Tag Archives: Edinburgh International Book Festival

Festival Frenzy

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As a recent graduate with a sudden abundance of free time20140802_142307 (well, compared to the nonexistent free time before), I went a into a wee festival frenzy this August.­­ Some of the favourites at the Fringe and International Festival I got to experience left a lingering dream-like state, some shook me to the core and some I could’ve stayed enjoying over and over agaDSCN5074in.

The Military Tattoo was something I probably would not have personally gone to see, but I knew it was on my mother’s bucket list so why not. We had a wonderfully Scottish day with rain nonstop, and to escape the weather we went to the National Museum before our gorgeous dinner at The Ship on the Shore, and enjoyed some lovely flamenco that was part of the National Museum’s free Fringe festivities.

The Lady Boys of Bangkok was one of the first shows of the season – and albeit it is not perhaps the most   well-executed performance in the world, my gosh those ladies were gorgeous and the show as a whole was a hoot!

This year I also decided, what with my new-found new time and learning to breathe in peace, I decided to take myself on a date every weekend. First date was La Boheme, a small production from the Opera Bohemia, and I found out I am indeed one of those who weeps rather uncontrollably when Mimi dies. Got to say, it was wonderful production and absolutely one of my favourites this year.

A last-minute decision was to go see Inala and I was flabbergasted. The blend of South African dance and song with Western 2014-08-22 00.50.31contemporary ballet was a celebration that I wasn’t expecting. I floated home afterwards with the Ladysmith Black Mambazo setting the beat for my feet.

Hot Dub Time Machine was a good show – music from 1954 till 2014 and my friend and I despite our deep sleepiness boogied and danced till the very end. And by the looks of things, we’ll be the only two people who’ll remember anything from the night… I mean, seriously, is there no other way of having fun than being so blastered that you dance on broken glass in barefoot and don’t even notice? I’ve officially become old. I come for the music not for the booze. 2014-08-22 21.00.23-1

After Hours at the National Museum was a lovely event where we got to enjoy the inside of the National Museum in atmospheric lights, with champagne in hand having our names spelled out in Chinese.2014-08-22 21.08.54 Lovely experience – and got a sneak peek of Et Tu Elvie; Elvis Presley with Shakespeare, and it was fantastic!

Loud Poets is a group I have seen a few times before and they always do a great night! Talented people with loud mouths and a lot to say. Big Love always gets me.

Bitesize Chekov from D’Animate was another little treat; breath-taking nonstop movement that surprised and wrenched some hearts, while tweaking those corners of mouth into out loud laughter as well. Looking forward to see other productions from this talented group in future!2014-08-23 22.02.59

NotFitState Circus – Bianco. Indescribable. Saw them last year and loved them. Saw them this year and adored them. They are   just – for me – perfection. The effort and talent that goes into each production; the nonstop work each of the performers do, including their individual 2014-08-23 19.57.52acts, of moving around the rafter set, being attached with a harness to whichever artist is doing their act at the time to give them the weight balance allowing them to go up and down and twirl all around… It is breathtaking performance of talent, strength, ability and amazement. And unlike my two friends who have their loins on fire from mere sight of the lovely August, I was mesmerised by the talented Hugo, especially with this juggling act while reciting the beautiful Portuguese poem. Candy for the eyes and the soul, you know. And not to forget the amazing Sage – she always has that wow effect that exemplifies the beauty and talent of NotFitState.2014-08-30 21.20.54

Mahler’s 6th Symphony was a classical treat that soothed the mind and body after hectic weeks and months. Something I really needed.

Delusions of the Fury from the Ensemble musikFabrik was just bit of a freakishness I love and wasn’t expecting as I  deliberately read nothing of the Harry Partch creation in 2014-08-30 21.20.33advance. Delusions of the Fury should be experienced, not described. If Philip K. Dick, Salvador Dali and David Lynch had a joint consciousness and were trapped in a steampunk dream – that’s what the show was. In the setting of the gorgeous King’s Theatre. ‘Nuff said.

Fireworks were the perfect way to end the festivities – although the weather could’ve been better. Nice friends, nice view, what more could one ask for? I’m ready for next year!

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Literally Literary Edinburgh

Written by Aija on the Edinburgh Address blog
Saturday, 16 November 2013
One of the greatest assets of Edinburgh is its rich, centuries old cultural legacy – and none other is as impressive as the literary cocoon the city has been, being the birth place of many of the literary greats. And what better way would there be to enjoy the city’s finest than following on the footsteps of just, for example, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson or the more contemporary Ian Rankin?

Edinburgh has the honour of being one of the UNESCO’s cities of literature and as such, prides itself with numerous literary events, fairs and other literature themed accessories around the capital city. A lot of the masterminding behind the events is by Edinburgh City of Literature Trust, who constantly come up with new ways of celebrating the literary richness in the city (just look at their events page!). And of course during the festival season there is the ever-amazing Edinburgh International Book Festival. But when it is not festival season, there are numerous ways of getting yourself acquainted with the literary affluence.

For example, you might want to take part in one of the literary tours – the most popular and always exciting are the Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour and the Edinburgh Book Lovers’ Tour And what is more, if up for it, you can conduct your own walk following the storylines of some of the best literature set in Edinburgh or written by a Scot.

During your literary exploring, you might also want to pop in for a hot drink and a delicious pastry while you browse the selection of books and rest your feet. This is ideal in the abundance of selection of indie bookshops around the city that also have cafes and events within them.

Personal favourites, for a literary puff like myself, is the Looking Glass Books and Pulp Fiction Books. Always a great atmosphere, always great service and both with unique flair to them.

And after all that exploring of the literary scene and history, what would a bibliophile want more than obtain a copy or few of the thing itself; books! City of Literature Trust has come up with the amazing Bookshop Trail app that is up for free download on their homepage, and lists 53 bookshops around the city centre that are worth scavenging thoroughly. And as Christmas is nearing, it is always good to remember a book is a gift that keeps on giving – it does not go out of date and it does not wither away; it is your best friend, your biggest challenge and the greatest comfort one could have.

Never boring in the city of literature, with whispers of profound cultural inimitability following you with every step – what more could anyone want?

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