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Monday, 13 August, 2001, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Where have all the stars gone?
Rene Russo and Pierce Brosnan attending the Film Festival in 1999
Ah, the days when stars attended the festival
BBC News Online's Olive Clancy bemoans the lack of star presence in her first Edinburgh diary.

They can not quite make up their minds at this year's Edinburgh Festival.

Celebrities or no celebrities - that is the question.

The Scotsman on Sunday declared that "star backers" are the latest fad in the fight for audiences.

Luminaries such as Paul McCartney and JK Rowling have endorsed particular shows this year.

Sir Paul's comments on a show entitled The Live! Girl! Sketch Show! have been intriguing those who bother to read the poster, while JK Rowling says "I hope people rush to see Poesia" - Poesia being a series of readings about low-life in 18th Century London.

Geri Halliwell may be interested in the yoga aspect of the show
Geri Halliwell is rumoured to be attending The Spice Trail
Ever the pragmatist, Lord Archer even funded a production of Ben Elton's Popcorn and looks set to make a profit.

Meanwhile Geri Halliwell is said to be so "interested" by a show called The Spice Trail, a promenade performance which features a troupe of Sikh drummers in kilts and a one-time Indian national yoga champion, that she is expected to attend the show.

Meanwhile Monday's Scotsman wails "Where have all the stars gone"?, bemoaning the sad lack of stars at the opening of the Film Festival.

Once upon a time the Festival welcomed stars like Cate Blanchett and Ewan McGregor. Edinburgers fondly recall how they captured the premiere of The Thomas Crown Affair as well as the presence of Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo.

Sadly those days have gone and all the opening film - Amelie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the director of the acclaimed Delicatessen - could muster was Mel from last year's Big Brother and Belle and Sebastian. In short, the cast-list for opening night "could hardly be described as A-list".

Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman: Sleek straight locks would be ruined by the drizzle, dear
Only Sean Penn along with actress wife Robin Wright-Penn, could be said to salvage the hopes of the star-seekers.

Considering that Penn has already been seen at a host of other festivals plugging The Pledge, his self-directed but poorly reviewed thriller starring Jack Nicholson, his presence is not so highly rated.

So the stars are interested enough to endorse shows at the Festival, but not enough to come.

But why?

Some say that Edinburgh does not cut it on the international scene, but surely that cannot be when this is, after all, the world's largest arts festival.

Others opine that Edinburgh is no longer cutting edge, but I cannot agree given the headlines and kudos the shows still generate.

I have just one word to say to all the absence-of-celebrity theorists. Frizz.

Look du jour

It cannot have escaped you that straight hair is the look du jour.

Madonna does it, Jennifer does it, Geri does it and even the curly-haired Nicole does it.

But if there is one thing that Edinburgh does not do, it is straight hair - only my complete dedication to journalistic endeavour for BBC News Online keeps me on the streets myself.

So a word of warning for Geri if she is going to make it to The Spice Trail.

Promenade means outside and outside means damp and you know what that means.

Its enough to make your average celebrity's hair stand on end.

Links to more Arts stories are at the foot of the page.


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