Everyone’s gone to the festival. I am bereft.
I am gutted that I won’t be able to spend my time in a damp cave for a month, rotting my clothes, my lungs and my passion for comedy. I am gutted that my best friend Stephanie Bartlett* won’t be able to come to another show and comment on how far into a dark corner I should place myself this year, and I am mostly gutted that I won’t be able to piss away several thousands of pounds.
It’s weird not going. I mean, I know by the time all the reviews come out, and everyone starts getting the Edinburgh flu and malnutrition sets in, that I’ll still have a pang of jealousy, even though I am under absolutely no pressure, I won’t have to make that decision to know whether the press are in on that day, and whether we should rewrite that bit of the show because for the last three days, at least two people over the age of 60 have walked out whilst I mime slapping myself in the face with a cock.
The first time I went to the festival with a show, was in 1991. (The fact that some of you won’t have even been born then makes me sick). I went up with a show called Priceless. It really was. It was shit.
It was a movement/masked piece, yep, about the brain. I was a messenger that worked in the brain, and it was my job to deliver messages to the feet to make them work. I won a prize as being the best messenger and I was awarded a pair of golden running shoes that I then had to perform a solo dance with. Our venue was in the original Gilded Balloon, which was a church that had a high stage.
My ‘mask’ was made of papier-mâché sculpted from a massive balloon. I was doing my ‘ballet’ piece whilst kneeling on the floor, and as I graced the audient with my rendition of Swan Lake, using the shoes, I accidentally misjudged the edge of the stage, and one shoe feel off. There was at least a five foot drop, and I had to just improvise using the one shoe, whilst desperately looking to see where the hell the other one had gone. I couldn’t see jack shit as the eye holes were smaller than a gnat’s urethra. As I patted the floor like Velma from Scooby Doo, when she loses her glasses, this hand appeared in my eye line at the front of the stage, and the shoe was casually placed back on the stage by the stage manager who’d run round, crawled along the floor, and tried inconspicuously to place the shoe back on the stage, whilst I was fumbling around holding the one shoe like I was on the set of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest. At the same time the shoe reappeared, I looked down, and saw three golden shoes. The props woman, had taken off her trainer, sprayed it gold, and had chucked it on the stage, and now I was challenged with having to do a dance routine, blind, with three bloody shoes. It was a total shower of shite. 2 ** from the scotsman. But I had a ball.
Then of course there was the time I was up in 2000, performing in a show called Chaucer in the Sky with Diamonds, where I played a paedophile fisherman, but lets not dwell on that. (The Observer awarded it ‘Worst Show On the Fringe’, which I am particularly proud of).
This is a photo of the successful show Priceless. You will see me on the left hand side as the ‘feet’ character. Try and spot what we’re trying to act out in this shot.***
Anyway, what was my point? Oh yeah. Despite how hard it is. Despite how draining it is, both emotionally and financially, it is by far my most favourite thing I have ever done, and will ever do, hopefully. I am jealous of my mates who get to suffer this august. And I wish them all the best of luck, and hope that when that ‘day’ comes, the one where you wake up and think ‘I can’t do it today. I just can’t. Fuck this shit up the arse, I just want to get drunk.’ Then, know this. Everyone is feeling the same at one point or another, and it is ok to feel like that.
Please will you all have a Well Hung Burger for me please? My colonic therapist is still drilling away at my lower bowel to get out the remainder of that cow I ate last year.
Good luck chums and gods speed.
If you’re going up this year then make a special point of going to see my mates, amongst others:
Kiri Pritchard-Mclean & Pete Otway
Michael J Dolan
This lot are on all month and are bloody aces and you wont be disappointed.
*Evil reviewer. I haven’t forgotten you Stephanie. I will find you one day. Hopefully in a Wetherspoons. And I will haunt you when I die**
**Not that I’m bitter or hold a grudge.
*** We’re acting out a pair of eyes here, using the medium of physical mime. I know. I am an eyeball. Clever. No, no one in the audience got it either.