Edinburgh. Day 3, show 2, full Sunday lunch 1. Richard has had his first review for Christ On A Bike, sold out thus far at Assembly. It is positive. You can read it on Spoonfed here.I got up relatively late for me, due to late finish last night, and just had time to eat some yogurt and squeeze in a walk to Foodies cafe for a bagel and the nicest smoothie in Edinburgh (well, the only one I have had twice in three days, anyway). I like it here: friendly staff, free wi-fi and a really big, clean toilet with nice herbal soaps in it. I hope they like my review. And Tim Vine lives nearby, so you could see him in there, bleary-eyed, of a morning, and have your picture taken with him, as some people did yesterday. He was very nice about it.
Anyway, just after midday, sated with banana, melon and strawberry, I headed up to Bannermans on Cowgate (the name of which I have now worked into my show as an opening gambit). It was, as yesterday, all locked up. But the queue outside was orderly and calm, and eventually, at 12.15, they let me and venue captain’s representative – venue corporal? – Mark Quinn of Unwrong Quiz in. Already, we have become adept at setting up the PA and mic and lights. Mark told me that because they forgot to mention the bucket yesterday at the end of their quiz, even though the room had been full, they only got a few quid. Not that they’re ungrateful – they should have plugged it, and will from now on – but it’s a shame that audience numbers didn’t translate into Scottish money for them.
Another full house for me, which I appreciated, and will never expect – it is the weekend, after all, and some people have jobs in the week – but I’m happy to bask in it while it lasts and feed off the reaction of lots of nice people. As long as the people that do come – especially those that stand for a whole hour, as many have to – enjoy themselves. Oddly, in order to finish bang on time, I had to drop the entire Three Birding Ambitions section, which I really enjoy, but isn’t as crucial as the two Secret Dancing demonstrations, the second of which involves volunteers and forms a nice, musical, collaborative end for a show which otherwise has no end. Having now finished Stewart Lee’s bible, sorry, book, I really appreciate the careful structure and subtle denouements of his three annotated routines. And Richard’s conceptual shows are equally clever in tying up all the themes. Mine was only ever planned as a genial ramble from A to B, so the Sugababes-accompanied dance demonstration at least provides an “up” to go out on, and today’s five volunteers, including Thomas [pictured above, left] did well. I sweated a lot again, and had to endure the resultant indignity of being filmed by EdFestTV – a web-based TV channel devoted to jolly interviews by Richard Mackney with Fringe performers – about an hour later, by which time the dreaded tidemarks had formed on my chest. I’ll let you know when the interview goes up. I had to emerge from a shed, and about seven bemused female “audience” members had to pretend to know who I was, but I enjoyed the fact that the crew were all horribly hungover, and I wasn’t. (I had a couple of pear ciders last night, but as you know, this is like drinking pop, with ice in it.)
Talking of which, I was happy to chat to Thomas, and David [pictured, right], and the third man whose name I have forgotten and who took the picture, in the pub after my show for their “shambolic” podcast FreeEdPodcast, which I will also link to when it’s live.
After being filmed, in the shadow of the big upside-down Udderbelly cow, whose food stalls make it smell of Glastonbury out there, I wandered home, and wished my brand new trainers hadn’t created a sore little toe on my left foot. Never mind the heel or the usual places you get sore in new shoes, mine have very specifically rubbed up the underside of a single toe the wrong way. But it was worth the agony, as Richard’s imaginary girlfriend had cooked an actual Sunday lunch, with chicken and broccoli and carrots and asparagus and potatoes and gravy, which I tucked hungrily into with the other meat eaters in the Young Ones-style flat ie. everyone except Justin Moorhouse, who was out eating Quorn sticks somewhere with his family. It was like a normal Sunday, except with Tom Wrigglesworth showing us a photo of him in expensive clothes that Esquire had taken of him, on his laptop. (I bought the actual magazine after lunch, and we admired the arty fashion shots of other, usually Oxfam-attired comedians, like Alex Horne and Mark Watson and Tim Key.)
A nice quiet afternoon in. I am appearing tonight on another Free Fringe bill, this time Al Cowie’s LLAUGH at a venue inside a Walkabout pub, at 8.45. I think I will do the Three Birding Ambitions bit, to make up for cutting it this morning. I hope the people who come are a bit friendlier than yesterday afternoon’s.
Oh, by the way, the Collings & Herrin Podcast gigs are all sold out. Although there may be tickets at the venue, the GRV, if you contact them. I am looking forward to these. I hope they don’t make Richard any more tired than he is already. I don’t want to kill him. (Oh, and Stephen Armstrong kindly recommended our shows in a slightly confused fashion – he seemed to think we have guests – in today’s Sunday Times Culture section. Ta!)
I am loving Edinburgh so far. I passed Paul Putner in the street earlier, carrying two big crates of what looked like props and wigs. I told him he was the spirit of the Fringe. I also like the fact that nobody seems to quite know when the day to put the rubbish out is, or what happens to the recycling. The dustmen in Edinburgh seem to come all the time. Residents optimistically hang black bin bags out on their railings most days, and I’ve already seen one being opened and excavated by a squirrel, scattering detritus everywhere, but it might just as easily have been a seagull driven inland by overfishing. It’s a refuse jungle out there.