Well it’s well and truly over now — time to reflect on the wonder that was the Edinburgh Fringe Festiva. How sad that it had to end! I will forever imagine Edinburgh as a city overflowing with creative people, despite the fact that a whole lot of them will have packed up and left the same time I did. Although, this is only a conjecture. Maybe the locals really are like that all the time: fun, energetic, unique and without restraint. It’s a nice thought. At any rate, the “carnies” have gone home and the excitement has ended, but the memory remains in thousands of hearts. I’m happy to have joined the ride.
Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival is the mother of all other Fringes, and it certainly has a style all its own. When there’s a thousand-year-old castle looming down on you from the centre of the city, jutting out from jagged cliff faces and crashing headlong into 100s of years worth of architecture, how can you not be awestruck and exhilarated? “It’s like London, but without the assholes,” explained a street performer at his impromptu concert. Edinburgh has this wonderful feeling of the very old and the very new, living and breathing as one. After one week, I was ready to move in. I wonder what it’s like with no rude street performers, design fairs and nights watching improv inside a giant purple blow-up cow.
When the Festival is over, does the place sigh with relief or is it like when Christmas is finished? I’d like to think the city misses me, but I remember that scene in Trainspotting (1996). “First day of the Edinburgh Festival,” Begby beats the shit out of an obvious American tourist. They probably despise me and my ilk. After all, I didn’t even bother to put on a show. How inconsiderate of me.
The Festival was simply a blast, and everyone on the planet should make the trip sometime. Aside from the endless barrage of shows (some great and some you could miss), I enjoyed just hanging out. At night, the castle is lit up from the bottom with greenish floodlights, and the whole massive structure seems to float eerily above everything else in sight. During the day, I had my pick of Indian, Nepalese, Mexican, Thai or regular old pub food, plus a dozen venues within walking distance that offered live music. I know this is something any city can offer, but it was awesome nevertheless. Best of all, the locals were friendly as they could be, especially considering the massive inconvenience we were to them all. I left heartily grateful for the food, the booze, the entertainment and the very efficient bus service.
Thanks a lot, Edinburgh! I’ll be back to ruffle your feathers again next year.
Reference: Boyle, D. (Director) (1996). Trainspotting [motion picture]. Walt Disney Video.