After promising to be restrainted, I have no restraint.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

“We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.” (Charles Mackay – Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds)

I write you from the eye of the storm. It’s festival season again in Edinburgh. If you’ve never been here in August it’s hard to describe. Our city is transformed into a palace of wonder and delight. Every pub is simultaneously an art gallery / comedy venue / popup flophouse. Kitchen cupboards are rented as theatres. For one month streetfood doesn’t mean 2 seagulls fighting over a chip. Comedy stars flock to Edinburgh like competitive sheep shearers to the Golden Shears. A garden square in the heart of the New Town magically turns into a world-class book festival. We illuminate the city, and everyone thinks it’s totally reasonable to go see Jane Austen improv in a giant upside down inflatable cow-shaped theatre.

Locals are marked out by their scowls, tutting, and general frustration with not being able to walk anywhere in the city at speed. Don’t talk about flyers.

Every year it seems too overwhelming. Every year I promise myself some restraint. Not to overcommit. It’s going well this year. If by “well” you mean totally bat-shit-crazy like a cat in a field of nip.

Kicked off with Rachel Hosker at the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas. Topping up tonight with Nicola Osborne, also at #CODI.

TomorrowJulia Hobsbawn at Book Festival, Zinnie Harris’ Rhinoceros at the Lyceum. Pop in and see Mrs Asquith-Lamb and her giant pop up book. Maybe catch Andrew O’Neill instead of eating dinner.

Sunday – day of rest. Teju Cole at Book Festival, followed by Rachel McCrum and Miriam Nash.

I can’t even find the energy to type what’s happening in the following 2 weeks.

Oops.

(Edinburgh - taken by me. No rights reserved.)

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