11 April, 2011

Asia Launch Adventure - Episode One

In her first dispatch from the Festival 2011 Asian launch tour, Susie Burnet's head is spinning in India

What a whirlwind! Jonathan and I are travelling around Asia at the moment launching this year’s programme from India to Korea! And most places in between.

With a packed schedule we are relying on the airlines to play ball. An inauspicious start when KLM cancelled my flight out of Amsterdam to Delhi. Aaaargh! Luckily, another route was found via Dubai and I arrived with, hmmm…. about 10 minutes to spare before my first meeting in Delhi. Why do I get the feeling we’re going to be kept on our toes?

So, our media meetings and events kicked off in Delhi on Wednesday. Hosted by the British Council there we had a super afternoon of interviews with very smart journalists from the Times of India, Mail Today, Indian Express and The Asian Age/Deccan Chronicle. We met with Tarun Tejpal who travels to Edinburgh in August to take part in our series of talks and who also runs political news magazine Tehelka, most likely getting ready to reveal another scam in the Indian system. We had a really interesting discussion around the changing world and India today. Off to read some of his books now.

Director of British Council India, Rob Lynes hosted us in the evening where we met people from across Delhi media and cultural life in a celebration of the Indian artists coming to the Festival this year and where we had an opportunity to spread the word about Edinburgh in August. They all say they are coming! Let’s hope so.

Thursday saw another couple of quick meetings, a dash to the parliament building to record a TV interview for arts show In Transit with Sohaila Kapur and then off to the airport for the dash to Mumbai. Landed. Made it to the hotel. Eventually. Dumped our bags, brushed our teeth and then off again to a reception hosted by the British Deputy High Commissioner Peter Beckingham and Sam Harvey, Head of British Council West India. Met a whole room full of interesting people from Mumbai, was invited to film studios, festivals and the hippest clubs in town. What a fantastic city! So much colour and vitality about it. Spread the word again. More people finding a way to come to Edinburgh in August!

Friday saw us talking to journalists from various papers local and national, and a magazine or two - a great line-up and lovely, energetic and curious people. A couple of photo shoots for Jonathan on Marine Drive, or the Queen’s Necklace to the amusement of the residents. A big thank you to the British Council who helped line all that up for us.

And in all too brief a time, we were off to the airport. Destination Jakarta. I’ll leave you with what has become a very familiar sight – Jonathan in an airport lounge. More anon.