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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Just because you're paranoid

When out walking on Friday evening, I heard a great bang - louder than fireworks, not immediately identifiable, not from any obvious direction. Natural response: ignore it and hope it goes away. Thirty seconds later, another similar bang, and another. Everyone on the street stopped for a moment, and then seemed collectively to make the decision to assume that nothing bad was happening. Then another cluster of bangs. Everyone stopped again - everyone clearly thinking, 'Is this it? Have they come for Edinburgh now?' The couple in front of me actually turned round and, uninvited, spoke to me: 'Do you know what's going on?' 'No idea.' It must be bad if British people are speaking to each other on the street. Then smoke could be seen in the sky, over towards the job centre. 'That's not good.' 'Maybe they're practising for the Tattoo.' 'Oh, good point.' Not sounding convinced. Still people carried on, rather hesitantly, down the street. Then a group of girls came round the corner, and, clearly spotting the incipient panic, stopped and explained that a Chinese artist was making a 'black rainbow' over the Castle, for the Festival. At which point I remembered that I'd heard this on Reporting Scotland, and felt rather silly. Still, there it is. Fear on the streets. Interesting.