Simian Substitute Site For August 2014: Grease Monkey Cycles
Spank's Edinburgh Diary, Saturday 09/08/2014

Edinburgh Festival 2014

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.

At the time of writing, it's just two days short of twenty-five years since my first ever visit to the Edinburgh Festival. I've been taking the occasional year off since then, but that's still a large portion of my life dedicated to the greatest chuffing arts festival in the world, and I've written about it extensively on the internet and in print. So, once again, I've gathered together a bunch of Spank's Pals - Anne, The Belated Birthday Girl, Charmian, Diane, Eve, Kate, Lesley, Llyris, Nick, Pam, Rhian, SeaPea, Stephen and Teresa - and we're going to spend a week running between events at the International Festival, the Fringe and the Book Festival so that we can tell you all about them.

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.


old lag

Hi Spank,

Hope you are having a really fab time in Edinburgh. Your week is nearly over so hope it finishes with a bang !

Apparently you collect Brew Dogs. One has just opened on my manor. You and The BBG are most welcome to come over and visit it. we could eat if you want in the banana leaf or maybe the dog itself.

best wishes

old lag

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