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Blog: Edinburgh: Day Five

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OUr fifth day dawned surprisingly UNRAINY - I popped over the road the the massive Sainsbury's to get some bread and saw that all the papers were reporting FLOODING everywhere, it had been a Record Downpour, so not just us feeling a bit damp - so The Path Of My Trail and I decided to HIKE up Arthur's Seat. We took a slight diversion to the correct route to it and ended up in a Garage Forecourt, but a very nice man told us the right way to get there - I keep reading about how people in Edinburgh are very anti the festival, but I must say everyone I've met has been LOVELY.

Anyway, after some more directions we got to the bottom of the hill and decided to take a shortcut, by CLAMBERING up the side This turned out NOT to be a shortcut, as the path would have been somewhat easier, but we got to the top bit PANTING for breath and INVIGORATED by our Adventurous Spirit. We walked up the rest of the way to the very top, and it was AMAZING. Fantastic views over this beautiful city and a STRANGE feeling of being right in the centre of things, also in the middle of nowhere.

We STROLLED back down and then home where there was LUNCH and then packing, for today was the day The Ladies were going home. We made for the bus stop in good time but then i PANICKED as it looked like nothing was coming for ages - they have an Estimated Time screen telling you when the next bus was coming but still everyone else in the queue was looking down the road . I thought this was a bit daft until a completely UNscheduled bus arrived and, much to my relief, took us into town. We had ANOTHER chat to a nice lady then hopped off and walked to Waverley, where we met The Hewitts.

The train arrived on time but took ten minutes to get going again as there were SO many people struggling to get on. I took The Wheels On My Shopping Trolley's big suitcase on and had a NERVOUS minute when I couldn't get off again - much as I enjoyed it last time I was there, I didn't really want to go to Newcastle!

All was well tho and we said our Tearful Goodbyes... then, true to stereotype, went to the pub. Here we watched some of the Olympic opening ceremony and Steve shared his OLYMPIC KNOWLEDGE (which is MIGHTY). We then nipped into the Fringe Office to see if i WAS scheduled to play on the Royal Mile on Saturday, and after about five minutes frantic computer work they were able to say "Yes!"

Back to The Medina, where I checked emails while Steve went and did his Magic Flyering, and soon it was SHOWTIME. I stood outside for five minutes before we started, so that anybody who'd come to see us but wasn't sure where the venue was would see ME and think "Aha! It's there!" It was a good job I did, as four of our ten person audience might not have found us otherwise! I also noticed a MUM dropping off three teenagers, giving them their tickets and saying "There you go, have fun" and was slightly surprised to see them come in to US. It was reported to me later that - NAUGHTY - they'd had a HIP FLASK confiscated by the bar man once inside. THOSE KRAZY KIDS!

The show seemed to go pretty well again - I did it BAREFOOT this time, which didn't seem to make much difference. I NOTED how DOING this is changing my PERFORMANCE STYLE too, as once again the people I could see clearest were the ones not laughing. Rather than get AFEARED as I have done in the past I concentrated on looking at the people who WERE laughing, and rather enjoyed myself doing so. ALSO it appears that when the show is QUIET it gets LONGER - Steve posits that this is because I keep putting in extra bits to try and generate more LARFS, and he may be right.

We packed up quick and dashed off to the Underbelly to see Richard Herring. I was a bit worried about this, as I LOVE reading his blog but have never seen him live, so it would have been somewhat disappointing if he'd been rubbish. Happily he wasn't, he was GRATE - it was EXTREMELY funny, but also quite poignant in places, very LYRICAL throughout and felt PROPERLY worked out and written. It DID have a structure that kept paying back with bigger and bigger laughs as he expanded it, right up to a PROPER ending, and the LANGUAGE was lovely. It sounds a bit daft to complement the use of LANGUAGE in a show that covered Adult Material like that, but it was refreshing to hear someone who'd put the EFFORT in to make it that good.

The only slightly uncomfortable aspect was that, for some BIZARRE reason, a party of PORTUGESE SCHOOL CHILDREN had booked tickets and their teachers had decided that they'd all sit on seats RIGHT on the stage. Mr Herring was a bit distracted by them CHATTING at the start tho dealt with it with JOKES, but throughout I could see the uncomfortable faces of the teachers sat in the bright lights of the stage. What on earth were they thinking?

