On Sunday night the Teen and I trooped into Edinburgh city centre for nightfall to enjoy a most excellent adventure. We journeyed back 350 million years with 27,000 other keen time travellers of all ages.
You’re probably thinking I’ve hit the wine early tonight so I’ll elaborate. The Teen and I attended Deep Time – the opening event of the 2016 Edinburgh International Festival.
The event was sponsored by local investment company Standard Life and developed by clever boffin types from the University of Edinburgh in conjunction with the award winning 59 Productions, who worked on the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.
Deep Time was a breathtaking visual feast. Projected onto Edinburgh Castle and the ancient volcanic rock which it sits on, it took an audience of festival goers on an 18 minute whistle-stop tour of the past 350 million years of the history of planet Earth.
Mogwai, the progressive Scottish rock band provided the soundtrack. The music was absolutely spot on and complimented the images projected onto the castle perfectly. I suspect they gained more than a few new fans that night. I gained some kudos from the Teen by casually throwing into conversation that I’d seen them live a couple of years ago. She looked at me shocked – her mother at a Mogwai gig. How absurd. I could tell she was secretly impressed.
When we arrived we settled at a spot with an uninterrupted view of the castle. I looked around anxiously as the 10:30pm start time drew closer and closer. Please don’t turn up, please don’t turn up I chanted like a mantra and for once they didn’t. That irritating family of Amazonian giants who always seem to stand in front of me in a crowd.
I’d taken my proper grown up camera along to get some photos. I snapped some test shots, tinkering through the whole range of mind boggling and mystifying settings on the camera and back again. I gave up exasperated and stuffed it back into my handbag in disgust. Apparently if anyone can Canon can’t! It point blank refused to give me a decent photo of the castle. I reached for my trusty iphone and clicked – it cooperated. Result.
Now here comes the sciency bit – Scottish Geologist and University of Edinburgh alumni James Hutton was the inspiration for Deep Time. He was a key figure in the 18th century European Enlightenment and is often referred to as the father of modern geology. Hutton advanced the theory that the Earth was billions of years old. Through studying the geology around him he came to understand that the Earth was continually being formed. His theory of geology and geological time became known as Deep Time.
We stood in awe, transfixed by the castle. A large time travelling mob looking on in wonder as the castle hurtled back in time – 1789, 1571, 800 BC, and further and further and further it went. Volcanoes erupted spewing lava high into the air. Ice flowed and mountains formed. Dinosaurs arrived and were fossilised in the blink of an eye, meteors fell. I was quite literally blown away by Deep Time. It was absolutely stunning. Awe inspiring and thought provoking.
The 18 minutes flew by in what felt like seconds. When it ended the delighted crowd erupted in loud, unanimous applause. We all shuffled off slowly afterwards, as big crowds always do when trying to disperse from a confied space. I caught snippets of conversation as I shuffled along in a giant flow of human lava “amazing”, “fantastic”, “brilliant”. It’s safe to say that the 2016 Edinburgh International Festival got off to a spectacular, flying start. Deep Time will take some effort to top.
If you’d like to watch Deep Time for yourself and enjoy the wonderful soundtrack from Mogwai you can watch it in full here.
Until next time ……….