I started Saturday by trekking all the way up to Princes Street to poke around the shop, had a late breakfast of croissant with jam (in a little jar; I have taken the leftovers home to have with the croissant that will be provided at Shakespeare for Breakfast on Tuesday), apple juice & hot chocolate in Waterstones, in front of a massive window that overlooks Princes Street and the gardens. Then I went outside, got on a bus and went off to its mystery destination, which turned out to be the seaside to the east of Edinburgh. I didn’t go all the way to the end of the line – I got off at a suitable bit of beach, enjoyed the spectacle of what looked suspiciously like a perfect cone-shaped volcano in the east, played with the waves, was surprised by how clean the water is and how many blue mussels there were and then, eventually, went back because it was getting on for comedy time.
- Tiff Stevenson, in a nice cool room with a sparkly chandelier
- Adam Hills, who had a massive queue going all over the hill
- Nick Doody, in a fairly warm cellar
- Massaoke, a big late-night mass karaoke event
It was raining when I came out of Nick Doody’s show and as I walked home down the hill behind the Tron, I heard a man slip on the wet cobbles and shout to no one in particular in a Scottish accent “Oooh! I don’t want to die!” which was almost as hilarious as anything I’d heard in the last couple of days.
Massaoke was fun but too noisy for my taste and too late, because it started at half past midnight and finished at 3 (I didn’t stay until the end) and also, it was pouring with rain – really, really heavy rain – as I was walking down to the Gilded Balloon. In all the kerfaffigans when my clothes went missing on Thursday, I managed to forget to pack my waterproof trousers but it was ok! Long before I reached Greyfriars, my trousers were so wet I didn’t care about it any more. They were stuck to my legs and they couldn’t get any worse. There are building works where the Udderbelly should be and a footpath around the edges – a footpath that was totally flooded. Fortunately, I arrived a bit early and the queue was inside (although no one knew where, so everyone just stood around in bars and corridors and on stairs and waited to be told to go in) and I lurked and dried off and wondered if I looked like someone who worked there because I got asked questions and directions every five minutes, and I also spotted Jarred Christmas, Al Murray and Jay Foreman. The Gilded Balloon is clearly the place for comedian spotting.
The rain had stopped by the time I left, replaced by a really thick yellow fog. At least, I don’t know if it was really yellow or if it was just the lights around the Gilded Balloon that made it look yellow.
On Sunday I got up a bit late, went outside to get some food, discovered that it was painfully hot and sunny, ate food and then went to the pool.
I have many opinions on the pool. It’s a bit too cold. It’s inside. There are no hot tubs or hot pots or bubble baths or slides or anything. There’s a fifty metre pool divided into two pools by what I presume is a removable pontoon. There’s a not-quite-warm-enough baby pool that’s almost as big as a standard pool, if not quite as deep. There are diving boards – big diving boards and a big five-metre deep diving pool. But the actual swimming pools were interesting because someone stomped on the bottom of the shallower lane pool and it sounded hollow. So I investigated and I’m 99% sure that the bottom is removable to make it deeper. Maybe even frighteningly deeper. Some Icelandic lane pools are four or five metres deep at the deep end. I went in the baby pool, leaned against the wall and felt the pool breathing, so I investigated underneath. Another false floor and this one you can push out by nearly half a centimetre. You just stand there with your back against the wall and your feet or knees on the floor and you can feel the floor moving around.
I came back from my nice swim (I did swim! I didn’t just investigate the floors!), had some more food, read, had a nap and then went out for my quietest day, just the two shows
- Craig Campbell, who I want to adopt
- Andrew Maxwell, who I also want to adopt
I only had 45 minutes between those two and they were at opposite ends of the city – well, opposite ends of the bubble that contains 95% of the Fringe shows. I was a bit concerned about making it in time but Craig finished earlier than expected and then – because I had a bus day ticket – I caught the 3 from Princes Street across North and South Bridges to Nicolson Square, which is less than five minutes from Teviot Row, which is just to the north of Andrew’s theatre, so I actually had 35-40 minuets to kill chatting to two ladies in the Gilded Garden – they’re seeing opera and spoken word and “heavy plays” and a bit of comedy and asked things like “and what sort of show is that?” when they asked what I’d seen and enjoyed. “Well…. it’s stand-up comedy. Pretty much everything I’m seeing is stand-up comedy.”