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Cosmopolitan Scum! Edinburgh, the Arts and the Counterculture

There’s some truth in the old myth that while Glasgow is the music capital of Scotland / the world, Edinburgh is king of the art scene.

In his 1980s book All That Ever Mattered, author Brian Hogg covered our countrywide musical history, but here he turns his attention to the capital’s counterculture since the first Festival in 1947.

The title comes from an exchange between Hugh McDiarmid and Alexander Troccchi, and this in-depth volume covers the arts scene from the start of the Fringe through to the modern music movement spearheaded by Neu! Reekie, referencing Pete Seeger and Ewan McColl on the way, and it’s often unclear where the establishment ends and the underground starts.

Folkies and druggies make for curious bedfellows, as do the Teddy Boys and beatniks with Monty Python, and while Edinburgh is the focus, it’s clear that its influence stretches far and wide – yes, even beyond the west coast.

By Stuart McHugh

itm? head honcho

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