City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Confabulation, Pleasance Courtyard, Review

By Jon Cross - Posted on 13 August 2017

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Eamonn Fleming in association with LittleMighty
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Eamonn Fleming

Eamonn Fleming has vivid memories of attending a Motorhead concert at the age of thirteen in 1980. He remembers the crush of the huge crowd, the deafening noise, the smell of beer, sweat and herbal cigarettes. He remembers fighting his way right up to the front to see Lemmy in the flesh for the first time. It was all absolutely amazing! There is just one problem; it never actually happened.

And so begins an exploration of the experience and the science of memory, largely illustrated by an autobiographical account of bullying at school, a nervous first date in a pub and a dinner party of toe-curling social embarrassment.

Eamonn Fleming is a very engaging and amiable performer who quickly establishes an easy rapport with the audience. He tells his story with the infectious enthusiasm of a mate you meet down the pub who has just read this amazing book. Indeed, on several occasions he picks up a book about memory from his trolley and waves it at us, hailing it as a good read.

His talk is also illustrated by a very low-budget slideshow of hand-drawn sketches and charts and by a flipchart held up by an audience member onto which he scribbles diagrams of the inner workings of the brain.

Unfortunately, all of this is leading up to the not-very-earth-shattering conclusion that our memories are very unreliable; much of what we think we remember is actually made up. But we should take this revelation positively; if we are troubled by the recollection of events in our past and uncertain, say, about the order in which things happened, we can choose to “confabulate” – to deliberately make up what is kindest to ourselves.

All of this creates a mildly diverting hour at the Fringe, but it will not stay long in the memory.

Until August 28 (not 16, 23), 13:40, Age 12+,