Disaster struck twice today. First, just over five minutes before the end of our second GRV Collings & Herrin podcast show – which had, admittedly, been a weird one, and was in the process of being killed by my insistence on relating back the previous night’s edition of Celebrity Masterchef – all the lights went out. In fact, the power went out throughout the entire building. Richard and I were lit only by the faint glow of this laptop, and we encouraged the audience to take flash photographs with their phones to illuminate us further. It was very exciting, actually, although the reasons for being plunged into darkness are a little dark and currently impenetrable. Surely the danger and uncertainty and opportunity for accidental groping will make Podcast 123 one of the most memorable ever for the 80 or so who experienced it. Unfortunately, nobody else will ever hear it, as my laptop went wrong after 2 minutes 46 seconds, but worse than that, it looked for all the world like it was still working for the rest of the show. When we got back to the flat – after a quick birthday day with birthday boy Michael Legge and his now-constant theatrical entourage in the Underbelly – I saved the podcast and exported it, but only the first 2.46 had come out. Clearly, this is my fault, as it is my computer, although the only reason we even used my old warhorse was because having both of our laptops on the tin table onstage meant that Richard was quieter than me on the first one. (This wasn’t such a problem, actually, as I hardly said anything, leaving the heavy lifting of insulting and harassing the audience and talking about following through to him.)
Richard continues to live the fantasy that he thinks I am a dick, and the fact that it was my laptop that went wrong and swallowed what might have been an interesting gig sadly serves to reinforce that constant hail of abuse. Because I hopefully said that my laptop would be alright, and it wasn’t, he seems to think I am conspiring to ruin the double act so that I can just continue my arrogant rise to solo stardom. I now get up early so that I can wash everything in the kitchen up and put it all away before he even rises from his self-indulgent slumber. I have been up early enough to put the rubbish out twice, which means we don’t have to risk having the bag torn open by mutant land seagulls by putting it outside the night before. I really tried to fix the fridge door, and Justin Moorhouse, handyman, is my witness, even though it broke again due to reasons beyond my control. Today, I took all the newspapers and recycled them by hand on the Royal Mile. I am trying to be a good double act partner and a good flatmate, but Richard has created a Frankingstein-style monster of disdain and disapproval of me now and cannot back down.
So, two disasters in one day, and one the day before. Surely that’s all the bad juju for this Edinburgh. Let’s hope the GRV has enough hamsters to bring the power back on today, or else Richard and I will be podcasting in the road like street performers, and I fear Mat Ricardo and the clown union would take a dim view of that, as we don’t have a licence.
In more positive news, Fiona Shepherd’s positive, three-star review of Secret Dancing in the Scotsman is now online here.
I went to see Gary Delaney’s fabulous first Edinburgh show Purist last night at the Pleasance. I saw his preview in London, so have heard many of his inventive and dazzling one-liners before (ironically, he missed out my actual favourite one, but meant to do it), but he’s added some visual gags, one of which is a cracker, and these help to break up what is actually quite a demanding style of comedy, in that there’s a laugh, or potential laugh, or groan, every few seconds. Gary’s onstage persona is his offstage persona, and he allows himself to giggle at his favourite jokes, and at the audacious rudeness of some of them, which allows him to get away with material that even Richard Herring might balk from. I won’t quote any of his gags, as he gets enough of that on the internet already, and anyway, if you follow @garydelaney on Twitter, you’ll find that he gives jokes away for free all the time. Blimey it was hot down in that cellar – and Gary sweats as much as I do – but that is the spirit of the Fringe.
I saw Gary with Michael (who was credited with suggesting one of the visual jokes) and Muki, who went off into the theatrical night straight afterwards, while I had a couple of plastic pints with Manchester’s Sali and Craig, whom I’d last seen at Glastonbury ’09, which means we only ever meet at festivals. At least this one was on cobbles. It was a balmy and star-studded night in the Pleasance Courtyard, and we were subsequently joined on our picnic bench by the northern mafia, Justin Moorhouse (who’d valiantly tried to save our podcast but was defeated) and The One Show‘s Jason Manford, who seems very different with stubble, which I suspect he is wearing while he can, before the big new job starts.
Then I trotted off to see Political Animal at the Stand, Andy Zaltzman’s self-explantorily themed mixed midnight stand-up show, featuring, among others, the talented comic songsmith James Sherwood and Paul Sinha, with whom I’d shared a stage at Comedy Countdown. I’ve never seen Paul before, and he is amazing – every line seems so beautifully honed, and when you think you’ve got the measure of a routine, he twists it one last time, and never lets a predictable finish be.
I accidentally ordered a pint of really heavy draft bitter at the Stand. It was noisy in there and the woman behind the bar misheard me, but I was too polite to rectify the error, which was all mine. I am a bit useless. Things keep going wrong. Why?