So far I have pretty much absented myself from the Fringe, apart from the bits I am involved in. I haven’t been to see any shows and I’ve usually headed straight home after my show. I think, for the moment, until I have settled down a little bit emotionally and caught up on some sleep this is the right decision, but I am feeling a little bit isolated. Although I am glad that I am not doing RHEFP this year - I am so exhausted by everything else that it would definitely have killed me - the daily chats did give me basic human and social contact, even if these were under the artifice of being in front of a room full of strangers. I miss the guys down at the Stand and I am sure I will pop in to see them, but I have so much stuff to do and any spare moments I get I am trying to spend sitting down and vegging out and resting. I am hoping the month will become more fun soon and I have to say that I am really enjoying my show, but to begin with at least I need to be an island. Luckily an island that my wife is welcome to visit any time she wishes. Luckily I am quite a sensible person (in real life) for most of the year, keeping things in perspective and dealing calmly with crisis, so she is prepared to put up with the massive loss of perspective I have at this time of year.
Sensibly she disappeared for most of the day to see her friends and watch shows like a normal person, but I got a bit of work done and then did my chores. As usual we have needed to buy various items for our flat, which I don’t mind doing, because as a Christian I believe that if a man steals my cloak I should give him my coat as well. You might think if you’re paying several thousand pounds to stay in a flat that it should probably come with a toilet brush and chopping boards that don’t have strange orange blobs of soaked in old food engrained in them or enough sets of keys to cope with the number of people you are expecting to stay. But I don’t think that. I am actually tempted, as an act of sarcasm, to pay someone £20,000 to give the place a makeover. Imagine how bamboozled the owner would be on their return. Maybe I would leave a note saying, “Now your flat is worth what you’re charging for it.” Surely such an act of satire would make him consider his evil ways and dedicate the rest of his life to allowing Fringe performers to stay in his apartment for a reasonable rent. Perhaps next year, instead of spending tens of thousands of pounds on a play I will just do this instead. It would be a work of art. Which would just make the person’s flat worth even more money. It would be interesting to see how they would respond. I mean, they’d be kind of furious that you’d changed their flat and decorated to your own tastes, but imagine trying to go to the police about that. “They’ve replaced my shoddy old boiler with a brand new one that you don’t have to manually turn on every time you want hot water!”
“Isn’t that a good thing, sir?”
“Well, I mean, it’s going to make my life a lot more convenient, but they did it without my permission… And they’ve knocked my store cupboard and tiny kitchen into one space, put in a cooker from this century and added top of the range units and a dishwasher…”
“I am having a problem seeing your issue with this…”
“I want them locked away.”
As it is this year I have spent too much money on the shows to do this, so the owner will have to make do with getting some free chopping boards, two new spare keys and a toilet brush. But to be honest leaving him a toilet brush is probably the best satire of him and his life we could possibly construct. It’s just a tiny statement from us about the way he is living his life. How were you managing without a toilet brush? What kind of person are you? I will tell people how you live.
I also did some chores for myself, picking up my dry cleaning and finally cracking and deciding that I couldn’t live any more with a phone with a corrupted LCD display meaning that I can’t use the thing in daylight or type the letter P in a app that won’t let me go into landscape. I don’t know how many weeks I held out (you can go back and check), but today I went to G-Tec on Grassmarket where a man fixed it for £60 and gave me a free screen protector too, doing himself out of more cash when I inevitably drop it again. In fact I nearly dropped it as he handed it over to me (before the screen protector was in place).
It was another good show tonight, though with less people taking advantage of the 2 for 1 (somewhere around the 250-300 mark) and as much as it was great to perform to a big crowd it was tempered with the knowledge that tomorrow is Black Wednesday and will probably be the lowest audience of the run. But this 65 minutes is the happiest time of my day (which is sad thing to admit) and I am looking forward to bouncing around like a lunatic even if there’s just an old Scotchman and his dog in the audience. The show continues to improve. I came up with a nice ad-lib in a bit where I tell the audience I am a feminist - or like most comedians this year I am pretending to be one in the hope that I win an award. And a week of performances done and despite the physicality I have not yet hurt myself.
Maybe I will enjoy Edinburgh more if I am on stage 24 hours a day. Yes I am sure the problem is that I am not doing enough shows.