The Royal Mile – A Soundscape by Dave Pickering
Stepping off the bus on George IV Bridge I took a deep breath, mentally preparing myself for the challenge ahead. My final destination was just a short five minute walk away, but this is Edinburgh at Festival time – and this is the Royal Mile.
Thousands upon thousands of shrill voices, everyone shouting but no-one can hear a thing. Pushing, shoving, stumbling, apologizing, swearing … and rising above it all, the unmistakable skirl of the pipes.
I’m sure the tune was supposed to be Highland Cathedral, but this was no religious experience. This was the piper from Hell.
What seemed like hours later (although it was only minutes, to be honest) I reached the blessed sanctuary of a bar – an empty bar.
Maggie didn’t have to ask what I wanted to drink and started to pour my pint in silence. The only sound was the gentle splash as my glass was filled.
Away in the distance I could just make out the strains of Scotland The Brave. But only just. It could have been a thousand miles away.
We are extremely grateful to the Third Year Illustration students at Edinburgh College of Art, and Harvey Dingwall for making this collaboration possible. The Citizen Writing Group is part of Citizen, our flagship communities project which is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and through the PLACE Programme (funded by the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council, and the Edinburgh Festivals, and supported and administered by Creative Scotland).
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