My Edinburgh: Alexander McCall Smith, Novelist
Tuesday 14 August 2012
The problem with the Edinburgh Festival is sheer, overwhelming choice. The official Festival is rich enough, but add the Fringe and a paralysis of indecision can set in.
So how does one ensure that one's precious festival hours are put to good use? A few self-imposed rules can help.
Trust the official programme – you will rarely see or hear anything you will regret choosing. However, there is a qualification to that with drama. Check the language in which the play is being presented. Three hours of drama in Polish or Chinese can be testing, if you do not speak Polish or Chinese.
As far as the Fringe is concerned, listen to personal recommendations, but only from people aged over 22. There are plenty of good student productions, but a lot that are not the best use of time. Pay attention to what The Scotsman and other newspapers (eg The Independent) have to say. If they have a star system, decide the number of stars you think is a basic requirement. Remember the Book Festival, too – the biggest and probably one of the very best in the world. It succeeds in being intimate in tone, in spite of the range of its offerings. The fact that this great event remains in Charlotte Square, a blessed space, is important.
Alexander McCall Smith's Must-See Events
We bought tickets for the opening and closing concerts of the International Festival. I particularly look forward to the final concert in which we shall hear a spectacular programme of Walton's Balshazzar's Feast, along with Morton Feldman's Coptic Light and Ives' The Unanswered Question. Impressive music on which to end.
Alexander McCall Smith, Edinburgh Book Festival, Charlotte Square Gardens (edbookfest.co.uk) 14 to 16 August; 'Sunshine on Scotland Street' (£16.99hbk, Polygon) is published this month
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
- 3 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 4 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since TV series ended in 2004
Downton Abbey series 5, episode 1, ITV, review: There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning
Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without influential comedy series
New Tricks: Dennis Waterman to leave drama after a decade of crime-solving
Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'