Saturday 23 September 2017

Edinburgh festival (EIF) 2017 and Hidden Edinburgh

Hidden Edinburgh – and the footsteps I dare to walk upon. Remembered and forgotten too. I wandered there. Edinburgh exists on many levels and its easy to wander down closes or hidden alleyways or behind the castle, and under bridges and walkways.  
Festival. Meetings of people who couldn’t possibly have meet another way – people from all walks of life, nationalities, artistic disciplines and establishment and anti-establishment, and those not ‘official.’

There is the obvious tourist Edina, the castle tours, tartan taff, bagpipes, the military tattoo - yet look further underneath – the cobbled narrow lanes, and there’s an Edina, of the once bustling Mercat cross, of Scotland’s enlightenment, where once great thinkers exchanged ideas – of drinking dens, coffee houses and taverns. 

Once places like the Mercat Cross in the 18th century and the Abbotsford bar, where places for great conversations – with great poets such a Hugh MacDiarmid, Iain Crichton Smith and others.

Conversations charlotte sq rooftops
Edinburgh Fringe festival 2017! - had a Record year with over 3,500 shows
The festival Includes – The Edinburgh Tattoo, Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh International festival, Edinburgh international book festival and the Fringe. With 2 million 700 thousand ticket sales this year and up 9% on last year. Reduced Shakespeare, Vive La Fringe…..More than only Edinburgh, a multi-cultural festival. 

Compared to other international cities, Edina is just the right size for a major cultural celebration of all the arts. Edinburgh’s biggest festival is comedy – but there is also many other highlights of major dance, music, literature and arts events well worth exploring.

Aberdeen Aberpella
Story-telling was the way people learned about the past. EIF takes chances, is constantly moving – and a smorgasbord of difference on the global stage;
St Kilda opera, The James Plays, Grit, by Martyn Bennet, St Giles St Magnus.
‘Conflict is truth speaking to power.’  The Arts thrive on difference. In these strange times of odd ‘isms’. Reflect, produce, project.

**EIF celebrates differences on a global stage. The UK punches above it weight internationally because of Edinburgh festival and I don’t think people realise. One important theme emerges – the importance of meeting places to collaborate and discuss important issues.

*The Mercat Cross
William Creech, who was also a councillor and Baillie, was one of Edinburgh’s leading booksellers and publishers. His shop was at the Mercat Cross at the Luckenbooths, where there was seven timber -fronted tenements perched on the north side of St Giles High Kirk that included the offices of Robert Burn’s publisher, Creech and Allan Ramsay’s bookshop, which in 1728 was one of Scotland’s earliest lending libraries. From Creech’s shop door one could look down the canyon of the high st towers towards the forth and the fields of east Lothian beyond…..

A walk across Edina’s historic cobbled streets will take you past the locations for some of Scotland’s greatest writers, both past and present -  Ian Rankin, Alexander McColl Smith, Kenneth Graeme, J M Barrie, Norman MacCaig, Sorley MacLean, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Irvine Welsh, and of course Walter Scott and Robert Burns (who stayed in Lady Stairs Close on his time in Edina in 1787.

Robert McCrum Edinburgh book festival
 II   Cambridge Footlights, Opera stars, Ian McKellan and Richard Burton in Scotland. Beyond the Fringe. The Oxbridge talent of Dudley Moore, Peter Cooke, the Oxford Revue made fun of our institutions. John Cleese, Michael Palin all learned their comedy at the Fringe. Edinburgh is like a lead character. Maria Callus, Margaret Fonteyn. Edinburgh was opening things up. It began with high art and then the fringe included low art for everyone. Now the Fringe festival is by far the main event in town and the Peoples art took over the main discourse of the nation.