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Michael Coveney: Revving up for Auld Reekie

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The excitement is mounting, and so are the press releases, emails, messages and cries for help. Eight days to go, and eight days before I jump on the train, but I've already devised a rough schedule of 46 shows in my twelve days in the Athens of the North, Auld Reekie herself, and I look forward to, oh so many things...

Such as, the first sighting of Jim Haynes, the first walk around the back of the Castle to the Traverse, the first concert in the Queen's Hall, the first afternoon in the Pleasance Courtyard, the first tang of yeasty whiff along Princes Street.

It's very important to try and have one good square meal every other day, and to stay away from the Assembly Rooms star bar every other night.

Beyond that, I have no advice for anyone. Go with the flow, and be kind to pamphleteers, for the first two days at least; thereafter feel free to develop sudden paper allergies and terminal deafness.

The pre-publicity machine is already in full flow. Notable today are Linda Marlowe's appearance on Radio 4's Mid Week, interviewed by Libby Purves about her Hamlet performance with ten Georgian puppets; and Dominic Cavendish writing in the Telegraph on "alternative" vent acts, including Nina Conti and her foul-mouthed monkey with her hand up his backside.

How would you like that? Well, as long as it was Nina at the other end of the hand, who'd really mind?


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