Well, I’m now off on my first holiday break since starting at FPI – can you believe it has been six months already? Wow, went past fast and feeling nicely settled in and, crucially, still really enjoying it (I keep seeing more graphic novels I want to read every time I add more to the site). But its still nice to have a break and as is my custom I’m taking time off to enjoy the Film Festival and a bit of Fringe going while I’m at it.

Melanie and I went to a fantastic Bach concert by the Dunedin folk at the Canongate Kirk (right down the Royal Mile, near the Parliament and the Palace) – one of her colleagues has a partner in the chorus. It was mid-evening and had been one of those weird weather days where it was bursts of sunlight then clouds all day. The kirk is very simple but elegant – very post-Reformation with its plain glass windows and white walls (if it was wood instead of stone if could pass for a New England church); halfway through and the sun suddenly re-appeared just before it dipped below the horizon. The church was flooded with warm, amber light as the ensemble sang Bach; if they had arranged the lighting it couldn’t have been done better, it was as if the setting sun paused on his descent to listen to the music. Artistic beauty and the beauty of nature collided for a few precious moments of sheer wonder.

I’ve been off to another couple of shows since then and taken in a number of movies at the always-excellent Film Festival with a bundle more to see (Daniel Auteil and Gerry Depardieu to look forward to this Thursday, together for the first time on celluloid). MirrorMask was utterly gorgeous and we had the added delight of a Q&A from Dave McKean himself. It was very Neil Gaiman territory story-wise and visually looked like one of Dave’s gorgeous mixed-media artworks come to life. I came out dancing with delight and with a grin I borrowed from my friend the Chesire Cat, it was fantastic! I’ll get a decent write-up on it along with George Romero’s Land of the Dead when I get a chance (and what a huge cheer George got when he appeared).

Caught Guy X today with Jason Biggs and Natascha McElhone which was great – at first it looked like it was going to be a comedy of mistaken identities in the US army in the 70s, drawing on MASH or Stripes, but actually went off in other directions much to my delight. I was even more delighted when they brought in the director and some of the cast for the Q&A aftewards (one of the delights of the Film Fest, getting to see and sometimes even meet the folk behind the films). So today I found myself only a few feet away from Natascha McElhone who looks even slimmer and more gorgeous in person and her eyes are as luminous. Probably the closest I’ll ever get to her, but hey! On the way out who did I see on the red carpet but Mr Frodo himself, Elijah Wood going in for his new movie premiere (I think he plays a football hooligan), waving to a big crowd of fans.

I also had a kind invite from Mainstream to attend the launch of their new book, the Literary Traveller in Edinburgh by Allan Foster in the Scottish Writer’s Museum just off the High Street (and a very nice spot for anyone visiting the city). Its an excellent book lover’s guide to the World City of Literature, arranged by area so the reader can use it for a little tour of the city, from tombs of poets to the spot where J K was writing the early Harry Potter drafts, pubs where Stevenson hung out to what bookstores are where (nice mention for the Edinburgh branch of the Planet in there – Allan asked for info on our specialisations, hours etc a while back which I was happy to supply and he nicely asked me to come along to the launch). I used to get asked for just such a guide back in my old job so I think they will do well with this. I was impressed enough to buy my own copy. As an extra treat I bumped into a former colleague, who was part of my team when I set up the new They Who Shall Not Be Named at Ocean Terminal the other year and who now works for Mainstream and got to catch up a little with him while snorting the complimentary wine. Pretty good day then! I’ll try and write up a bit more on MirrorMask later on.