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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

This time of year, every year since 1997, I have been heading north towards Edinburgh, or at the very least jacking in my job for a month and heading out to the sights and sounds of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This year, not so much.

It started off as a thought early in the year that maybe I didn’t need to attend for the duration. Perhaps skipping the last week, when everyone is very tired and crabby and crampy and broke and hungover and drunk and ill. And then the thought occurred that the preview season wouldn’t be necessary, as I could preview all I wanted in London. And then the move to London occurred and then the paying for the move to London swiftly followed, and it turned out that I had no money and no holidays from work available and generally it started to look like maybe my Festival 2005 experience would be limited to a short week / long weekend type of affair.

And now this. This whole nothingness. This year, there will be no Edinburgh Festival for me. It’s starting today, and it’s starting without me, and it will have to do without me for the whole three and a half glorious weeks, because I’ve got better things to do. Okay, so not better things, so much as other things. I have other things to do, and other places to do them.

I’ve got mixed feelings about the Festival. It’s decreased in appeal every year since my first attendance, but the draw has remained as strong, perhaps stronger, every year. The emotional dramas that ensue every year are quite often the most ridiculous things to contemplate 11 months of the year, but for that one month all senses are simultaneously heightened and dulled and it’s hard to make sense of it all when you’re caught up in the middle.

My favourite memory of last year’s festival is, perversely, sitting on the edge of my bed and weeping like a child because I thought everything was finished, and it was, in fact, all just about to start. I’m joyously happy that I’m not attending this year, and at the same time bitterly disappointed. I’ll be following the coverage with increasing vigour and venom, but it’s akin to being outside a party, looking in the window at the drinking and the dancing. It’s true you’ll come out the other side without the hangover, the regrets, the acrid smell of smoke clinging to your clothes and the vague feeling that you may have slept with someone you shouldn’t have, but you’ll have missed out on all the fun that leads to the regrets.

Anyway. There’s always next year.

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