Edinburgh in August is a funny place.
You see so many shows in a row that they all start to blur into one another, the coffee-fuelled gaps between them become more and more crucial, and the lines between good culture and bad culture become crossed – was the last show I saw really that bad, or did it just pale in comparison to the day’s earlier offering? It’s easy to develop cultural blindness.
This year, my Edinburgh experience was a completely mixed bag. The Spring Cultural Expansion Grant allowed me to be a bit more experimental with my choices, so I saw some new work by artists I was familiar with, some gigs that I had been waiting for months for, and some shows that I sandwiched between other stuff –buying a ticket in the heat of the moment without even knowing what it was about.
I was in Edinburgh for three days, and saw 14 shows in total. There’s no such thing as high-brow or low-brow after that, it all merges together, and you run from one small cramped space passing as a theatre, to an even smaller, more cramped space passing as a studio. It takes its toll on the emotions, too, because, that’s the real point of culture, after all, to affect us. By the end of the last show, the one you crammed into the morning you leave, you’re ready to say goodbye to Edinburgh.
Once home, you start to remember certain things you loved, and smart, creative work that will stay with you forever. The blindness starts to subside, and you can start to make out distinct shapes. And you’re already planning your trip to next year’s Festival.