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We walk back to the car in silence. Can you be smugly silent? J can

Jand I are sitting in the car [1] at the traffic lights.

Friday evening. Edinburgh. We have tickets for a show. A show that started four minutes ago. Clearly, we are not going to see it.

There is a silence in the car. The silence is festering. Having spent the last 20 minutes looking for somewhere to park I am now driving past the Meadows. "We could just go home," J says eventually. I look at her, say nothing. She is quiet for a minute and then speaks up again. "I didn't say we couldn't come by train."

"What?"

"I just said I don't like trains. Which is true."

"I know it's true. But when you say 'I don't like trains' I presume you mean 'I'm therefore not going to travel by train'. That's why I am driving around Edinburgh at the tail end of the rush hour looking for somewhere to park even though it is too late now anyway and we have missed the show and the tickets will go to waste."

We slow to a stop for lights. Silence again. A seething silence now. I have not had a good Edinburgh festival, I realise while I stew. I have seen about two shows all told. One comedian telling the story of his life in rhyming couplets [2] and a Polish dancer at Dance Base twerking violently to Sympathy For The Devil [3]. And I only saw those two because I cracked and went off on my own for a day in the middle of our family holiday. Because Daughters Number One and Two have shown as little interest in the world's greatest arts festival as Kim Kardashian does in anonymity.

"We could go to a movie." J says when we finally find somewhere to park off Lothian Road. "No," I say. "We have come to see something at the festival and that is what we are going to do."

An hour later I am wishing I had not been so adamant. We are in a conference room of a hotel converted into a theatre space. And the show we are watching - which I insisted on going to see because I wanted to say I had seen something - is awful. No, that's not right. Awful is too small a word for what we are witnessing.

It is not the cast's fault. They are young and enthusiastic and trying their best. But it is musical theatre. What was I thinking? I hate musical theatre. And this is really bad musical theatre. Even Andrew Lloyd Webber would be embarrassed by this. If I had not been so bull-headed, I think, I could have been in the Filmhouse. I have chosen badly.

The show finishes. We walk back to the car in silence. Can you be smugly quiet? J is proving it is possible.

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Arts and Entertainment

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