Edinburgh Fringe Diary Day Four. Or is it five?
The Edinburgh fringe is hard work. It’s a fourteen hour a day job mostly spent out of doors. The flyering is conducted in a sea of humanity, people from all over the world in anoraks and rain macks, holding umbrellas aloft, wearing earphones, desperate not to get flyered. It’s physical and it’s relentless. There are hills everywhere, and cobbles. It’s impossible to walk in a straight line because of all the hills and the cobbles and the tourists but every now and then you might meet someone who seems genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
Yesterday was possibly my best ever day at the Edinburgh fringe in six years or so. I flyered all morning with Rob Barratt for our show at Banshee Labyrinth, which is my favourite venue in Edinburgh just for its sheer quirkiness, but also because the performance space is amazing and atmospheric. Nervously, with five minutes to go, we hung around outside the venue and it looked like there was nobody interested. Rob went inside to prepare our space, when a group of people arrived for our show. And what a show we put on! Rob whipped the audience into a frenzy with his audience participation poetry, and my material went down really well too, and we made such a great atmosphere that I wished every show could be like this. We were funny, whimsical, charming, non threatening and generally made everyone feel great, and that made me feel great, too.
I spent the afternoon in my student accommodation rehearsing for the BBC slam, in which I as entered. This meant that I couldn’t do any flyering until twenty minutes before my actual show. I arrived at the slam, met the other wonderful poets including the amazing Carys Hannah, and took a deep breath, and went for it. As luck would have it, I was drawn last, and for my first poem I did Beard Envy. And the audience seemed to like it a lot! I got through to the next round, amazingly, during which I was first on, and I did, ha ha, the Orgasms poem. Once again the audience seemed to love it, and afterwards I did think to myself, gosh, have I just gone to the BBC and spent three minutes talking about orgasms? Alas, it was not good enough to get through to the final, but I had an amazing time and it really made me feel upbeat.
I then hurried over to my venue and did a frantic twenty minutes of flyering, fully expecting that I would be going home early with no audience, and I didn’t mind, as I was pretty exhausted. Y now. My flyering was somewhat interrupted by the spectacle of watching a man dressed as a clown drive his Nissan Micra into the pedestrianised zone and get pulled over by the police. Amazingly, I ended up having the best audience of my fringe so far! How on earth does that happen?
Admittedly, a lot of them had come specifically to see me. How they found my is anyone’s guess, as I’m not in the Free Fringe brochure, but they’d seen me at various gigs all around the Uk, in Cheltenham, Wolverhampton and Swindon, and they told me afterwards that they even quoted the Fozzie poem to each other at odd moments. This made my day, as it proves that there are Robheads in places other than south Devon!
So I did the show and it was probably my best performance yet. And it made me feel amazing! The audience lingered around afterwards to chat, which is always a good sign.
It’s the next day now, and I’m writing this while I’m waiting for my laundry. It’s been an astounding week so far!