The Edinburgh Diaries (Part Two)

Wednesday 8th August. They call it ‘Black Wednesday.’ It follows what’s known as ‘Misery Monday’ and ‘Terrible Tuesday’. These are the days when the big acts offer two-for -one tickets to their shows and punters for free shows are thin on the ground.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had a ‘Meh Monday’ and an unexpectedly ‘Triumphant Tuesday’ which goes to prove that you shouldn’t listen to every bearded Australian comic you come across.

I am sharing my venue space with a bearded Australian comic.

He is young, super-confident, speaks at around 140 decibels and styles out a mullet of the original Scott-Robinson-circa-1986 variety. He is kind and, more importantly, he vacates the space early (in fact, earlier and earlier every evening).

Brett, (for that is what he is called) has the whole self-belief thing down to a fine art. An audience of seven (I counted them) is ‘practically a full house!’

I need some of what he’s got. Maybe I need to spend my day off getting stoned and drinking a bottle of rum too. I guess that’s where the change in perspective might come…

After me is an absolute smasher of a woman. Harriet Braine is young, self effacing and very talented. Her show, ‘Apocalibrary’ is a charming and clever journey through answerphone messages via parody songs. I am in awe. Her performance style is also very relaxed. Not from rum and soft drugs, I don’t think.

I enjoy the camaraderie of The Counting House. Lots of experienced acts, some big names – Janey Godley, Ashley Storrie, Carl Donnelly, Jim Tavare – they’re all knocking around.

Ashley, rather annoyingly, starts fifteen minutes after me. If only she started fifteen minutes before, I might mop up some of the very many punters who get turned away from her gig when all her seats are filled.

There’s a popular Northern character act, Frank Lavender (aka Gareth Joyner) in the Lounge at 6pm. His room is always fit to burst. I watched as on Tuesday, he turned up for his show. Nobody else did so he went home again.

All that effort to get into costume for nothing.

I know this will happen to me at some point. But at least now I know I won’t have been the only one.

Later, as I am flyering (I am literally selling myself on the streets) I meet Jem. He tells me he had no audience on Friday, his first night, and only two or three people in over the weekend.

I feel positively buoyed at this news. Which makes me an awful person, but heck, I can live with me.

And then Wednesday evening happens and two thirds of the seats are filled and the show goes really rather well except that Harriet, who’s come in to see the show, has a nose bleed at the back.

Small wonder, really. We are quite high up.

Thursday arrives. We decide to take in a show at 5.20pm when we’d normally be flyering like mad. Actually performing is ruining my spectator’s experience of the Fringe. Almost everybody I want to see is on at around the same time as me.

But we nip off to watch the Cambridge Footlights and enjoy a happy, flyer-free hour.

I feel curiously nonchalant. Tonight might well be the night nobody turns up. But I don’t care because I weighed myself this morning and I have dropped two and a half pounds and my body fat, as measured by the massive machine in the women’s changing room at the gym I’ve joined for the month, is between Good and Excellent.

And the satisfaction of that is more than equal to a five star review, frankly.

At 7.30 there is nobody in the Loft. I press ‘go’ on my set list and Toyah floods out through the amp.

At 7.35 a couple of girls arrive whom I recognise. I’d flyered them in the pub garden next door and we’d had a chat about my sparkly dress. I am touched they’ve turned up.

And then loads of people arrive. They fill the seats til there are only a few left and there is jollity in the room.

Another girl arrives with a tray of shots and hands them out to the five people she’s with. She offers me one, but I have a strict no-drinking-on-the-job policy so I decline.

I have the best, liveliest show ever.

I come away feeling like a comedian.

I really hope I feel like this again some day.




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1 comment

  1. Very well done, you. I really wish I could be there in the audience. I’d be your best fan and would establish my own position to sit (or stand, when you have a full house) at every performance – I really would.

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