day 21: climb on

I climbed Arthur’s Seat yesterday. Arthur’s Seat is the huge rock that sits in the middle of Holyrood Park, overlooking the city; and if you’ve never climbed to the top of it during August, you haven’t really seen Edinburgh.

The lunchtime gig had been pulled after only two people showed up, and I was feeling pretty down for a heap of reasons. Tony suggested that instead of doing the show, we just use the time for a short rest, and after that I felt a bit better; but I needed some fresh air to blow the listless melancholy away.

So I walked to the park and started climbing.

I think I was initially only intending to climb the crags, but my intent isn’t always in charge and before I knew it, my legs were taking me up the rocky track that leads to the summit. I stumbled a bit at first, but took the right paths; and that meant I caught a lucky tailwind that pushed me higher as I climbed. This could be a metaphor of my festival in some ways; like my luck in the festival, though, that same wind made it pretty hard to stay steady when I reached a high point, and even harder to go back; the west wind, like the “storm blowing from paradise” in Benjamin’s wonderful description of the Angel of History, held me up and pushed me on.

And when I reached the summit, I sheltered from the wind in a crack in the rock and looked around. The view is immense. To the northeast is the North Sea, black and cold; to the northwest, the city and its festivals, the big top by the playground in the meadows, the shows and the thoughts and the moronic idiocy of it all. And to the south, a layer of mist on the hills – and somewhere beyond that mist, thoughts of England – and London. For comedians, Edinburgh is the thrilling and shifting and unpredictable lover we entertain in the summer; but London is our family at home, permanent and fixed, always ready to take us all back in September with comfortable, indifferent hospitality…and it’s nearly time to go home.

Everyone has to come down from the mountain eventually. Me, I just went back to the flat, listened to some music that pushed down on the parts of me that hurt, and fell asleep for a few hours.

Today marked both the physically highest and emotionally lowest points of the festival for me. I think there are higher points yet to aim for; the only thing to do from here is to keep climbing…

CTD: cancelled

SSS: Audience – about 20; Performance – adequate, but not special. I was closing the show, and it needed to be more special to close the show properly, but I just didn’t have the energy to build any momentum (6/10)

Other Stuff: Yes, I’m climbing. But I just feel like it’s filling time, now.

Overall: feels like a LOSE

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1 Comment

  1. […] up Arthur’s seat with Chuck, Anneliese and Ross. It was so different to last year’s attempt, which was bleak and lonely and done against the wind and drizzle. This was just for fun, because […]


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