The Edinburgh Diaries 2011 – Day 4 – Thursday 18 August

All too soon, it was our final day at the festival. We had to leave our lovely flat behind us. And it WAS very lovely. It seems churlish that the bit I found most interesting was a fire alarm that had been painted over.

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“Break where?”

We had to be out of the flat by 11am. We ate as much of the remaining food in the fridge as possible. I had my last Empire Biscuit. For the purposes of this blog, I wish I’d dropped it. Because then I could say that the Empire Biscuit had fallen. And the Empire Biscuit had been broken up. But rather than create any nice concluding metaphors, I just ate it.

As we left, we saw Stewart Lee pushing a pram. He had stopped to look into the bookshop over the road and talk to his infant. I felt vaguely guilty as if I were intruding on his privacy. Although, if anything HE was the one loitering outside MY flat. Looking at a bookshop, indeed. Looking at a bookshop, my foot. Perhaps he was just looking for a great toilet book.

We checked out of the flat and left our suitcases at the accommodation office for the day. Our flight left at 9pm.

Outside, we bumped into Jon Wayne Connolly and we walked over to The Newsroom to see Three Blokes with a Joke. We had an hour to kill before the gig. Kerry had some John Lewis vouchers and had asked several times if I wanted to go and look at shoes with her. Now, as much as I love looking at shoes, I thought it would be rude to abandon Wayne. So Kerry went to look at shoes on her own. And, with the utmost reluctance, I sat in the pub for an hour and drank a beer.

But that’s me: always putting others first.

Mari and Kathryn turned up. And Keiron. And Amanda. And Nicky. And lots of people we didn’t know. The room was pretty packed. As there was nowhere else to go, Keiron, Kerry and I ended up in the front row which was pretty intimidating. For the comics.

We know them well and it can sometimes bit a little strange doing stand-up in front of your friends. Whereas, as a punter, it’s easy to sit in the audience and laugh. And we did laugh a lot. The lovely Lloyd Griffith compered, with the coquettish Robin Buckland opening and the righteous Romesh Ranganathan closing. Very good stuff.

Next we laughed at Mary Bourke in The Street – that’s the name of the venue, I honestly hadn’t just started following comedians down the road.

Mary was also excellent. Joke after joke after joke after joke. It’s amazing that both these shows were on the free fringe. There are some real treasures out there.

Of course, some of it can be shit. But the same goes for full-price gigs. It’s all subjective, isn’t it? As the saying goes, “One man’s shit is another man’s hit”

Not literally.

We were thinking of cramming in some more shows before we left, but the two we had seen had been so good, we decided to take the rest of the afternoon off. Kerry, Kerion and I went to the pub for a drink and a natter.

We could have stayed there all day, but the office with our luggage closed at 7pm so Kerry and I had to leave Keiron and make a last minute dash to pick up our bags. With a whole half an hour before check in, we figured we had time to squeeze in a final meal so we stopped off at a Nepalese restaurant on Cockburn street and had chicken lollipops, momos and a garlic chilli chicken curry thing.

As the bill arrived we found we had only half an hour before our flight. I started fretting. The bus would never get us there in time. We jumped into a taxi, ran into the airport and got through security just as the gate was due to close. Our flight was delayed. I should have known there’s no need to rush with Easyjet: the jets are always taking it easy.

I was a bit hung-over on the flight. Then it was: Gatwick, train, taxi, home.

For the first time, I was a bit sad about being back in Brighton. Our stay in Edinburgh had been very brief and Brighton seemed uncharacteristically dull by comparison. But it had been a nice holiday, lots of food, drink, chats and seeing shows with no flyering or pressure. Though next year, I’d like to do a bit more comedy.

I still have one memento of the trip: the Pot Porridge. I’ve not been brave enough eaten it.

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