A poem by Edinburgh Makar Christine De Luca has been turned into a short film promoting the Royal Mile. Produced by the Royal Mile Business Association, the film was launched at the Scotch Whisky Experience on Friday, 30 October. Created in four separate parts, all four parts of the film can be seen below.
Edinburgh’s poet laurate Christine De Luca and fellow poet Ingrid Murray wrote ‘A Month on the Mile’, an epic poem that describes the Royal Mile’s landmarks and history. Both poets have gifted the poem to local businesses to use to promote themselves and the area.
The film is named A Month on the Mile, after the poem, and is directed by young filmmaker Michelle Hanzelova. It takes a journey down the Royal Mile, with the poem acting as guide, its words read by the Royal Mile’s residents, business-owners and characters. It was filmed in August and September in locations that will be recognised by Edinburgh locals and attract visitors, giving a sense of the personality of each part of the Royal Mile.
The film is realesed over four weeks in distinct parts, each poem snippet echoing the four areas of the Royal Mile.
A Month on the Mile IV/IV: Lower Canongate
In week four we find ourselves in the Lower Canongate:
A Month on the Mile III/IV: Upper Canongate
In week three we find ourselves in the Upper Canongate:
A Month on the Mile II/IV: Netherbow
This second week we dive deeper into the Netherbow part of the Royal Mile:
A Month on the Mile I/IV: Castlehill and Lawnmarket
You can still explore Castlehill and Lawnmarket in the first of the four parts:
Edinburgh Makar Christine De Luca, who wrote ‘A Month on the Mile’ with Ingrid Murray, says, “To be asked to write a poem to help trade along the Royal Mile was a bit of a poetic challenge! I soon warmed to the task and started to map out an intertwining of history and current commerce. After all, shoppers can hardly ignore the marks left by generations of locals and visitors, rich and poor who have passed up and down, dodging down wynds and closes.”
Andy Elmer, Chair of the RMBA, says: “The RMBA was formed to preserve the High Street’s reputation as a major visitor attraction. When looking for ways to promote the Royal Mile, a poem was a more comfortable fit than some might at first assume. Visitors have long been attracted to the city by its literature, while the likes of Robert Burns and Robert Fergusson (whose statute sits outside the Canongate Kirk) were regulars to the area.”
Ali Bowden, Director, Edinburgh City of Literature Trust says: “The Royal Mile is one of Edinburgh’s literary hotspots so what better way to celebrate that location than in verse and hopefully the film will encourage people to explore the lesser known areas and aspects of the Mile.”
The Royal Mile Business Association was formed in 2013 in order to preserve the High Street’s reputation as a major visitor attraction; to promote local businesses; and to provide a forum for the sharing of information between members about events taking place on the Royal Mile. The Association includes both shops and institutions from all parts of the Mile, while the group consults with the local community.
The Edinburgh Makar is an honorary role, created by the City of Edinburgh Council in support of the UNESCO City of Literature designation, and every three years an Edinburgh poet is appointed Edinburgh Makar. They are tasked with various civic duties and they work as an Ambassador for the written and spoken word. Edinburgh was designated the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature in 2004 and is now the founding city in an international network of literary cities.
The Royal Mile has a notable literary history. Dr Johnson and Boswell visited the area as part of a Scottish tour in the 18th century. The economist Adam Smith lived in the area at Panmure House. The poet Robert Fergusson is buried in the Canongate Kirk, as is ‘Clarinda’, the muse and great love of Robert Burns. The literary influence continues to this day: the Royal Mile is home to the Scottish Poetry Library, Writers’ Museum, National Library of Scotland headquarters, Scottish Book Trust and Scottish Storytelling Centre.