Pavlos (pavlos) wrote,

Degrade of the commons

I went to The Forest, which is normally a pleasant experience on Saturday afternoons, and discovered that two bad things had happened to "the commons".

In The Forest cafe itself, the main room was hidden from the entry by a heavy curtain. Someone had decided it would be a cool art project to string videotape from wall to wall across the room at foot level, or diagonally at eye level near the serving area (and also elsewhere in less annoying configurations). Most of the tables have been removed to make room for this, and to reach one half of the room you have to go over a makeshift bridge. I can't begin to say how unimpressed I am. It looks like the classic stage in a communal project where some pompous idiot decides to implement their idea, which drives everyone away, and nobody else stops them because we're all supposed to be cool and democratic. Well, I'll try to go again in a week's time, when they take the installation down, to see if anyone still visits the cafe.

The other sad observation is that Beltane this year is a ticketed event, and tickets bear the Edinburgh Festival "Hub" logo. For your information, Beltane is an eclectic revival of the pagan festival by the same name, for years organized by a volunteer society and very popular. In recent years (at least since the time I came here) it was the unique thing that Edinburgh did on the night before the 1st of May. Last year, the authorities prevented the free event because they claimed it cost £50,000 to police and clean up the hill/park on which it took place. Maybe there's some truth to that, although of course you could claim just about any cost for "security" if you don't want something to happen. As it is, I'm afraid the event will become a corporate zombie of its former self, as has happened to Edinburgh's once public and spontaneous Hogmanay (New Year's Eve) street party.


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