the accents here are so sexy, when can understand them

O, this is a wonderful city. I arrived by train in a very light drizzle and walked 3km to Adam's house slightly outside the city centre, enjoying immensely the streetscenes and the people and the inviting falafel takeaway joints. His housemates are clever and British so I think everything they say is charming and hilarious. All is well; I am so gleefully, stupidly pleased to be here.

The city feels like Northampton made old, grand, and larger. Everything is 4-6 storeys high, except for some higher castley and modern buildings; the older sections of the city seem to have been quarried down-into, excavated, rather than built up from the ground. It's very hilly and stony, and the long long sunset hours are truly filled with golden slanting rays which warm the surrounding rocky outcrops and the marshalled rows of brick chimneys way past when the street level has gone into shadow and the lamps are lit. The sun begins to slide around 8.30pm but at 10.30 there are still blueblue streaks in the sky.

It's hard to separate the city as it must normally be from the festival atmosphere (and, we are told, the million extra people that are here) but in a nutshell, this is my idea of heaven: a graceful and gritty town, walkable and human-scaled, with lively street life (well past midnight!) and good food and--most importantly--thousands of performances going on all the time, and hundreds of thousands of people just dashing about, thinking art, doing art, watching art, talking art. Everywhere there are posters and flyers and wacky-costumed actors and big choruses of singing kids. If only it were a little warmer... and a little cheaper.

I've had some great culture-collision moments, from people thinking I'm [English, Irish, French, Greek...] to the turbaned Sikh I saw in a kilt-and-Prince-Charlie kit to the takeaway truck offering haggis pakoras. Adam is wonderful as always. His show is good and getting better. I got some plain chocolate digestive biscuits, which are halfway to heaven by themselves. What else could I want?

Note to self: get job at festival next year.

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