Kayt Turner: 'It's the inescapable truth that these people are on holiday and I'm not that infuriates me'
THERE'S only one question on anyone's lips at this time of year. And it's not "Did you feel as queasy as I did watching Lewis snog Deirdre?" Nope, all anyone ever asks is "Done much on the Festival this year?"
Everywhere you go, everyone you bump into, everyone you talk to on the phone – it's always the same. Forget the usual banalities about weather or holidays. For four solid weeks, it's Festival, Festival, Festival.
For those unfamiliar with our premier arts festival, this is the time of year when Our Nation's Capital is rammed to the gunnels with arty-farty types. Every scout hut, church hall and pub basement within a 20-mile radius is pressed into service hosting experimental Estonian theatre or the lower sixth's groundbreaking and thought-provoking production of Reservoir Dogs told through the medium of dance.
One particularly artistic youth was overheard trilling to his compatriots that he had brought his production to Edinburgh in a box – only to be growled at by a native of the city that he'd "better be careful he didnae go home in wan".
It's the perceived wisdom that those of us who live in Edinburgh the whole year round absolutely detest the Festival. And, yes, the streets are clogged with everything from Mexican mime artists to Peruvian puppet theatre. But if you know what you're doing, you can usually avoid the worst of it. All the street performers are generally corralled into areas at the High Street and The Mound.
What's far more annoying are those pesky bloody "statues" that hang about outside Marks and seem to think that just because it's the Festival they have carte blanche to startle the life out of you as you blithely go about your everyday business.
No-one needs to have some silver-suited simpleton lunge out at them when they're just trying to buy their free range egg and watercress sandwiches for lunch. Well, not unless said simpleton wants a slap.
That's if you can get anywhere at all. Not only do you have to weave in and out of hundreds of kids handing out leaflet after leaflet – all for the "Greatest Show On The Fringe" – you also have to dodge those aimless wanderers who feel the need to walk three or four abreast and then all stop dead without warning, causing you to career into the back of them.
Let's face it: it's less the pace of the tourists and more the inescapable truth that all these people are on holiday – and I'm not – that infuriates me. I don't necessarily want to be reminded that if I weren't at work, I too could be wandering (and stopping) to my heart's content. I would cheerfully be collecting leaflets and happily watching some kerbside karaoke.
But bitching and moaning aside, there is one salient point that does much to improve Edinburgh during the Festival. It's not the popular and expensive comedians. It's not the internationally respected dance troupes and opera companies. It's not even the Lady Boys of Bangkok. Nope, the simple fact that, for most of August, bars get a late Festival licence allowing them to open until three or four in the morning is almost worth putting up with every last firebreather and juggler.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 15 C
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