Thursday, 26 August 2010


Despite the very restful evening (I did indeed stay in, only nipping out about 11pm to get Singapore-style noodles), I still missed breakfast with some ease and fortunately my voice had recovered a little more. This was a good job because I had an extremely busy day ahead.

I got out of my room earlier than usual having successfully showered, shaved, tidied and sorted out emails etc. I also enjoyed listening to my Punky! radio co-host do the show on his own. But that's a private joy for me and not to be discussed (Rather like "Shaggers"). Although I was doing Edcom in The Pleasance Courtyard at one o'clock I took a minor detour down Nicolson Street to go to my favourite Subway by The Festival Theatre, now armed with my loyalty card. Wednesday and Thursday are my favourites. The "Sub Of The Day"s are ,respectively, Turkey Breast & Ham and the astounding Italian BMT. I ate in the shop (I had time) and accrued a massive 66 points on the card (it's triple points for the first month - cowafuckingbunga). In the developed world I care little for money-saving when it comes to food, but in Scotland I scrimp and save like a wee schemie.

I got to The Pleasance early and was passed by Richard Stilgoe. I'll be perfectly honest with you. I thought he was dead. Edcom was hosted by Susan Murray and she gave me a lovely intro, I had a great gig performing the best bits of "Hung Parliament...", working on the basis that none of them were going to go straight from there to mine. I was just about right. I didn't get to Cowgate until gone half past one and got a couple of quizzical looks from the already arrived Alan (Count Chavula) and comedian Paul Savage who (bless him) had put out the chairs for me in the venue. Yesterday's biscuits were still in the amp and I was good to go. I flyered the best I could and saw my flyboy Chris up the street with his right foot on a wall, James Dean style, head bowed and limply holding my flyers out like an emo tramp selling the Big Issue. He's worth his weight in gold.

Only having a short amount of time to advertise did mean I expected a smaller turnout than on Tuesday and sadly I was right, clawing in twenty people, including the lovely Marnie (Geoff Whiting's wife) and her evil MILF buddie who had nearly killed me with Rothmans a couple of days previously. She was named and shamed during the show, everyone had a good time, my guest (Robbie Bonham) was terrific (And had interesting Hitchin-related news for me) and we all got out of there with our heads help high. Not a bad bucket as well which I suspected would be important as I was out for the duration.

Next stop The Gilded Balloon. I had a comp ticket for Andy Linden's "I Kid You Not" show. It's terrifying. I went with Nick Wilty (up here for a couple of days laughing at everyone going mad) and by the end of it we came close to holding each other's hands for comfort. Andy tells a story abour being made to kill a pig in Cuba, is a terrific actor and frankly became the dying pig. The entire audience looked on in shock. It's a rather powerful event. Terry Alderton would have called it "An Interesting piece". I'd recommend it to anyone.

Anyway, that came and went and we had a beer with Andy, his wife and hilarious little son (He wasn't on the beer) after the show. She's called Liz, used to do Stand Up and is also fabulous. Then Nick decided I was his new best mate and accompanied me to The Pleasance to see Matthew Hardy's "Veruca Salt" which is a play featuring himself and Julie |Dawn Cole. Nick made so many new best friends on the way to the gig with me that despite an hour and a half to do a ten minute walk we were still fucking late and missed the first minute, much to my chagrin.

Note to self: Don't walk anywhere with Nick Wilty.

It's brilliant. It's a really weird and dark and funny and entertaining and sharply observed and everything else that makes something good and heart warming oh and Julie Dawn Cole is in fact the original Veruca Salt in the original Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (The one with Gene Wilder). Obviously we had a beer with them afterwards  and she said, rather coquettishly, "I got your email". This is to do with a business idea we had the other day (When I didn't know she was the real Veruca Salt). Anyway I gave her a kiss on both cheeks as I left because I wanted to tell everyone I had kissed Veruca Salt.

It was now about twenty to nine which meant I had exactly twenty minutes to do a twenty-one minute yomp up to The Dragonfly at the other end of Grassmarket to be guest compere at "The Bald And The Beautiful". I was the baldest guy there, there were twenty people in who had handily, Noah's Arc style, come in two-by-two.

Two Canadians
Two Kiwis
Two Scottish
Two English
Two Spanish
Two more English
Two Welsh
Two Irish
Two Americans
Two more English.

I took the piss out of all of them, had a great laugh, put the first act on and went to get a beer. She was angry with me for doing too well at the start. I hadn't done it on purpose. The next act asked me if I would "Do a bit" before him to get the audience buzzing again. I did (I worked really hard at this show), David Whitney called (I answered the phone on stage) and then I caught said act doing the international sign for "Wind it up" so put him straight on. He was obviously angry with me for doing too well at their show. It was just one of those things. They're new acts and I've been doing this for the best part of twenty years. I'm not particularly showing off about this, it just comes down to experience and I've got a lot more. At the end of it all I forced the crowd to put every spare penny they had into their bucket and left without taking any of it. I had another long dash to get down Canongate to do PBHASC. I had twenty minutes to do a twenty one minute journey.

Running through Edinburgh with a guitar on your back is bad enough but when you get to your next gig and realise they've started late and you could have walked it is just a monumental piss off of the highest order.

I have no idea who was on in the first half but Bennett Arron was compering and said it wasn't that great. The second half was identical to my first appearance there and this time I have remembered the guy-on-before-me's name. He is called Nick Hodder. He has some excellent jokes and some really funny ideas but he's a rough diamond and didn't do as well as before. I again closed with the best bits from "Hung Parliament" as it was now 11.30pm and I knew no-one in their right mind would be at the show today.

David Whitney called again. This could only mean one thing - the Loft Bar loomed large.

I met up with him further up The Royal Mile, again had to beg the manager of Opium to let me in to Base to put my guitar in (The doorman said to me, when asked, that tonight's manager was called Ian and I would recognise him because he had a tattooed head) and we hot-footed it up to the Gilded Balloon. Straight into the Loft (I had to show my pass, grr) to be surrounded by some of the usual suspects, Veruca Salt, my agent Joss, Andy Linden, Matt Hardy, basically all the people I'd seen all day and then a load more. I got a text from an old friend, a phone call from Tiddles (The man who runs the doors of Hitchin) to tell me he was also in Edinburgh and doing security in Festival Square), information from Verity Welch that I did NOT need regarding her "Significant Other" Paul Ricketts (Very funny), put the world of comedy to rights with Jools Constant, caught up with Janey Godley and her daughter Ashley, missed Phill Jupitus, didn't get in to Late & Live, drank a load of booze and had a couple of fags when my agent wasn't looking.

Also, in the midst of an "Isn't Edinburgh odd" conversation with Veruca Julie (I doubt she would like that title but she's a game bird) I said I had seen Richard Stilgoe in The Pleasance courtyard that afternoon which surprised me because I thought he was dead. She remarked

"Oh he's looked like that for years, darling".

I got chips and cheese on the way home because it was the only thing the takeaway would sell me, scoffed it in transit and hit the sack about quarter to four in the morning. It had been quite a day.

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