Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Viva La Festival

Despite only being back from my summer holiday a matter of days, today was a much welcome break from work. Oh joyous trumpets cease while I explain. We are in the middle of the school holidays just now, and Laura shares her time between her Gran and the Summer Club. The other days are spent with me because, as any parent out there knows, the cost of raising a child during the holidays increases for various reasons. And so for the next two days, I am playing babysitter.

Not one to hang about then, and as it was a decent day weather-wise, we went to meet Gail (the wife) for lunch in the town centre. This was a terrible error of judgement on my part, as I shall explain. Obviously the 'lunch with Gail' bit was lovely. Obviously. It was the 'centre of Edinburgh' bit that I should have had alarm bells ringing in my head. If you look to the top of this page it should say somewhere the word 'August', and when you introduce this word to the name 'Edinburgh', you get a cocktail of potential trouble. For August is the time when this town changes. Street performers sprout from the orifices of every building; bagpipers torture their pets on every corner; tourists swarm the streets clad in every model ever to be spawned by the Sony Corporation; city workers pop out for a sandwich and a coke and wish they had brought cheese and pickle rolls to work instead; and they all come together in a massive, crawling, organic throng of human life. If you stand at the top of Calton Hill in July, look westward and watch closely, you can actually see Princes Street take on the form of a chameleon, filtering into a different being altogether.

This of course is all very well, but it makes it a tad difficult to navigate from one end of town to the other. Where on a normal day you can walk the length of this famous street in twenty minutes, try doing it on a bus in August when the Edinburgh Festival is about to start and it can take upwards of and hour. As I found out.

I should say though, that The Edinburgh Festival, or rather it's sister The Fringe, is really a wonderful thing to fall on Edinburgh whenever it comes around. It is one of the better things to happen in this country on an annual basis, and apart from the revenue it creates through tourism, it is a fantastic source in inspiration for writing. You can go to any corner of the city clad only with your notebook and pen (clothes too obviously, unless you are appearing in 'Puppetry of the Penis' or something equally as obscure), and you are guaranteed something of value that can be incorporated into any form of writing. From that point of view - yes it's worth it. From the public transport angle - not so good.

Later, I continued in the organisational vein that accompanied yesterdays leap into Blogdom, and purchased some new notebooks and folders on the way home. Laura went out to play, and so I made about giving my desk a belated spring clean. I swept all the clutter away and took a cloth to the coffee stains and cigarette ash (cliché alert), threw out anything that was of no use and started on the pile of papers and magazines that had previously been living on the wooden top for so long. As I worked through the pile, I came across some old jottings and newspaper cut-outs I had made a while back. I've got folders for all this stuff but there are a few ideas for short stories that I am going to develop over the next few days, and maybe just possibly a full length novel, so it was definitely a worthwhile exercise.

And now.... on with the writing!
Colin 8:32 pm


You're making me homesick for the days I spent with my shows at the Fringe! :)

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