Despite my occasional “fuck the Edinburgh fringe, I’m leaving” tweet (then I threw my phone at the wall and now it looks like a jalopy) I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s fringe. I think it might have been the most sane I have been. This was helped by doing four shows a day for most of it, and when not doing four of my own shows I made sure I said yes to doing enough of other people’s shows that analysis was near impossible. It was only in the last few days that I found myself with enough time to talk to myself in a variety of voices as I walked around my flat. I ma like a happy go lucky version of Roman Polanski’s Repulsion on occasion. I am not like a Repulsion version of Mike Leigh’s Happy Go Lucky though.
My sanity was maintained by avoiding the major venues of “The Comedy festival” where stimulant enhanced paranoia and hallucinogenic joie de vivre can stultify the air and water supply, and instead I hung around the more fringe-like fringe of The Stand and PBH’s Free Fringe. The first moments in Edinburgh in August can be the most discombobulating. The stink of the brewery is inviting, but then you see the first street of wire mesh crucified smiles where each comics gigantic face lures you and hopefully waits to have their features obscured by 4 and 5 stars from reviewers.
For the first couple of weeks Michael Legge and I were cat-sitting for Ian Rankin and his family. We killed neither cat, and thus we are proud (and if we did, we found such perfect doppelgangers Ian even your sleuthing brain will not see the difference).
With a day off before our show started the first night was spent drinking champagne and watching Witchfinder General, we know how to live well.
On the first few tremulous days of Pointless Anger Righteous Ire 2: Back in the Habit I worried that Michael and I shouldn’t have resurrected the show after a very successful 2010. The day I was topless screaming at people for not being from TV with blood dripping down my face, I knew we’d done the right thing. It was a strange thing to come directly from my midday show where I’d be expounding on ideas about the beauty of the universe to screaming at the terrified and trapped audience in Stand 5, but it allowed me to Jekyll and Hyde it within two hours. I felt like a youngish Brendan Burns with my range of happysadangry.
Cark Sagan is My God , Oh and Richard Feynman Too was as much fun as it is every year. I enjoy waking up by standing on stage and reading Richard Feynman and Carl Sagan. There were also wonderful guest appearances
– Neil Gaiman told of the sexual potency of art via a fresh story of cak-handed barbershop singer ends up entwined with burlesque performer.
– Dave Gorman praised his mathematics teacher
– Matt Kirshen told us of the perils of smiling and his trip to the museum of scientology
Nick Doody, Helen Arney, Mark Quinn, Charlotte Young, Helen Keen, Yianni and numerous others helped me out during the run.
I frequently forgot to explain why Star Corpse Apple Child (my solos science show) was called that and for my tour it isn’t called that, so I won’t have to, but I probably will, just to be more confusing. I start the fringe with works in progress (sometimes they haven’t even reached the point of progress but have to be pushed from a starting position) so the science show was far from perfect, but on its best days I was even quite pleased with it (arrogant I). On one day it seemed to be getting no reaction at all and I stopped twice to offer the audience a guiltless opportunity to leave (this was the free fringe, so it was the ticket price that made them stay) . Towards the end I stopped, looked into my coffee cup, sighed and then declaimed “so, the triune brain theory”…
To be continued