Assuming that it hasn't been taken down by The Man in the interim, that's a lovely video over there on the left, isn't it? Over a period of nine months, animator Steven Jefferies has created a CGI version of the city of Edinburgh, in the style of the Game Of Thrones opening titles. It's a truly beautiful thing to behold, and it's hard to see how anyone could object to it...
"So where's the Pleasance, then?"
"The Royal Mile's totally unrealistic, I can't see anyone on there with fliers."
"I thought they were supposed to have trams by now?"
...but the sort of people who could object to it are probably in the process of visiting the city right now for the 2014 Edinburgh Festival. And, inevitably, so are we.
Leaving aside the early years when I went up on my own, and the once-every-three-year gaps when the Pals go up without me, this makes 2014 the twelfth Festival requiring an introduction page from me, telling you who this year's personnel are (see above) and desperately scrabbling for a new, topical angle. Well, we've certainly got one of those this year. In 2013, the referendum on Scottish independence only got a couple of passing mentions during the Festival - a hamfisted allegorical play called I'm With The Band, and a brief kerfuffle when polling guru Nate Silver predicted a No result thirteen months before the poll itself. This year? Well, we'll see. I suspect, though, that any coverage of the topic in the Festival will be largely preaching to the converted. It may be in the media's best interests to whip up a narrative out of the voters who are as yet undecided, but every Scottish person I know has already picked a side, and has been resolutely sticking to it for months now. (Apart from comedian Bruce Fummey, who's cunningly doing shows for both sides.)
I'm taking next year off, as part of my usual rotation: when I come back in 2016, the Edinburgh Festival could be happening in an entirely different country. We'd better make the most of this one while we're here, then. Watch this space.
- Saturday August 9th - "It became the new normal very quickly" (Jonathan Holt)
- Sunday August 10th - “Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Give two men a fish: FIGHT! FIGHT!” (Andrew O'Neill)
- Monday August 11th - "In Japanese we call this a kimono. In English we call it a kimono." (Katsura Sunshine)
- Tuesday August 12th -"You never get the wars you want to watch as a neutral" (Andy Zaltzman)
- Wednesday August 13th - “I used to be my own worst critic, but that was before the internet” (Alun Cochrane)
- Thursday August 14th - “...like snowflakes made out of gammon” (Bridget Christie)
- Friday August 15th -"This is our Ascot" (Mark Thomas)
- Saturday August 16th - “Our show starts with a happy ending” (Baba Brinkman)
- Spank's Pals Postscript (part 1) - some final thoughts from the rest of the gang (notably Nick, Rhian and Charmian)
- Spank's Pals Postscript (part 2) - more top picks from the Pals, featuring Stephen, SeaPea, Llyris and The Belated Birthday Girl