On Friday morning, with no food or drink in the room, I set out for my first show. The only reason I could do this without some form of breakfast is that it was Shakespeare For Breakfast, where they do an hour-long absurd versio of a Shakespeare play and also provide you with a croissant and coffee/tea/orange juice. They’re not the best croissants in the world but I’ve done this show twice before and I was prepared – remember the jam I requested yesterday but didn’t eat? I used it for my croissant and very good it was too. I’ve previously seen The Taming of the Shrew with the Middletons and Hamlet as a ridiculous drama student. This year was Mac-Gary as an allotment society where one of the cast died dramatically backstage every time someone said Mac-Gary.
I went shopping afterwards, just some basics to survive the Fringe, pretty much all of which I proceeded to eat by the end of Friday, so that was good.
I met Tom up by the castle (eventually) afterwards and we roamed Edinburgh a bit. We spied a poster on the wall at the bottom of the Underbelly so we went in to see Quarter Life Crisis and then we roamed a bit more before separating for our late afternoon/evening shows – Tiff Stevenson, Ed Byrne and Andrew Maxwell for me. The George Square Theatre has the most comfortable seats in the entire city and I was very happy to sit in them for two hours in a row.
We met again afterwards and went looking for a relatively quiet pub – Edinburgh is never quiet in August and particularly not on a Friday night. We ended up at the Counting House, where there was live music (good guitar, bad singing) and a pair of real life DC supervillains sitting at the end of our table.
On Saturday, we went to see Janey Godley’s podcast live. That’s right on the other side of Edinburgh from where I’d been so far, so we ambled over quite early, had brunch (cheese toastie done right – neither soft nor burnt and with yellow cheese, not orange) before we went over to the theatre. This one was unusual – Janey Godley and Ashley Storrie were already on stage when the doors opened and they kept up a “preamble” for twenty minutes before the show began, chatting together, assigning random names to the audience as they came in, reassuring them that the show’s no started yet. I’ve never seen a podcast recorded – don’t know what I was expecting really but I enjoyed it a lot.
We headed back to the Royal Mile afterwards to find the Wyrd Shop. The sky was looking threatening and we were ready to dive inside the nearest shop, cafe or pub at any second to take shelter. But all it did for a while was continue to threaten without actually doing anything so we went into the Cocktail Festival, which did have cocktails but mostly had stalls and food stands. It was just a bit too early to eat again so we hopped round the corner home for a half hour phone charging break (my phone went from 100% battery to too flat to switch on within five hours!) before goingout for food. I got a cheese panini from the nice cafe on the corner and Tom got crab bite things which didn’t taste as good as they looked (or indeed contain as much crab as they claimed to).
We parted ways again, me for Nick Doody and BBC Presents and Tom for whatever was interesting and available at the Pleasance, before the Pleasance got evacuated and he gave up and came home.
When I got back, we went out for another drink, this time back at “our pub”, Holyrood 9A, just down on the corner below us.
I’m sure the entire population of Edinburgh didn’t roll a suitcase over the metal walkway above my room in the middle of the night but it sounded like it. People are apparently still arriving with their luggage at 3am and people start leaving with theirs at about the same time so these wheels are rumbling and crashing over the metal all night long. You get maybe fifteen seconds between them and then you start wondering if you can run outside in the middle of the night to shriek at the latest one. And every single door in the entire building slams. I’m so glad I wasn’t a student here and I’m never staying here again.