Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Lift Off

Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Day 1: 15th August

I want to start with a shootout to the bar guy in Weatherspoon’s in Glasgow who, when serving the person on the table next to me, put down the plate and loudly declared the arrival of a ‘full SCOTTISH breakfast’ before locking eyes with me for about two seconds. Reader, I wanted to marry that man. Still, I finished my 7th cup of tea that morning (refills, why wouldn’t I?) and headed off to Central Station to go to Edinburgh. I was then promptly pointed in the direction of a shuttle bus to Queens Street Station which is some what less pleasing than Central, but that's fine..

Let’s not mince words, Edinburgh is a STUNNING city. I mean, well done Glasgow for having a strong red-brick astatic, and I defiantly grooved on the whole aesthetic of Central, but I mean... Edinburgh. Golly. I’m already in love and planning a trip here off season. There is no way I’m not going on several of those touristy ghost walks whilst I’m here either. A gorgeous mashup of gothic and medieval styles, winding cobbled streets and stone stairs, it’s breath-taking, full of character, and cuts down on those annoying scooters children seem to be very into at the moment. Without much issue I got to the venue, which is out of the way (bad) and trendy (could be bad, could be good). Lots of untreated wood and brickwork in an old church and courtyard. I am IMMENSELY relieved to find a place to dump my bag. One of my props is a massive sledgehammer. I’ve been dragging it around since London and it HURTS. The room itself is a good size. A little narrow and long for my show but as I’m not expecting big numbers that shouldn’t be a problem. I like the idea of the Free Fringe.Looking around at the shows available it's clearly a massive grab bag of styles, weird ideas, hopefully newcomers, and seasoned performers giving Edinburgh a go. It feels like a fringe event, unlike so many of the slicker productions I've already seen on my way here. I decided to just nip out and pick up a few things before chilling out.

Look mum, I've made it!

Look mum, I've made it!

MANY cobbled, stone bricked hours later I return. The practicality of Edinburgh seems to be directly and inversely proportionate to my venue location. I start to wonder if perhaps everything seems so far away because of the instance on using stone to build things? After all, bricks are smaller. I know that sounds weird, but hear me out; if you want to build two model houses, one out of Lego and one out of Duplo, but you want the same amount of floor space, then the Duplo house will be considerably larger than the Lego house. Put six of each in a row and the Duplo line is going to be much longer. So that, I believe, is Edinburgh’s problem*.

The two shows before mine are back-to-back magicians as well. This worried me a little as, unlike stand-up, a magician will often require set up time, as well as take down. With a 25 minute turn around between my show and the one before mine, I’m a little nervous and, on my first night, the inevitable happens. I’m turning people away, asking them to come back in five minutes. Luckily my friend David Narayan had come along for some moral support on my first night. And because I’d asked him to. I’d actually decided not to flyer as, not having performed the show before, I wanted to do a dry run. In the end I got 5 punters.

I thought my show went pretty well. It was messy and I had a few things in the wrong place, but for a first shot I didn’t think it was too bad. Cue a bit of a debrief with Dave as I pack up before racing back to my friends in Glasgow who had given me a bed for the night.


*And you didn’t even know it had a problem.

Paul's Edinburgh Fringe show “Illusions of Depression” will be showing at Tollbooth Market, Gladstone’s Court, EH8 8BN from the 15th August to the 25th August.

Paul ReganComment