Sunday, August 27, 2006

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Edinburgh - the city of festivals! Today is the start of the annual Edinburgh Festival, a generic term which currently includes the International Festival, the Fringe, the Film Festival, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the Jazz and Blues Festival, the Edinburgh Book Festival, the Edinburgh Art Festival, and more. Of course, there's also Edinburgh's Hogmanay, the International Science Festival, to name only two festivals outside the midsummer months. Between them, these cultural extravaganzas attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, allegedly generating tens of millions of pounds for the local economy.

As I sit here writing this, the traffic is gridlocked outside my inner city apartment, the pollution and noise seeping through my windows, and I do wonder what benefits there are for those of us who live and work in inner cities, and who provide services and support for the annual influx. Over recent decades, Edinburgh has evolved into a giant tourist theme park - our local council seems hellbent on creating a festival to celebrate every conceivable area of human endeavour, largely in the name of income generation.

I was lucky enough, in August 2003, to attend a concert in the beautiful surroundings of Princes Street Gardens. This event, which was to raise awareness of anti-landmine activities, included performances by Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, Chrissie Hynde, and Joan Baez. At one point during the concert, during a quiet, reflective moment, the sound of machine gun fire echoed over the gardens from the Military Tattoo being held in the Castle above - I'm sure the utter irony of this moment will live with many of us who were there. I guess that it doesn't matter what Edinburgh's festivals celebrate, as long as the money keeps rolling in...

Friday, July 08, 2005

Welcome to the blog home of Observator Obscurus, a repository for the occasional observations, miscellaneous musings, and random rants of an obscure individual. It matters little whether the words written here are read by many or none... thoughts will appear as and when inspiration and motivation occur.