A city so beautiful it breaks the heart again & again
Alexander McCall Smith
Shows So Far – 35
Hangovers – 3
The Fringe is something of a garden of artistry, when come August every plant blooms at the same time. Some, like the Lady Boys of Bangkok, are perrenial & flower every year. Some, like the productions of Shakepeare, are ancient Yew trees, whose mother plant slowly spreads across the garden. As a flower is the beautiful result of a year of element nourishment, so a show is the end-product of a Company/performer’s perspiration – the veritable tips of the iceburgs of effort. As Im patrolling the Fringe, at every show I attend I am plucking a bloom & slowly arranging them in the bouquet of this blog, whose perfume fills the air as long as the Fringe continues, attracting punters bee-like to the shows with their pretty aromas. Then once the fun is over I shall preserve said flowers in an archive, to be enjoyed as pressed petals by posterity…
Today was a late starter, I didnt even stir til 3PM, by which time hundreds of shows had started, been played out, & concluded to varying degrees of applause. About 4.30 I stumbled up to Luke’s pad for a couple of bottles of wine – less a hair of the dog & more the whole coat! From there I proceeded to THE INFINITE DELUSIONS OF VICTOR POPE (5-27 – not wednesdays – 18.50) at the JEKYLL & HYDE for a spot of sound engineering. Day by day he is slowly honing his set, but even so the audience are deepely divided bunch. Some acclaim him a the greatest genius since John Cooper Clark, others’ walk out half-way throu shaking their head in disbelief. Meanwhile I’m banging a bongo & passing shaker makers out through the audience, forming something of a hippy jam-band. Victor’s set is a series of comedy songs, through which he dons articles of clothing to accentuate each number, from a dentists’ glove for his song My Dentist is a Psycho, to a medallion for his cover of Slick Rick’s number Treat her Like a Prostitute. This is probably the highlight of ths how, for just before singing it he gives us his top ten anti-comments for his you tube video of the song, among which are;
fucking gringo!!! is this whitey really trying to be Slick Rick? madra le! Someone had better shot this fake! ZERO MTR CREW
omg please die ASAP… slcik rick is 1 of my favourite rappers. dont ruin classics. funny tho…. as in laughing at u. not with u. lol @ irish accent
Word up! Fuckin white shit ass fucks!
After the show I went up the Cowgate & the wicked venue there, the subterraneanesque CAVES where Just for Tonic are hosting their shows. The one I attended is called MOONFISH RHUMBA (4-16, 18-28 – 20.30), a very comfy sketch show etched in the ether by a couple of cockney comdey comperes. With one guy plucking funky strains from his guitar & the other like oozing cool like a seventies pimp, they are like the bastard love children of the Flight of the Concords & the Two Ronnies. Very funny stuff & the audience loved them, especially when a number of the guys donned long wigs & joined them on stage for the lesbian song. I was sat – more led down on several chairs, actually, crusing off the liquer – at the back & while there I noticed the unsung heros of these shows. One guy was sat with a laptop on his lap, conjuring the complex sound effects with perfect synchronicity. By him was the sounds & lights guy, another vital cog to the show’s overall effect. We audience members rarely notice them, but where would the ‘stars,’ & the show, be without them!
I had a little time to kill before my last show of the day at THE MERCHANTS HALL, so kicked back down at the JEKYLL & HYDE to see this Irish comedian I’d been chatting to before & after Victor’s shows. His name is AIDEN KILLIAN, an immediately likeable young Dubliner, whose show TAKE THE RED PILL (4-28 / 21.21) has an interesting marketing gimic. He basically gives out red capsules of gelatine with his flyers, whose placebo effect had me raving the other day! The show is based upon his battle with the banks over a house they tried to reposses from him. The guy took them on, howvere, & won, resulting in both a very witty show & a warm feeling from the auidence as we connect with the common man. As it was a free show, come the finale he went to the door & took money from the punters as they left. He scored two tenners from two seperate guys on dates (who were obviously trying to impress their birds in an effort to get laid), & another £44 in coins. He says that’s a common amount, & he says he’s turning a small profit, so good on him.
For my last show of the day I was joined by the lovely-as-lillies Katie Craig at the MERCHANTS HALL on Hanover Street. We found ourselves amid very Georgian decor, with portraits hanging from the walls including an original painting of Mary Queen of Scots. The show we giggled through was CHIMPROVISATIONS b(4-20 – 22.30) by an amenable group of young ‘uns called MONKEYS WITH PUNS from Exeter. There are 4 guys & two girls & they take us on a fun ride of very funny sketches, before allowing a guest comedian the floor to break things up a little. Then they turn to improv games, including the one from Mock the Week where they have to give us ‘Things people wouldn’t say at a…’ They are an absolutely charming bunch, with as swift a wit as Ben Jonson & the ebbulience of a school outing, they crack the snappy whip of quipping with a fun-loving polish!
After the show me & Katie hit the Voodoo Rooms, whose classy bar seemed a perfect desert to our amusing main course. It was there that we met a couple of random punters to the festival – who are just as important to its life-blood as the performers. It was a father & son team, with dad a human rights lawyer & lad just about to start uni at the London School of Economics. They’d been in town a week & caught only comedy, seeing some of the leading names. The chances of me meeting them on another occasion are slim indeed, but loving our conversation it made me realsie that there is more to the Fringe than the shows – for here a vast cross-section of humanity mingles in festive merriement, & all who attend are enriched mightiy by the experience!