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Monday, August 19

I Know What I Did This Summer

It’s time for my annual August blog post. I used to post far more regularly, but... you know... life and stuff.

I always believe I’ll come back from the Fringe fizzing with ideas and just, kind of, shit out a new show, or at least 20 minutes of zinger material. There’s something about the Edinburgh bubble that activates my comedy synapses and also the bit of me that imagines I’m funnier than I actually am.

I am quite funny...

... mainly because of dogged determination and practice. I’ve been a stand-up comedian for nearly 17 years FFS. If I hadn’t learned how to be funny, I’d probably have stopped.

So, as is customary, this is a blog post from a train to a blog I seldom update and nobody but me reads. Hello me from the future... turgid, isn’t it?

Anyhoo, the lady across from me on the train has just opened a banana the wrong way. But she hadn’t fathomed out how to open her coffee cup lid either, so I’m not too surprised. It was one of those cups where you have to tear off a flip up flap - a flip-flap - to open a mouth hole; the flap is then reflexively secured by plastic jaws to the lid. To be honest, it’s a pretty unfeasible system and hard to guess at. It’s also a real waste of ingenuity, given the fact that the cup and its lid won’t compost and will kill us all.

Anyway. The point is that this is the journey back from Fringe number 18.

That’s a number derived from last year’s. Let’s double check the maths.

I went to two Fringes in the nineties. 1994, and 1995. During these I saw the likes of Lee and Herring, Greg Proops, Mark Little, Mervyn Stutter... you know what, I can’t really remember. There was definitely Richard Thomas in the mix, with a character I can’t remember, but a song I can. Peter Baynham too... It’s been a while.

I resumed going in 2002. Performed for the first time in 2003. Did “The Musical!” In 2004, “The Great Big Comedy Picnic” from 2005 onwards. Hannah George and I did “The Seven Deadly Jokes” in 2009, year one of “The Seven Deadly Sings” was 2010, in 2011, I did a rework of the show and also got married (not at the Fringe). 2012 was my last year of doing shows with Discograffiti. I’d been to 11 consecutive Fringes, performing at 10 of them.

We started visiting the Fringe again in 2015 doing what is now an annual long-weekend - Friday afternoon to Sunday night (with a guilty slink back on Monday morning to our waiting children - we leave them with my parents, not just in the left luggage at the station). So that’s 2015, 16, 17, 18, 19 - 5 consecutive years.

So 2 + 11 + 5 = 18. My wife’s at 9 years of this.

It’s not really about keeping score.

I’m definitely keeping score.

This year we saw 18 shows. That’s a pretty respectable hit rate. I remember bygone years of doing 9 show days, but my memory may be faulty, and I didn’t stop to eat as much then as I might do now.

To have seen 7 shows yesterday was made all the more impressive by the fact that we crossed town a ridiculous number of times into the bargain. The Edinburgh North/South or New Town/Old Town divide was in full force this year. We wanted to see things which involved nipping from The Assembly Rooms to Bristo Square - the home of The Gilded Balloon Teviot site and The Pleasance Dome (among others).

These old legs can walk, apparently. Recent advances in my fitness (or reversals of my unfitness) have stood me in good stead. Edinburgh is a city in which I often feel I have boundless energy, and that’s not all caused by the Irn Bru.

It’s odd to be messing around in a city when the country is falling apart and the narrative around environment is much the same. This is a place where you can be both informed and distracted from the awful truth of the world. Maybe it was ever thus, maybe it’s the end of days...

I’ll answer that in next year’s post...



Blogger KCSunshine said...

2011 was a great year, a privilege to see you perform the Seven deadly sings. Hoping to do a 10 year review in 2021, let me know when you will be performing.

All the best to you and yours.


10:30 PM  
Blogger Ashley Frieze said...

Let's hope it's happening next year. I'm so not going this year, I even wrote a book about it.

9:32 AM  

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