I take the same route to the Pleasance every night, dipping down Calton Road behind Waverley station and coming up New Street to join Canongate. It's much easier than trying to negotiate the crowded bridge, though does mean going up and down hill a couple of times. New Street is a bit of a mess given how close it is to the heart of the city. There is a long fence up the left hand side of the road (as you come up the hill) that has graffiti running its entire length. But it's interesting and artistic graffiti and I have been interested to see that even in the fortnight I've been doing this walk, the images have been changing fairly constantly as one artist paints over the work of another (or possibly his or her own work). One of the pieces I had liked which asked us to "follow the rabbit" was replaced by (to my old eyes) a less attractive piece that was an elaborate version of someone's tag. But another listing the sites of the Old Town has survived thus far, as has another quite striking work of a blue-faced, three-eyed gurning man/god. I think the other graffiti artists are too scared to paint over it in case it curses them. I don't know what it's meant to represent, but I quite like it. I hope it survives until the end of the Fringe.
At the top of the hill a delapidated building with boarded up windows has a sign that looks like a pub sign on it saying "Old Sailor's Ark". The building doesn't look like it was ever a pub, the doorway is too anonymous and small and certainly no one goes drinking in there now (or if they do they take their own booze and drink it with some rats). I have been meaning to find out what this building is for a few days and it looks like it was some kind of hostel (in fact this article suggests it was a charity institution that handed out free meals around the time of the second world war). Unsurprisingly it is at risk of demoliton, like the buildings that were once behind the fence (might have been a bus depot). I suspect that beofre too long it will be gone and replaced with something more commercially viable, but it's interesting to have spotted this relic on my daily jaunt to work.
A slightly muted audience for the podcast today, which was odd because I thought it was a very funny one, with Paul Foot and Sean Hughes in fine form both seperately and together (Benny Boot was the stand-up and I can't believe I missed the Boot is on the other Foot possibilities). But I had a headache and maybe overplayed the grumpiness - though most audiences enjoy seeing me in pain as I attempt to complete this ridiculous task of recording 25 hours of comedy in 27 days. I overcame the fatigue for the later show and had a couple of pints and a whisky with friends who had been up with the Oxford Theatre Group in 1988 with me. We were almost as decrepit relics as the Old Sailor's Ark, but it was fun to chat and drink, if a little less crazily than a quarter of a century ago. I am glad we are all still here. Though demolition may be imminent.