The end of June means the Summer Solstice. Usually, every year, this would be the time when the Edinburgh Fringe Guide arrives in the post. For those who don’t know, I lead an alter-ego life during August. Edinburgh is home to the largest arts festival in the world – the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. These, combined with Edinburgh Book Festival, mean that my city is overrun by tourists and art-lovers from all over the world.
During this time, I review theatre and events for The Wee Review. I do this all year round, but August takes up a big chunk. I watch stuff in the evenings, stay up late into the light nights writing these up. I use my lunch breaks at work to do some editing and submissions. I have had the fortune of meeting some famous people (Aditi, Vir) though this as well.
So normally, at this time of the year, I pore over the old-fashioned guides. I fill out the forms for the Press and the Journalist passes. I highlight all the programmes I really want to see, and those that I will try and fit into my schedule. I also mark out shows that I do not want to review, but just watch. My friends and I plan the shows we will watch together, and those that I will watch alone. Often, after shows, my friends and I will hang out in the food gardens, and the pop-up bars. We would run from one show to another, along alleyways and up old town slopes. Alongside the day job, I will watch as many as 50 events during 3 weeks in August. On the final evening, S & I have friends round at the flat for drinks and we watch the fireworks from our living room. It is one of the highlights of my year.
This year, of course, all festivals have been cancelled. It isn’t safe. The Book Festival is going online, which is some news I guess. But it won’t be the same of course. So this year, I will just attempt to watch the shows online. Of all the things Covid has destroyed, this has been my biggest personal loss. And I am very sad about this, so I just wanted to share that.
Hanging out with friends, 2019
Ticket stubs & notes, 2015
Aditi & I, 2017