Our nation’s capital gets a lot of attention. It deserves it, it’s great. But August Edinburgh is mince. It’s hot, full of people and usually a lot of those people are brandishing leaflets or otherwise getting in the fuckin’ road. The only redeeming feature is the Book Festival. This year the EIBF programmers have done wonders and timetabled the authors I want to see at times I can go to see them. So far, I’ve been to see a mixture of authors I admire (Liz Lochhead, Hadley Freeman), one I just love (Stuart MacBride) and one event I went to see purely for the entertainment value (a discussion of the state of the Labour Party – that was one that needed popcorn). I’ve spent a few quid in the bookshop and my August Edinburgh experience, which is normally hell on wheels, has been quite benign. It’s helped I have a good knowledge of Edinburgh geography so know how to dodge most of the crowds plus I’ve spent more time in other places outside the capital that I also quite like.
Walking back to Waverley tonight, I was reminded, not for the first time, of the way the right light enhances and enriches the city. In September, I traditionally have at least one Edinburgh day, just to touch base with the capital after all the madness has been swept away. This year’s hit list has been expanding with every chance glance – Leith, the National Gallery, the National Library, Charlotte Square sans all the lovely books and bookish people. My thing this year has been looking up and I was at a crossing earlier just looking at the sphinxes and fixtures on the roof of the RSA. Even getting the snazzy corpy bus to Dunbar was on Waterloo Place by the pillars where you can look down to Calton Road and Leith Street. There’s a lot to do first – it will have to wait until mid-September after I have done my exam, impressed a few folk and just breathed through the rest – but it’s something to look forward to. August Edinburgh is always a reminder that September Edinburgh is just around the corner and that’s never bad.