If I had those fancy shoes that could talk to my iPhone, they would tell you I ran around Arthur’s Seat in 32 minutes. And then they would say, ‘Now get this fat bloke off me.’
After recovering from my early morning virtue (which involved a deeply sinful bacon and egg breakfast), I relented and put ‘Fopp’ into my iPhone. Alarmingly, it directed me to where I thought it was and had walked past yesterday. I approached the road with trepidation: if it was there, something catastrophic was happening in my brain. Or perhaps it was a pop-up Fopp. Thankfully, it still wasn’t there, and must’ve closed down since my last visit to Edinburgh. I was still patting myself on the back when I got to the other Fopp, and realised I had browsed around it some time last week.
So the jury is still out as to whether I’ve gone mad and/or senile. As an act of perversity, I bought DVDs of Robin Williams and Dylan Moran stand up for me to watch in my room, alone, in the middle of the planet’s biggest comedy festival.
John Conway runs a gig at the Cabaret Voltaire at exactly the same time as Raph’s improv show in the next room, so I was able to use my line, ‘It’s hard to do comedy when you can hear people in the distance having a good time.’ I closed the show for John with my opening ‘bad gig’ routine which went down a storm. Such a lovely audience for that time of day. And it’s a good story – as Raph says, there’s a lot going on.
I managed to catch some sunshine in Holyrood Park, did the laundry, and walked to the gig with Raph, stopping en route to pick up his ticket for Daniel Kitson tonight. These are like gold dust. Indeed, the whole transaction – ducking into a litter-strewn doorway, climbing a steep spiral staircase and being ushered into an insalubrious little flat – was more like a drug deal than your average theatre box office.
Walking down to Grassmarket, we bumped into Preston Nyman, his parents Sophie and Andy, and the Wisemans, a lovely encounter marred only by the Scotsman shouting at us for blocking the pavement. A quick farewell to Preston – he leaves tomorrow – and a hello again to Andy who I last met in strange circumstances, watching a Korean horror film in a flat in Marylebone. Andy has subsequently won an Olivier award, and Preston has all the makings of a great comic. It would be immodest for me to claim responsibility for any of this, but, well, just saying, it’s a bit of a coincidence, no?
Grassmarket was deserted. We were up against the closing ceremony of the Olympics – I’m completely conflicted because it feels like its gone by in the blink of an eye, and yet that night up at BBC London for the opening ceremony feels like a lifetime ago. So we were expecting a quiet night, and weren’t disappointed when four people showed up.
Four is, apparently, the average number of audience in a Fringe show, and we had a far from average show. I assured them I’d rather have the right four than the wrong thirty, and it was all jolly from there on. Being so intimate, there was a lot of audience interaction, I spun off in little diversions and covered unexplored territory. The audience had, it must be said, a great time. It was more like fireside story-telling (which suits my style well) and there was a freshness and liveliness about it. Bearing in mind how many times we’ve heard each other, Raph and I both found plenty to laugh at in each others’ sets, the bucket was very healthy at the end of the show, and I would not have been embarrassed had a promoter, agent, scout or award judge turned up.
Check out Magdalena Reising who filled the room with her laughter and banter, told us we were (again) one of the funniest things on the fringe, and is performing herself at the Jazz Bar in Chamber Street, 7-8pm, 10-18 August.