Garrett Palm takes a break from the Festival Fringe to visit the Edinburgh Book Festival
Story and photos by Garrett Palm
I went to the Book Festival, which is a completely different world than the one I’ve been living in. This festival is in Charlotte Square, a good walk from my usual after-show hangouts in George Square.
The Charlotte Square readings are held in a spiegeltent, an old-fashioned wood-paneled and mirrored tent designed as portable entertainment venue. Instead of raunchy comedians, burlesque shows and loud rock musicals, it is full of intellectuals watching serious authors read from their upcoming works. The hosts and readers are calm and measured, stuttering to find the right words.
It fit in better with the U.K. I experienced 11 years ago when I toured the isles with my professor, a respected British author. We met his friends and colleagues around the country, all of whom gave us copies of their books. I left with a stack of books and the idea that everyone in the U.K. is an author. I thought that, because of the rain, they wrote regional histories, obscure biographies and guides to British gardens to entertain themselves.
After the Book Festival, I walked back East on Princes Street, passing a teenaged boy bagpiper with two teenage girls performing Scottish dances, all in traditional dress. A crowd watched and tossed coins into a case. A middle aged bagpiper in full regalia played 100 meters away, his song muddled together with the teenager’s. A sixty year old bagpiper in a military uniform and kilt played at the intersection just past the Victorian Gothic monument of Sir Walter Scott when he is not posing for photos.
As I waited at the intersection I watched a large geodesic jungle gym full of young children flying up and down on bungee cords as “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie played. In front of the Balmoral Hotel an older man played a large bagpipe wearing what I think is the uniform of a pipe major of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, complete with giant bearskin hat.
Garrett Palm is a photographer, writer, and improv actor currently living in Brooklyn, NY. You can follow his travels and photos at www.lifeisaslowharold.com and find out more about him at www.garrettpalm.com.
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Filed under: Europe, Travel Tagged: | bagpipes, Balmoral Hotel, Book Festival, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Europe, Festival Fringe, Garrett Palm, George Square, Princes Street, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, Scotland, Travel, Walter Scott