My Edinburgh: Mark Borkowski, Publicist

Monday 17 August 2009 00:00 BST

Trawling Edinburgh Festival for the sites of my old publicity stunts, celebrated in the #Twithibition I have just launched, has been a contemplative experience. The stunts celebrated 25 years of mischief. But that was Edinburgh then. What about now?

There is always much that is astonishing, vibrant and beautiful on offer at the festival – of this year's crop, Sian Williams' one-woman show for The Kosh at the Gilded Balloon and Shed Simove at Belushi's are two to look out for. Sian Williams is the same age as Madonna and considerably sexier; she is compelling to watch. Shed, inventor of the Clitoris Allsorts, is like Trevor Baylis on crack.

Arguably, some Edinburgh City grandees seem incapable of organising a piss-up in a distillery. Princes Street had been dug up just as the Festival started. Which planning genius came up with this? The Assembly Rooms, mid-renovation, was a building site in week one. Moving the Film Festival to June is nearly as insane as serially under-funding the International Festival. Spreading the festival over five weeks is ridiculous; they should be condensing it to three.

Venue controllers bemoan the lack of media attention outside of Scotland. Considering it is the largest festival of its type in the world, the coverage it gets, outside of a few broadsheets, is pitiful.

The city fathers appear to be unconsciously frittering the spectacle of Edinburgh away, dissipating the energy that has, for many years, seen journalists fighting tooth and nail to get up there and discover the latest bright young things. Even the bright young things are reluctant to come, as student accommodation gets ever more expensive.

There is, at least, good digital representation being developed to help build audiences. I am addicted to the iFringe application for iPhone, but the festival needs to keep drawing new talent, audiences and media – it can't rest on past laurels.

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