Is it that time again already? Another year has flown by, and the Edinburgh festival is upon us. This time last year I was frankly cacking my pants, hoping that the sketch show I was in (Dont Trust Salmon) would make us a fortune, win awards, catapult us to stardom and our own telly show, and basically fulfil all my lifelong ambitions.
But here I am again this year, in one of the most beautiful cities in the UK, this time as a punter. Here with three friends, hoping to cram as many shows into the next week as possible, while maintaining a steady diet of beer, burgers, and any free sweeties you get when you buy a copy of The Scotsman.
The journey to here from Newcastle was pretty uneventful. Except that I did nearly get on the wrong train which would have meant me ending up in Glasgow. Apart from that, everything was smooth running. We managed to catch the cab that was being driven by the most miserable Scot alive (honestly, if you hate us English that much, get out of Edinburgh when the festival is on) from the train station to the Pleasance.
We’ve got brilliant digs, right next door to the Pleasance courtyard. Seeing as we usually centre around the courtyard (a perfect place to sit and be compped) when we come to the fringe, living right next door is ideal – especially when you need to go for an emergency mid-afternoon dump after that third Aberdeen Angus burger.
Not being able to check in until 3pm, we grabbed a table and checked out the surroundings. (For the record, I don’t like some of the changes they’ve made. The totem pole in the middle of the courtyard is new and funky and therefore a bit disturbing, and the boards that listed all the shows have been taken away and put up instead where they used to post all the reviews – most irritating and inconvenient. One big improvement, though, is that the huge Fosters-sponsered umbrellas that cover the tables do actually cover the tables this year – essential in a city that gets the entire world’s yearly rainfall in one afternoon. Oh, and their free wi-fi is brilliant; thank you Plez!)
Anyway, I went to the the bar to get the pints in.
By the time I’d got back to the table we’d blagged some comps. Our first free show of Fringe2012, before even taking a sip of alcohol – I think that’s got to be some sort of record. It was for a show called The Death of Chatterton – a production by the Young Pleasance company. It was okay.
After seeing that we headed to the flat, unpacked, made up our beds, and headed out again. The next comp came almost immediately: a spoof musical thing called Bad Musical. A little bit hit-and-miss, but on the whole I found it pretty funny. Some great songs in there; if you want to hear a rallying song for the BNP done in the style of a cockney knees-up, or a man singing an over-long Les Mis-esque ballad about his dreams of becoming a sandwich chef, this is the show for you.
The final show of the day was The Not Quite Quartet, two guys, a guitar, some fancy looping equipment, and some great songs. And, if you’re interested in playing the I-Spy Edinburgh Fringe game, then get ready to score some points: this show featured Irritating Scottish Heckler In The Front Row. The performers dealt with him brilliantly though – even when he got up halfway through the show to go for a piss and actually asked the singer directions to the toilets. Knob.
We headed back to the flat after that, as we were all pretty knackered, and wanted to get a good night’s rest, ready for the onslaught of the next few days. Our previous record of shows in one day stands at 10, and I think the most shows we’ve seen in a week is about 45. In the true spirit of the Olympics, I’ll be keeping a running total here over the next week, to see if we can smash any of those records.
Shows seen today: 3
Running Total: 3