Sunday, 22 August 2010

...And then fourteen years later...

I'm going to have to change the time of day I write this thing as it's getting too easy to forget things as I attempt to straddle days. Since the last (almost deleted) blog I have had a great show at The White Horse, an equally good one at "Shaggers" (It turns out my pain is in fact your joy), been approached in the street by an agent, angered Peter Buckley Hill over nothing (Although that appears to be relatively easy to do this year - the poor man is under immense pressure), had a breakthrough in my show (I've started sitting down, it's done us all the world of good) and finally fully understood the beauty of Edinburgh: yesterday I didn't so much as bat an eyelid when a man walked past me dressed as Elizabeth I because I was too busy staring across the street at batman and a six foot cane toad having an altercation about flyering rights on the Royal Mile.

I also managed to stay out until 4am again with little to report except I am partially guilty for Nick Coppin losing his manbag and for that, I apologise.

Today, however, I want to fill you in on a rare and serendipitous poignancy.

I doubt I'll ever use that sentence again.

The guest on my show today was one Anna Keirle. Anna is Cornish, delightful, a handy enough drinker and has a pirate fetish. Every day, as discussed, four people have walked out of my show. Today they didn't. While she was on three people actually came in.  Admittedly they were her friends, but it was still a breakthrough. Also one of them was (the rather fit and utterly charming) Caroline Ferriday (I may have spelt her surname wrong) who is a BBC radio presenter.

After the show (No walk outs), Anna suggested we went to a bar called "The Blue Blazer". To be perfectly truthful when she told me where it was (The other end of Grassmarket) I honestly considered just making my excuses and leaving. Fourteen years ago I did a show at The Fringe in that part of the city that went horribly wrong. It's the reason I've never done another show until now. I've not even been to that part of Edinburgh, could tell you nothing about its layout and certainly wasn't familiar with "The Pubic Triangle", a little area where there are three lapdancing clubs on a sort of a "triangleabout" that also contained said bar.

Anna had spent three weeks in there (by the sounds of things, every day) at a previous festival excursion of her own and was keen to meet up with two old Scottish rogues called Davey and Sinbad.

It has seventy two different sorts of rum.

We walked into the bar where we were greeted by said ageing reprobates and the rum began to flow. A couple of nips in (And a pint of "Dark Island" Orkney Ale) I took the air outside and stopped, astonished, as across the street was the very bar I had had my 1996 calamity. It had changed its name but was definitely the same bar. Our pub was adjacent to the massage parlour where I had managed to get a poster up - thus becoming the first ever performer to get a poster up in a massage parlour. The pub, now called the Footlights bar but formerly the "Footlights & Firkin" was also the scene - that year - that Peter Buckley Hill transformed Edinburgh at a single thrust by doing his show (At the end of the night) for free. Simon Dowd, Brendon Burns and myself all struggled to get audiences but Peter's was "Sold" out, packed every night. From this success, he built up, over many years, the Free Fringe to what it is today...

...And I am doing a show on it.

Obviously nobody else found this nearly as interesting as I did but it was an excuse for more rum. We got in there about 4pm. We were out of there by 6.30pm and I was MUCH the worse for wear. Sinbad and Davey had not been inconsiderate in keeping my emotions in check by keeping me topped up with rum. Anna went back to her hostel, I had a battered sausage and went to watch a female acoustic act for no ther reason than it would be soothing and might be the equivalent of a lullaby and help me drop off. It nearly did.

Oh and Nice Guy James was doing the teching for her. I think he was more surprised to see me at her show than I was to see him teching it, but nevertheless, it was surprising. It was windy when I left the University at mid day. This turned to bright sunshine mid afternoon. This turned to the heaviest rain I have seen so far this year at The Fringe. Fortunately the brolly I bought for a pound yesterday held firm. I nipped down to Canon's Gait where I enjoyed a beer with Bennet Arron and Paul Sinha. Frankly they paid me little attention as they were too caught up in a pointless yet entertaining argument over who was more fucked up. Bennet is a Welsh Jew and Paul is a gay Asian doctor. I'll give it to Bennet on points.

I decided to leave early, get a "sub of the day" and a cab home. This became a trek up the Royal Mile, fifteen minutes flyering for a comedienne with the surname Edwards, a near miss with buying a drink in a chav's bar (I changed my mind and left before I had ordered), a brisk walk home and a stop en route at the Newington Fish Bar where I ordered a haddock supper with mushy peas which I am enjoying as I type.

It might be a while before the next edition of this new baby as I am very busy tomorrow. oh and I never explained the "Bagpipes and Bongos" from yesterday's title. I was so heartily sick of the sound of bagpipes within my first day of being here that it was sweet relief when a bongo bloke drowned them out beneath The George IV Bridge yesterday about 2.15pm. Sadly he also drowned out all other sound in the world until he was told to move along by my new favourite Scottish community bobby.

...and he's not the "Bobby" you're thinking of either.

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