I once heard a comedian (it may have been Ed Byrne) talk about how amongst comedians, the month of August is simply known as ‘Edinburgh.’ ‘What are you doing for Edinburgh?’ ‘Oh, I’ll be spending it in Florida.’ Here in Edinburgh, August often just gets called ‘the festival.’ Locals discuss their festival plans, whether or not they involve any actual time at festivals. If you’re in Edinburgh during August, the festivals will be impacting your life whether you attend them or not. They are inescapable.
This year most of my planning for August has involved preparing for a large art exhibition I’ll be putting on. (If you’ll be in town, please come see it!) It has been good to have something to work towards, a way to focus my energy in this post-Scott reality where I am still finding my feet. I’m kind of impressed with myself that I’m doing anything productive at all these days.
Purrcules was as excited about the arrival of the Book Festival programme as I was!
My favorite of all the August festivals is the Book Festival. I haven’t gotten around to acquiring any tickets yet, but I have scoured the programme and used it as inspiration for my summer reading choices. The big names (Zadie Smith, Paul Auster, Ali Smith, Alexander McCall Smith) will have sold out on the first day. (One of the things I love about Edinburgh is the around-the-block queue which forms in the wee hours on the morning the Book Festival tickets go on sale.)
I’ve spent four Augusts in Edinburgh so far. Scott was receiving chemotherapy during two of them, but even those years we managed to see a couple Fringe shows together. I will miss him most during the nightly fireworks at the end of the Tattoo, which we could see from our kitchen window. Whatever we were doing when the first booms sounded, Scott would insist we run to the window and watch them, every night of the festival.
I have kind of fallen in love with the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year. In addition to hosting lots of interesting book-themed events, it’s a charming place to hang out, to meet friends for a drink. Browsing the onsite bookstore Continue reading
This year I am diving head-first into the Edinburgh International Book Festival, just one of the many festivals going on in the city this month. Conveniently self-contained on Charlotte Square in New Town, the Book Festival grounds consist of several theaters, a big book shop, a couple of bars and cafes, and lots of lovely outdoor seating (some of it covered, perfect on a drizzly day). Continue reading
At the Hot Dub Time Machine stage
Edinburgh turns its city center into one gigantic party for New Year’s Eve, a day known in Scots as Hogmanay (pretty much tied with the German Silvester for most adorable thing to call New Year’s Eve). Continue reading
After a very expat Christmas in the US, we came back to Edinburgh to experience the glory that is Hogmanay for the first time. Continue reading
I was so looking forward to the arrival of the Fringe programs this year, I even marked it in my calendar. Yes, all of the shows (over 3,000 of them) are listed on the website, too, but for browsing purposes the paper catalog is much more fun. Continue reading
Edinburgh is a frenzy of activity during August. One of the biggest draws during this time is the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a daily performance held inside a temporary stadium that is erected in front of the castle each summer. Military bands from around the world are invited to perform, and the whole thing ends up being a lot more interesting than the words “military bands” might lead you to expect. Continue reading
So much to see, so little time. The Fringe is exhausting us with its entertainment possibilities. What will life be like when there aren’t hundreds of live shows to choose from each day? Here’s what we’ve seen in the past week:
Tig Notaro ***** Tig was probably the performer we were looking forward to the most, and she did not disappoint. Tears of laughter.
Janeane Garofalo **** Somehow I managed to not even notice her on the Fringe schedule until last week, but luckily tickets were still available. Well worth it.
Rich Hall **** Until recently, the name Rich Hall reminded me only of Sniglets. Continue reading
Have we mentioned how much we’re enjoying our first Fringe? I already predict some serious festival withdrawal at the beginning of September. Here’s what we’ve seen in the past week:
Zoe Lyons **** An entertaining, well-polished show about nothing in particular. She had the audience laughing in the first minute and kept the pace up for the entire show. (Scott gives her a full five stars.)
Bridget Christie – A Bic for Her **** Made me laugh and despair at the evils of the world all at the same time. Continue reading
Heading into our fifth (and final) Oktoberfest as locals, I’m starting to feel like quite the reluctant expert. Although I’ve had tons of fun at the festival each year, I’ve also had a couple of panic attacks (and more than a couple near-panic-attacks) at the wiesn. I absolutely hate crowds. With more than 7 million people attending Oktoberfest each year, it can be kind of tricky to avoid them. Over time I’ve learned how avoid the parts I hate, and enjoy the parts I like. Continue reading