I’ve had no time to think about Edinburgh and start the morning rushing about the house in a semi-prepared state. Where’s my boarding pass? Where’s my bag? Where’s my third amusing thing for this opening rule-of-three joke? I can’t find one. Damn. After a mad dash to get to Gatwick two hours before my flight, I get through security in ten minutes, leaving me an hour and three quarters to kill.
Or, for accuracy fans, an hour and five sixths to kill. But who says, “An hour and five sixths”? No one. It would be a ludicrous and puzzling phrase to use. And would only slow down this text which I intend to keep as snappy as possible.
Anyway, I go to HMV and buy two Metallica albums for just over £8.
For me, last year’s Edinburgh was all about doing two shows a day then retiring to the hostel to listen to Ride The Lightening and Justice For All – classic era Metallica. At the airport I buy their new album, Death Magnetic – which is supposed to mark a return to form and a return to Thrash – and the ‘Black Album’ which is where the pussying out began. So these purchases neatly bookend the ‘a bit shit’ Metallica years.
I point this out to people when I arrive in Edinburgh but no one cares.
In the meantime though, I have a fried breakfast in the airport, then whist boarding have a quick conversation with a nice person called Vicky who is going to the fringe. We find we have mutual friends in common and recommend shows to each other.
The flight goes swiftly and I enjoy a cup of tea and the delicious oatey biscuit. This biscuit is the reason I fly with BA rather than get the train or whatever.
Arrive at Edinburgh airport, meet Vicky again and then lose her equally quickly. Get bus into town and send a text to Rich Heap to meet up and sort out accommodation. It is very sunny. Blue skies. Am I in the right city?
Meet Rich at Pleasance Dome. He had been picking up flyers for the Amused Moose gang show he is doing and is chatting to Maureen Younger.
Relate Metallica anecdote to little effect. Maureen departs.
We walk to the Edinburgh First Pollock Halls and check in. The campus is full of Americans affectionately shouting at each other to “SHUT UP!” Am I in the right city?
We go to our respective rooms. Unpack. Rich appears after a few minutes. His room is right next door to the Warden’s. We decide my room will have to be ‘The Party Room’. I point out that I have a copy of Andrew Marr’s Making of Modern Britain and am thus ready to party at the drop of a hat.
As long as the party involves quietly reading about inter-war Britain, that is.
We go back into town. I want to pick up our flyers for 3D Comedy. I know from last year that the flyers are in a little cupboard on the other side of the stage at the Counting House Ballroom. We go to the venue and climb the stairs. I put my ear to the door of the Ballroom to listen for sounds of a show going on. The door bursts open as I do and an improv ‘performer’ booms “DO YOU KNOW THE SECRET OF BLACKPOOL!?”
I reply ‘no’ as wearily as I possibly can.
“HE DOESN’T KNOW” he booms to the audience. They laugh. Hey, I’ve not even started our show but I’m already setting up the humour.
We take a wander and return to pick up the flyers when the amusing improvising is over and everyone has returned to their heavily-scripted everyday life.
Later, wandering down the Mile, we bump into two of the guys from the ‘other’ 3D Comedy: “Alistair Greaves, Darren Maskell and Laurence Tuck in 3D”. They have 3D glasses and it turns out that the faked 3D effect on our flyers actually works! Wearing the glasses, the picture of us actually appears a centimetre or so behind the text which pokes out toward you. If only I’d invested in a load of promotional 3D glasses. Oh well.
We wander down the Royal Mile and then, taking a shortcut we find Romesh Ranganathan, Rob Dumbrell and Alex Petrovic loitering down a dingy back street. Typical. We go for a quick drink.
It’s getting on for 9pm. Despite being in the middle of an international arts festival on a Saturday night, me and Rich decide to call it a night and head back to Edinburgh First.
I go to my room and read a bit of Making of Modern Britain. Bit too tired take it in. Not sure if Erza Pound is a man or a woman. Give up and go to bed.
I can already tell that this year’s fringe is going to be WILD.