difficult to pin down. Blogs can act as a scribe as well as a forum for this discussion.

    Furthermore, with the advent of YouTube and other video hosting sites, we can post snippets from the events and the ad hoc discussions they inspire.

    Perhaps it would be worth setting up a couple of laptops at the FEAST event, with the browser page set to a specific ‘open thread’ on the FEAST blog. Punters can swing by, and type a comment or initial response to what you have organised. This would of course require an internet connection… and that people wipe the sticky dim sum off their hands before they begin typing.

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