Wonders to behold!

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I’m all out of superlatives to describe the wonders I’ve seen in Edinburgh today. But allow me to try!

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Circus Abyssinia – Tulu (link) was a breathtaking display of super-human strength and athletic talent. The snippet of video above gives a sense of the show but it needs to be seen in person to be believed! Electrifying. And in the space of an hour I think I experienced a thousand powerfully moving emotions. A world class Ethiopian masterpiece.

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In the relatively intimate space of The Edinburgh Playhouse, The Pulse (link) was the kind of encounter one had hitherto imagined being the province of deep-sleep dreaming. Acrobatic fluidity, highly disciplined choreography, charged energy, unimaginable human strength, courage and choral masterpiece – I didn’t want to wake up! For the second time today I think I experienced nearly the entire spectrum of human emotion.

In the past few days I’ve seen more high excellence, art and astonishingly brave endeavour than I would ever have imagined possible in such a short space of time. It’s like a lighthouse on a dark night. It is hope in a world too often feeling the absence of real community. My faith in the human capacity for deep connection has increased enormously in the last 24 hours. There is indeed ‘more of good in this world than we have yet dreamed of.’

Truly a quite amazing Edinburgh day – and in great company!

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Sunday Promenade 🔆

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Thousands are promenading in the city centre this warm Sunday afternoon. A Fringe busker is singing ‘Hallelujah’ and a funny song about ‘Boris’ (link). Old and young alike are laughing as they clutch ice cream cones. Auld Edinburgh wraps herself around good-natured crowds – some of whom are revelling in wall-to-wall theatre. A sunny summer Sunday in this city is such a great place to be …

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Dance, then …

See You at Dance Base, Grassmarket

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Festival Opening Night 2022 – a night like none other! See You, at Dance Base in Grassmarket, was an encounter so rich, intense and beautiful I had to remind myself to breathe. Being up close to stunningly disciplined, exquisite, fluid, athletic choreography like this demanded spellbound attention and response in every slowed second. Utterly, utterly wonderful.

See You click for Ed Fringe bookings

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Macro at the Murrayfield Stadium

And then more! Macro in Edinburgh’s ginormous Murrayfield Stadium was also a poetic feast. A celebration of ascent, climb, community, connection, fall, family, leaps of faith, and place, of history, love, lament, music, movement and vivacity. An immense crowd caught up and personally involved in this astonishing presentation was a deeply moving ‘piece of art’ in itself.

Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo 1st night

And then further. This being Edinburgh, echoes of many centuries past and those of just moments ago hang in the air. This photo captures an ancient fortress, more than a thousand years old. The Royal Military Tattoo spectacular ‘Voices’ has just concluded opening night of 2022. Thousands from all over the world walk down the hill in animated conversation – ‘something long known and only now seen’ – and the Edinburgh evening breathes ‘dance, then …’

And there will be more.

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Emblematic

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Something moves me each time I catch sight of the international flags lining the Castle Esplanade. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo runs from tonight until 27 August with a spectacular entitled ‘Voices’ – described as ‘celebrating the power of connection.’ And that, of course, is what moves me. I can’t wait to attend later on in the month, and will have more to say about it. Meanwhile, I’m ambling through the gardens en route to meet friends for a dance show in Grassmarket, and onward to ‘Macro’ – the Inauguration Celebration for the Edinburgh International Festival at Murrayfield tonight. Connecting and connected 😃🌱

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Cast of characters

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Overnight, the cast of characters in our lives shrank from hundreds to three or five or one …

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The buses are full. There’s the buzz of conversations and laughter – and the coughs and sneezes that still raise eyebrows. Edinburgh’s streets are full. Festival pedestrians walk miles. International accents are heard in any gathering. The benches in Princes Street Gardens are full. The footsore are glad of ice cream cones, and strangers once again swap stories. And we are full – though often unconsciously – of the memories of enforced isolation. The world changed beyond our recognition when we became isolated from one another. Psychological readjustment will take time. But readjust we must – learning again the value of the impromptu conversation, kindness or fleeting smile – the ‘Letter to a Stranger’ who touches our lives more, much more, than we had hitherto realised.

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Spoiled for choice

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Art is often trying to strike up a conversation with strangers

Leslie Jamison
Foreword
A Letter to a Stranger, Essays
Colleen Kinder, Editor

There will be many hundreds of posters like these around Edinburgh this month. The choice is simultaneously intoxicating and inspiring – and there are tens of thousands of conversations in the air.

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Festival gold

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Edinburgh is arts, art and festival 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – which makes it a natural environment to host arts, art and one of the world’s best known International Festivals. Nature, and innumerable artists working together, will touch this vibrant city with colour, drama, light and great literature; with prose and poetry, music, song and dance throughout a happy August. And just outside my window I behold gold 🌱

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

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Summer daydreamin’

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Today has been one of those magical, sunshiny days in which all sorts of lovely things have occurred, one after another.

This morning I helped a friend move into her stunningly beautiful new flat, after which we lunched at La Barantine, Bruntsfield (link) – one of my favourite little places in Edinburgh.

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This afternoon I joined friends at a glorious Circus at Garvald Home Farm – full of joy, laughter, spirited hospitality and warmth.

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And our time together drew to a close lying in warm sunshine – some of us river swimming, others dreaming, all of us thankful. Deeply thankful …

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Festival City

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Edinburgh’s buzzing again in the run-up to the Festival. There’s enough action-packed celebration of all-things-arts to make a person dizzy with the choices on offer. And sometimes just being here during August, soaking up the atmosphere, is celebration enough. My run-in with Covid-19 pretty much wiped out July for me. I’ve a feeling that August is going to be a very different kinda month!

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