It's been some Edinburgh Festival.
The Fringe looks set to sell a heap of tickets again: I am being a bit presumptuous here, but I imagine when the figures are released on Monday they will show a rise from 2012, when for several days it clashed with the Olympics. In particular, the visual art on show, from Peter Doig to Nam June Paik to Schneider and even to Peter Liversidge's flags, has been exemplary.
I wish I'd taken in more theatre, but what I have seen of the EIF has been, in my experience, fascinating. Summerhall, the venue and its contents, has been a particular highlight. Summerhall, indeed, has sold more than 30,000 tickets, a 240% uplift on last year.
The book festival has led to lots of news stories, as it tends to do, and seems to be doing brisk business. Ian Bell's excellent column this week pretty much summed up the controversy about the Festival's 2014 programme - the precise contents of which, we have to remember, haven't yet been released.
But, amid the cultural splendour and discourse of Edinburgh in August, one could not help but think of an absent friend - the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Yes, the EIFF had a good year, with 44,000 tickets "issued", a 10% rise on the previous year. But I am not the only one who feels its place in the calendar in June means it has a pretty flat atmosphere when it runs. Nearly every filmmaker I have spoken to about the June placing wonders why it moved from August, its home for 60 years, to the early summer.
The festival, however, had its reasons: in June, it is the only show in town, and feasibly this should lead to more and deeper coverage. Although, for various reasons, I am not sure this happened. At the time of the move, in 2007, it was also backed by several people in the industry. But I think the film festival misses August - its incredible atmosphere of cultural celebration, its chaos and crowds, the chance to mix with artists from all manner of backgrounds and countries and lives. And, as a punter, it always seemed hugely exciting that you could once run from a film premiere to an opera to a stand-up one night and attend a director's Q&A the next day.
I wonder, too, whether taking place in June is helping or hindering its programme. Look at the Toronto International Film Festival this year, which runs in September. It is full of premieres of Scottish or Scottish-related films: David Mackenzie's Starred Up, Dexter Fletcher's Sunshine On Leith, The Railway Man - which received £300,000 from Creative Scotland - Sigma Film's Under The Skin and Kevin Macdonald's How I Live Now, with Saoirse Ronan. If the EIFF took place in August it might have had a better chance of showcasing these movies, some of the most important Scottish or Scottish-related films of the year. I also wonder whether August misses the film festival. Film and screen culture is such a significant part of our cultural lives, to have the "biggest arts festival in the world" without new films, new screen visions, screen artists, directors, writers and actors, means something vital is missing from our annual, energising celebration of everything the human mind can create.
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