My Edinburgh: Joe Dunthorne, writer
Wednesday 17 August 2011
My grandmother, who lives in Edinburgh, regards the festival with suspicion. With its queues, traffic, tourists, mimes, jugglers and student experiential theatre troupes, it's easy to see why. Each year, however, even she is won over by at least one show.
In mid-July, I book almost everything at the Traverse Theatre, because if I wait until the festival has started it will be near impossible to get a ticket. Then I track down a few old favourites like the Belgian theatre company Ontroerend Goed, who I've been a huge fan of since seeing their astonishing show about and by teenagers.
Then there's the Book Festival, which has highlights including Ross Raisin and Ali Smith. It is always worth visiting the Word Power bookshop, which has its own series of Book Fringe events. I'll be seeing some of the interesting stuff at the Forest Fringe, where the shows are free (though donations are welcome). This venue captures the charm and community of the fringe in the days before the comedy juggernauts turned half the festival into an extortion racket.
I won't be seeing any stand-up. Three years ago I saw six comedians in a week and I couldn't remember what any of them had said. The worst performers presented themselves as warriors against prejudice, because they "said the unsayable". Surely we are no longer impressed by this. Taboo-breaking is now utterly safe. What's more, they can never hope to shock my granny.
Joe Dunthorne will appear at the Book Festival on 18 August (in Unbound, 9pm) and 19 August (at 10.15am) (0845 373 5888; www.edbookfest.co.uk)
Joe Dunthorne's must-sees
Ontroerend Goed's 'Audience' at St George's West. Ross Sutherland: Comedian Dies in Middle of Joke at the Forest Fringe.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 Amber Roof: Sister of Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof launches fund-raising appeal for wedding and honeymoon
- 3 Russell Brand condemns moment of silence for Tunisia attack victims as a 'minute of bulls**t'
- 4 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 5 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
Jessie Cave interview: Harry Potter's Lavender Brown has published a collection of feminist cartoons
Britain's best outdoor cinemas to visit this summer from Somerset House to Luna Cinema
The last decade has produced just four UK festival headline acts
What if Nicolas Cage played every character in Game of Thrones?
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives