January 30, 2020

What does it mean to be from Edinburgh?

Michael Cairney, 34

Edinburger? Edinburgenzian? What am I, if I am from Edinburgh? As the child of a couple of incomers, I’ve always wondered. And without a name, how can we decide, or even describe what it means to be from the capital? Are we an international burgh of world class leaders and guardians of history, or a pokey wee town of shortbread tin snobs? Teaching across the city as a supply teacher, the city’s invisible boundaries of language and nurture, money and aspiration have become ever more obvious to me. What does a boy growing up in Granton have to say to a boy from The Grange? For a while now I’ve been creating a series of comic snapshots in remnant Scots of men of the town, and hope that by putting them together like this, you can start to see the glimmer of kinship emerging. As the Edinburgh identity is remade again by the next generation, with a new and more diverse cast of incomers, what do we want it to be? How can we make it better?

Ye ken the sort o man I mean..., 2020Poetry