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Thursday, September 2

Aching Cheeks

I've been back from Edinburgh for a few days now. It feels like it's been a lot longer. The glorious days of the Fringe are over for another year and I had a rollicking good time. I laughed until my cheeks hurt, yet now there's a new feeling, one that happens every year, it's a sort of tingling in the cheeks, and not in a good way. That's right folks, it's post-Fringe blues.

I've managed to avoid the post-Fringe fallout about once in my life; this was when I was far too busy getting deeply into the relationship I'm now very happily still in. Even then, I still had occasional moments of confusion, pangs of nostalgia and wistfulness. Right now, I'm feeling positive about life, but my body and my subconscious is unraveling the cheeriness that I became infused with while I was in Scotland's capital. It's a shame, but I think that's how it works.

In some ways, I think the Fringe works the same way as a relationship. When a relationship ends, I often feel something flowing out of me; it's the internal feeling of permanence of the relationship, and the baseline happiness that's encapsulated within it. When a relationship ends, it's like the happy it contained has to flow back out. Likewise when a relationship starts, all the giddiness I feel as it becomes more and more real, sort of flows into me. This is figurative. It's not like there's some actual physical force here, it's just a feeling. So, when the Fringe ends, the body and the mind must slow down to normal. Important things like money, cooking, washing, and so on, must all be done. In short real life isn't a month-long playpen for comedians.

So my cheeks are feeling a bit turned down, rather than pointing skywards in glee. I'll get over it. In all other aspects of my life, I'm feeling positive. I'm going to lose some weight. I'm going to be "good", whatever that means, and I'm going to cultivate new material for my stand-up comedy, while trying to tour my show. This must be good.

I will try to put some video footage online at some point. There were some lovely highlights of my own performances at the Fringe. On top of that, I was happy to see that the song I prepared for another show to use was so well received and well delivered. I'd no idea what they were going to make of it when they tried to learn and stage it. In short, it seems they made the best of it. So that's nice.

It's nice when something I've made proves to be a successful venture for someone else. For example:

Amy Winehouse: Toast - Performance by Hannah George from The Fitches

Anyway, I thought I'd look back fondly on Edinburgh with a few highlights from the festival.

Ashley's Festival Highlights

  • Getting James Sherwood's "Horse Face" song stuck in my head

  • I wandered past Professor Richard Wiseman in the street - I nodded at him - we don't know each other, but I was pleased to see him, so I nodded my respect

  • MCing one of the best line-ups I've ever MCed at Pick of the Fringe - Vladimir McTavish, Stephen Carlin, Tom Allen, Jay Foreman, Imran Yusuf - staggeringly good

  • Telling Tom Allen that I liked Bleak Expectations - I do

  • Getting multiple rounds of applause mid-song at Shaggers - I was too busy trying to avoid coughing, I barely noticed it at the time... thanks, though... it was the audience's exuberance, not my performance, that caused it

  • Having a few hilarious gifts of suggestions from the audience of The Seven Deadly Sings in the chatty bits

  • The two drunk older ladies at The Great Big Comedy Picnic shows who made exhibitions of themselves to all of our amusement

  • Pappy's show - worth seeing twice again... and I did... and I laughed harder the second time

  • The beauty of The Boy With Tape On His Face - genuinely lovely, funny and silly

  • Getting boundlessly helpful help from my "techie" James Bran - thanks fella, you were essential!

  • Being nursemaided by my housemates, handing me water all the time

  • Trying to replace energy with "charisma" in my set... with varying degrees of audience confusion

  • Turning it up to eleven at the unplayable late night gig to see what would happen

  • Being given free tickets to see a show I'd been umming and ahhing about going to see - then enjoying the show thoroughly

  • Seeing Gary Delaney's show and loving the way it managed to keep pace without losing its personality

  • Going to see a show that I knew was mental and enjoying how it was just a couple of notches more insane than I dreamed it might be

  • Coming off stage after a performance which hadn't worked and having a laughing fit... both times...

  • Breakfasts at Kilimanjaro with my darling girlfriend

  • Discovering my ability to walk tirelessly over hills and cobbles

  • Finding out that my article in the Mail On Sunday was going to contain my anti-homeopathy joke

  • Everything else...


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