Perhaps the pressure of the Fringe is already getting to me, or maybe I am just a bit tired. I have woken up early every day so far, but had to today as I was heading up to the Royal Mile to go live on Sky News. Luckily I realised before going on air that this morning I had put on two pairs of sunglasses. Not both over my eyes - I am not that idiotic, but clearly I had picked up one pair and placed them on top of my head whilst in the darkness of the flat, forgotten that I'd done that and then picked up another and put that in my hair as well. I'd also put my headphones on so one pair of the sunglasses had got trapped towards the back of my head and finally fell off. But the people of Edinburgh must have thought I was very eccentric, or that I believed I was so famous it would take two pairs of sunglasses to make me anonymous.
I had a little ear piece in to talk to the lady back in the London studio, but it was not working at all well and I had to keep my finger in my ear like an Alan Partridge and still struggled to make out what she was saying. I think she claimed that people were losing £30,000 at the Fringe, but I corrected her. It wouldn't be right if Sky News just lied about stuff. I didn't think of shouting out "Rupert Murdoch is a big hairy fanny" until later on. It would have been embarrassing if I'd done it though. I imagine the nice people who were filming me would have been annoyed. But it would have probably got me some good publicity for the show (and meant I never appeared on TV again). Russell Brand would have done it.
I managed to fit in a swim before the podcast with David Baddiel, which went well. I had listened to the RHLSTP to attempt to avoid repetition, but alas David hadn't and so there are a couple of repeated stories, but loads of revelations and good new bits. I enjoyed the idea of the Queen having to make all coins by pushing her face into tiny bits of molten metal. Colin was back in his usual front row seat. He has been to quite a few of the podcasts. I joke about him being a ghost that only I can see and occasionally his slightly intense expression can freak guests out. But he is a very nice man and game for a laugh and seems to put up with my jokes about him. He keeps returning, so he either likes it or is preparing a dossier of my abuse.
On the way to the evening show I thought I would be clever and take a short cut up to the Pleasance by cutting down the road behind the station (it features in the first few minutes of Trainspotting - Ewan McGregor runs down it and is nearly run over by a car coming out of a tiny side road). It's actually a longer distance, but it's quicker as it's usually almost entirely empty of people, whilst the more popular bridge route is so thronged with pedestrians that the only way to progress is to risk walking in the road. Also as there aren't many people around I can practise my Hamlet speech as I walk up the secret back route.
I always think I am tempting fate and that I might get run over like Ewan McGregor, but death used that false distraction to lead me into another trap. Edinburgh has many levels to it and as you approach the station there is a huge bridge arching over the tiny thoroughfare. When I was about 20 feet from this bridge I saw something falling from the great height and smashing to smithereens on the road ahead of me. Someone had just dropped or more likely chucked a bottle off of this huge bridge and had I been ten seconds ahead on my journey that might very well have come crashing down on my head, where it would almost certainly have killed me. Have you seen the film Sliding Doors. Shit isn't it?
It might have been an accident (though it's highly unlikely) and I am pretty sure the person who threw the bottle was not aiming at anyone (as there was no one near), but also with the way that bridge works it would be very hard to see what was below (especially if someone was walking from under the bridge in the other direction). A mad moment of thrilling but pointless risk which could have wrecked the life of some unlucky soul and the person who dropped the object. And bringing home to me just how random life and death can be and also the ironic glee that would greet the news of my death whilst I am doing a show about it. Some would say that God or fate was punishing me. That it was revenge for Christ on a Bike. But in that case God must be working on some back-log of dealing with this stuff and is using very inefficient methods of dispatch.
But the really spooky thing was that as I crossed under the bridge who should be walking in the opposite direction, a small smile playing on his inscrutable lips and the usual intense stare. It was Colin. Unless he can teleport or has a parachute then it can't have been him who threw the bottle (though I think in court he could have argued that he had been incited to this retribution), but how strange that a man who may be a ghost was right on hand so soon after I nearly joined him on the other side. Perhaps I did get hit and haven't realised I am dead and that all the people I can see are also dead.
Anyway, lucky escape.
And I was amazed to see my name on the sold out board tonight. Given the first two nights the room had been less than half full this was quite a leap up. There are 340 seats in the venue, meaning that I sold 120 more tickets than for the show on the first Friday last year. So that's a good sign. It was cheaper tickets, but so were the last two days. The last ticket offers are two for ones on Monday and Tuesday. I think Monday has already sold out, so if you want a bargain and are in Edinburgh on Tuesday then book fast.
The show went well. I forgot to set up one early joke that I then back-referenced later, then having to admit, "that was a call-back to a joke I forgot to do tonight", but audiences love that kind of thing and laughed at me. Railways and the Holocaust is probably the routine that is getting the biggest laughs, but again someone left at the end of it tonight (though I think they might have come back in, so it was probably a toilet break). The last two routines went better, but I am still not totally on top of them. But the rest of the show is loosening up and I am being playful with it and I think this is shaping up to be one of my best shows. I am really enjoying it anyway and glad that I am managing to keep positive. Reading back over that entry for the equivalent day from last year I can see that my head was already down. This year I was feeling calm and happy even on the first couple of nights when my numbers were low.
And every second I live now is a gift from God after I came so close to having my brain caved in and my last sight being Colin leaning over me wondering if I am OK.