Here I am, fighting the Blogger app on the iPad on the train back from the Fringe. It’s time like this that I remember why I don’t like travelling with other people. I’m surrounded by some squawking tossers who don’t seem to know how to find their seats, how to carry their luggage, how to keep their children occupied, and some of them smell mysteriously of carrot and coriander soup.
I guess the obvious answer is that some people eat soup before they travel and it takes away most of their common sense.
Ignoring a possible trip to a Fringe show as a child, I’ve been to a lot of Fringes. I came twice when I was a student (94 and 95, I think). Since then, I started coming again in 2002, performing from 2003. My daughter was born at the end of 2012, so we missed 2013 and 2014 and then picked up again in 2015. No, you’re right, this isn’t that interesting a collection of raw data. What’s the final answer? Well, this year is my 16th visit to the Fringe.
A lot has changed in the course of the Fringe in the time I’ve known it, but some constants remain:
You can’t see it all.
There’ll always be some tosser spoiling something or other.
The city is full of naive young people.
Some oddly posh person is examining their fellow man as though specimens.
Some people are learning the craft in a most embarrassing way.
There are examples of utter genius lurking around the corner.
Genuine true-blue performers are always going to be appreciated…
… except the unlucky ones who accidentally land somewhere obscure.
Edinburgh’s geography will take its toll.
Time will temporarily cease to function correctly.
Money is an abstract concept.
Keeping score is pointless.
All of which means that commenting on a Fringe visit is pretty tricky to get right, so I won’t try to capture the essence of this one.
We saw 16 shows in the time between arriving at 3ish on Friday and our last show on Sunday night - 11.30pm. That’s not a personal record, nor is it a bad showing.
I delightedly bumped into various folks I know from the stand-up circuit, and wished to have said hello to even more old friends and colleagues, some of whom I spotted, and many of whom clearly had better things to do than stand on street corners in the hope of bumping into me.
These visits are not long enough to fill the Fringe shaped hole in my year, but they are the best we can do, and they’re great.