After yesterday’s pie-and-cancelled-gig shenanigans I needed the comedy gods to come up trumps today, and boy did they deliver. Sometimes you have to make your own breaks, and I did, but luck was also on my side, and I had the sort of day I wold happily groundhog.
I woke to find the slippery sensation that gripped my heart post-pie had all but gone, and pulled on my running shoes to attack the challenge of Arthur’s Seat. This is the big extinct volcano that rises up at the bottom of the Royal Mile and is a must-see for the able-bodied. I know several comedians, veterans of many Fringes who have never made it to the top. It’s a 40-minute walk (or thereabouts) up hill, and I was going to do my usual thing of running out for twenty minutes, and then twenty minutes back. I quickly discovered that Hawkins doesn’t do hills, at least, not at a jog, so instead I went around the foggy mountain, anti-clockwise, and after twenty minutes, thought there was little point in going back when I could push on and do a full lap. So it was that my day began with this sense of achievement.
After a shower, I went to Prince’s Street to buy trousers. The jury is still out on what colour they are. I’m calling them ‘tired peach’ but an audience member assured me they are in fact ‘brick’ and I don’t argue with audiences on matters of fashion. The centre of Edinburgh has been ruined by the tram works: for too many years the road’s been up, and it’s not finished, horribly over budget and makes one of the most beautiful cities in the world an eyesore. Quite apart from the global financial problems, Edinburgh City Council have made their very own mini recession here in Scotland. They might as well have written ‘corruption’ in gold ingots set into the Mile, it would’ve been cheaper.
I watched a bit of Andy Murray beating some Swiss bloke before heading down to the New York All Stars Comedy Showcase which I MCed. A slightly tricky gig, the audience liked the acts more than they liked me, but that is one of the breaks: you have to let the acts shine, so job done.
Then sleep, flyering in the rain in Grassmarket with Raph (no fights in the bars tonight, we were the only cabaret on offer) and we drummed up a small but generous crowd for our first night. It was huge fun, we both told stories, and it was really warm and friendly. The takings in the bucket at the end were enough for me to go out to the Dome where I met Laurence Tuck who took forever to place because he wasn’t in his usual suit.
Then up to the Turret to meet Stephen Amos and his assistant, Troy, who has been Stephen’s Passepartout on the epic tour he’s been doing in Australia, America and possibly the moon. Stephen was harassed for a photograph with a very drunk fan; immediately afterwards, I insisted on getting one too, but only if Stephen covered his face with his hands in order to protect his dignity. A brief handshake and hello with Brendan Burns, then down to Late & Live where Stephen was headlining. This is organised by a woman called Frehd, with whom I exchanged phone numbers.
Late & Live is legendary, and I can’t believe I’d get on the bill this year – but if Frehd believes the sort of publicity Stephen was dishing out, anything is possible.
No idea what time I got home, but if only all days at the Fringe could be like this one…