On the way out I VERY briefly said thanks to Mr Herring for the inspiration to come up and DO a show then we went and had some chips stood near a man who MAY have been doing a daring piece of alfresco acapella, but also may have been a LOONIE, then went back for a BEER and to decide what to do next. The night before we'd got a flyer for a show which, apparently, would be about old films so headed to the Nicol Edwards to see it.

It wasn't on for another hour or so so we decided to watch the show beforehand, and went in... to discover we were in Edinburgh's Premier CHILDREN'S PUB. It was MUST SHOW ID CENTRAL, as EVERYONE in there was a) dolled up to the nines b) about SEVENTEEN, it was FRIGHTENING and we felt OLD. We DIVED into the venue to watch The After Dinner Society, basically two young comediands doing 25 minutes each, bookended by some fairly poor quality banter. The first guy was RUBBISH - he appeared to have no act at all, mostly talking to the audience and repeating whatever they'd said. When there WERE chances for LAFFS he didn't take them, and spent a large amount of time saying how dead the room was. HOWEVER, when the NEXT lad came on he was BRILLIANT. He was Joey Paige, in the words of Mr Hewitt, a Comedy Pete Doherty, but a LOT funnier than that would sound. We LARFED a LOT, and felt a bit sorry for the first guy having to play with him every night. I also felt sorry for him as he was STRUGGLING at the door with the CHILDREN in the main pub continually trying to get in to SQUEAL - when I went out for a WEE i had to practically FITE him to get the door open to come back in!

We came out to get drinks, and found that the GUINESS had just run out. I asked for San Miguel and THAT ran out at the same time! It was that kind of pub really, becoming NOISIER all the time and I have to admit I was a bit relieved we HADN'T gone for the Free Fringe in the end. I guess it wouldn't have been like this all the time at all the venues - it WAS 10.30 on a Friday night in The Youngsters Bar after all - but it did feel a bit ROUGH AND TUMBLE to me.

This feeling only increased at the start of the next show, when a bunch of Pissed Up Lads came in, sat right at the front and started making their own jokes. As ever with these sort of groups you could straight away spot their individual roles, from the Alpha Male to the GIGGLING PILLOCK who'd laugh at whatever he said. VERY happily they left after five minutes, loudly and GIGGLING at their leader, which was a bit of a relief. Well, a LOT of a relief, especially for the comedian.

He was yet ANOTHER of these comics who felt the need to do the first half of his show talking to the audience - why do they always do that? As stated before, it is nearly always RUBBISH, also EMBARRASSING - write some more material and you won't have to do it! He was OK, but also a lot of his show was about trying to WRITE the show which, again, several people seem to do. I wish they wouldn't, it just points out how little they've got to say and you can't help thinking that they could save everybody a lot of time if they DON'T have anything to do a show about to just NOT do one!

The next guy, however, was BRILLIANT. It was Dr Brown (not MY Dr Brown, a different one) who in theory was a Character, a Norwegian lecturer. He spent the first couple of minutes getting laughs with funny LOOKS and not speaking at ALL and pretty much carried on in that way. It's hard to explain, but he was just HYSTERICALLY funny, especially when he started laughing himself halfway through and had to stop himself. There was a brilliant couple of minutes when the whole room KEPT ON LAUGHING, led by a lad sat next to me who couldn't stop. He was another Pissed Up Lad who'd wandered in to see what was going on, but turned out to be LOVELY. Dr Brown got him up as a volunteer and the pair of them became an HILARIOUS double act with the lad, Ross, just joining in and doing his OWN funny looks. It sounds daft I know but it was HYSTERICALLY funny throughourt and when it was finished we all felt a bit PROUD of Ross for doing so well!

We fled TEEN CENTRAL and went into Bannermans where we drank Heather Beer and talked to some more young people - it was WAY past our bedtimes but everyone was terribly friendly and we had a long conversation with a young Irish Lad. I couldn't really understand him and he couldn't understand me, but it was all very friendly.

Then there was a STAND OFF - all DAY we'd been joking about going CLUBBING and suddenly neither of us wanted to say "Let's go home" - INDEED, Steve, having been a bit WAN earlier on, suddenly got his second wind so off we went to an INDIE NIGHT, where there were even MORE of The Young People. I lasted about half an hour before having to gracefully admit defeat, leaving Steve to the DISCO DANCEFLOOR, but it was still gone 3am by the time i got home. ROCK AND ROLL!

posted 11/8/2008 by MJ Hibbett

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