Farmers, merchants, mayors, prostitutes, drunkards and brigands once stumbled down this cobbled pathway; laden with history and lying proudly in the shadows of the city’s grandiose Gothic architecture, today it is known by most as the Edinburgh Royal Mile.
Thousands swarm from all sides like theatre-starved minions, a man in stripes is seemingly suspended from the sky, a psychic in space goggles clasping a pigeon waves a sign promising to reveal prophecies for food, the Most Pierced Woman in the World sits hunched in a doorway, cradling back and forth behind a parasol and a red skinned magician delicately twirls his crystal ball into mid-air whilst vibrantly clothed street players in top hats passionately shake their arms and proclaim Shakespeare is not dead- the eclectic mix of comedic, theatrical, musical and acrobatic street performers one encounters on the Royal Mile during the world renown Edinburgh Fringe Festival are as equally eccentric as the comedy-craving crowds they attract.
Whether hoping to laugh in the underbelly of a cow, shed a tear for the ill-fated Valjean in Les Misérables, sit nervously in the free comedy arena as unlikely comedians pull dead rabbits from a hat, weave in and out of vintage shops and museums or dance til dawn on the castle steps – from tree huggers to ravers- Edinburgh festival goers are all here for one rather curious thing, culture.
Edinburgh prides itself on its status as not only Scotland‘s political, but also cultural capital; boasting a long celtic history, a host of annual cultural festivities (among them are the Art Festival, the International Book Festival, Edinburgh Festival, the Cycling Festival, Hogamany Street Party and the Torchlight Procession), grand ornately carved castles and secret literary pockets, it is a cultural treasure that the Scottish no longer wish to share with their longstanding English adversaries. With the White Paper on Scottish Independence being released just last week, the question on everybody’s lips is, can Edinburgh survive Scottish independence?
Is Scotland financially strong enough to support itself? Will Edinburgh, a once thriving cultural hub collapse under the economic pressures of political independence from a global economic leader? Will the breaking of this sensitive political bond empower a historically repressed nation to take command of its own fate and enable its cities to further flourish culturally, economically and politically?
For those curious about the highlands there is an abundance of resources relating to Anglo-Scottish tensions throughout history and the Act of Union, arguments for and against Scottish independence, Scotland’s Future, the Scottish economy and Culture in Edinburgh.
Check out these enticing blogs if Edinburgh intrigues you: Edinburgh Fringe Poetry, Theatre Blog, Extraordinary Acts, Edinburgh Fringe, Word up Edinburgh, Secret Scotland, Scots history and Scottish Independence.
The case for Scottish Independence by Ewan Mcgregor (Trainspotting)
Filth, a newly released film set in Scotland starring James Mcavoy
Scottish Band from Selkirk- Frightened Rabbit
Glaswegian musicians- Belle and Sebastian
Edinburgh Fringe Festival Street Performers – Hang Playing Hedge Monkeys
- Making History: Scottish Government Unveils Independence White Paper (welshdevolution.wordpress.com)
- One of my favorite capitals in the world – Edinburgh (journeyaroundtheglobe.com)
- Review of Scottish Songwriters In The Round, Edinburgh Fringe 2012 (davidlevesley.wordpress.com)
- 3. First day in Scotland (vlogg9a.wordpress.com)