John Gibson: Kudos for king of the cavalcade

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He’s been there and done that a few times. Organised eight Cavalcades in all, including the first of those with co-planner Brian Leishman. David Todd’s glad to see the grand festive parade resurfacing. But he has reservations.

“I’m still living in Edinburgh, having put my strategically-situated flat on the market. Five years here on the corner of North Bridge, a block of flats converted from what was an iconic furniture showroom.

“Opposite the Tron Kirk with views up and down the Mile. Spacious. Two bedrooms and drawing room. Are you interested?’’ I stopped drawing when I left school.

Fifty-five-year-old Todd’s true home now is on the Isle of Cumbrae where he is warden of the College of the Holy Spirit. He lives on the premises.

Biggar-born son of a minister, who was long-time minister at St Machar’s Cathedral in Aberdeen, later minister at North Leith, he returned to Edinburgh from Aberdeen University to be box office manager of Traverse Theatre Club, then, in 1979, he became concert manager with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. From there to the Edinburgh Festival Theatre in 1993 to 2002 and he was freelancing when he inherited what was to become the Festival Cavalcade. His baby.

“It was a huge job. Larger than I expected. But enjoyable nonetheless and a lot of kudos went with it, not to mention the headaches. A lot of people would have given their eye teeth to mastermind, if that’s the word, a mile-long parade along Princes Street.

“One can lose count but I reckon I had six along Princes Street before we shunted to Holyrood Park to make way for the trams, which just couldn’t be anything near the same as Princes Street.

“You’re asking me, twisting my arm, to comment on the just-announced re-introduction of the Cavalcade. I wish it well but foresee difficulties over running it so early in the summer. So close to the Fringe curtain-up.

“But the prospect of Princes Street revived as the parade ground has to be exciting.’’

Yes, David, do let me know when your flat is snapped up and we’ll have a party.