So! I finally did it. After years of saying “I must go next year”, I finally actually went. I think part of the reason that I was putting it off for so long was that I knew that, once I’d gone, I’d be doomed to go every single year; frittering away endless pounds, burning up every bit of surplus energy I had, and being left crying hopelessly into my haggisneepsandtatties. And thus it is the case.
Anyway, since you only get to see things with new eyes once, and the reputed alcoholic glaze that persists throughout Edinburgh Fringe made it unlikely that I would actually remember everything that had happened, I thought it best that I document the experience. So here – scrawled on the backs of flyers, and programmes, and napkins – is my Edinburgh Diary.
I’ll split it into separate blogs, or we’ll end up with a ludicrous wall of text.
Day One – 07/08/12
I fly. I know; so bourgeois. I don’t feel good about it, but it was half as expensive as the train, and I am very poor. It isn’t me that needs to change, you guys. IT’S THE SYSTEM. It takes 50 minutes, and is ludicrously easy. I feel like I can begin to understand why rich people are always such thoughtless dicks about things.
The flat I am staying in is full of born-again Christian nonsense; schmaltzy proverbs and actual framed pictures that just say JESUS on them in pink. It is also full of large photographs of the man who owns the apartment’s face. I have never met this man, but I already feel that I have seen more than enough of him.
I meet my friends Tom and Becky, then head up to the Mile, where all the everything is at. It’s all a bit overwhelming; everywhere you look are sketch troupes and performance artists and musicians and posters – and absolutely everywhere you go, people thrusting flyer after flyer into your hands. Flyers you’ve already got. Flyers of people you actually know. Flyers of people you’ve never heard of. I go to the box office to try and buy some tickets, take one look at the Festival Guide (there are almost 3000 different shows on over the Fringe period), and almost pass out from a severe bout of Analysis Paralysis. I end up panic-buying tickets to Marcus Brigstocke by accident, just because I see a picture of his reassuring face, and my brain grabs onto it like a desperate kitten in a flash flood. See, folks?! Marketing really does work!
I go to four shows today, which becomes about my daily average. AS FOLLOWS:
I’ve seen Phil before, and he does a nice line in that adorably nervous-type of stand-up, shifting around the stage like he’d rather be anywhere else but here. I like that in a boy. Content is whimsical in nature, with a few surrealist flights of fancy thrown in for good measure; I find some of the call-backs a bit clunky, though. The venue is a bit of a weird one; whilst most Free Fringe events are held in separate rooms to the main pub/restaurant/etc, this one sits directly next to the bar, which gives it a bit of an awkward vibe.
Fat Kitten Go Speed Dating
Full disclaimer: I know at least two of them, and I’d already seen the preview of this in London. The show a series of improvised sketches based on speed dating, with audience-picked topics and some weird power plays chucked in, and it’s a lot of fun – and avoids crossing the “I am annoyed now” level of audience participation. At an hour long, though, I’d say it somewhat stretches the format. Keep it at the 30 minute mark, kittens.
They’re doing a second show now though, which I really wanted to see – Fat Kitten vs. the World – so do go along if you’re lucky enough to still be up north.
Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown
Being an Edinburgh virgin, I didn’t know anything about Pappy’s, but my friends were all like ZOMG ZOMG YOU HAVE TO COME and also RHYS DARBY was guesting. But, um, I was a bit disappointed with this one – partly because I didn’t feel like the podcast set-up really worked on stage, and partly because the other guest NOT RHYS I CANNOT REMEMBER WHO HE IS, I WAS BECOMING QUITE DRUNK AT THIS STAGE, I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL REVIEWER didn’t really seem to get the format, and kept interrupting things out of turn. Boo.
Alternative Comedy Memorial Society (ACMS)
Staple of the fringe, apparently! I have so much to learn. Basically a late-late night variety showcase of alternative comedy. At this point, I have had quite a lot of wine, so everything has blurred together into a surrealist tapestry. I definitely recall seeing Bridget Christie yelling things about vaginas (good), a woman doing an entire set dedicated to the chair (also good), a game of Deal or No Deal where the prizes were different varieties of cheese (erm), and a man putting another man into a cardboard box and then covering him with flour and eggs. ALSO: a French man, reading out definitions of French words in English from a dictionary, whilst sporadically hitting a bell. Yes, it is one of those types of shows. It is also THREE AM. I meet someone I vaguely know offof twitter and slur at him. A noble failure!
I go back to the flat and fall asleep on a sofa that my legs reach off the end of.
Shows seen: 4
Celebrities spotted: 0
People off the internet met: 2