We stayed overnight at an outstanding Bed and Breakfast called the Moorhouse. We had had to choose our breakfast the night before and had ticked a few items on the list. This morning we discovered that the things we’d ticked were pretty much meals in themselves. It was very hard to get through the banquet of smoothies, pancakes, croissants, bacon and eggs and courgette with pesto (which I had ordered to keep my veg count up). Jane, the owner said, “If you starve to death in Yorkshire, you only have yourself to blame”.
I have played the Live Theatre in Newcastle on my way up to the Fringe for pretty much every show I’ve done this century. I drove into the city feeling excited and filled with hope for what is to come. Both shows are in reasonable state with a little work to do before the Festival begins and at this stage it’s possible to dream of success, nice reviews and sold out venues. Even if I don’t get any of those things I am very pleased and slightly surprised with what I have achieved. If there was any justice in the world I would be rewarded for my hard work. But there are thousands of people heading north right now and many will have worked as hard and most of us are going to be disappointed.
Not many of them will have been going up to the Fringe quite so relentlessly though. I mean surely this year I’ve got to win Spirit of the Fringe, right? Approaching 40 shows (full list here) and so far my only awards nod has been a nomination for the LWT writing award for (I think) Excavating Rita. Though apparently requesting that you win the Spirit of the Fringe award is against the spirit of the Fringe. But I am the fucking spirit of the fucking Fringe and anyone who says I am not is a fucking prick. Fuck the Edinburgh Fringe. Fosters tastes of piss.
And that will be my acceptance speech.
But I have learned in all my years that there is something more important than being nominated for awards…. I can’t remember what it is now. I will get back to you on that. This year I am setting up my own awards for best show, best performer, best play and spirit of the Fringe and I don’t want to preempt things until I have seen all the competition but the rumours are that I am in the running for all of them. If I don’t even win these awards (which seems likely) then I might just accept defeat and never come again. That will teach you all. What do you mean no one noticed? I’ve wasted my life.
I am really looking forward to the Fringe though. And it was a great crowd tonight and the show felt like it was funny again. I put a few old jokes at the top which helped ease things in. I have to replace them with some new jokes by Wednesday. Writing one liners is the hardest thing for me so I might have left it a bit late to come up with three new ones, but we’ll see.
I am, it turns out, a man in a vacuum and maybe that’s a good thing to be.
Afterwards I headed back to my hotel and my wife. Last year I had drunk martinis in the bar alone and although I haven’t had a drink for over 3 months, it suddenly felt like the right time to change that. I didn’t really give up drinking, I just had too much on to risk the hangovers. And I haven’t missed it. But as a symbolic gesture it seemed like the right time to celebrate with one drink. In these three months I have created two shows, one of which involves martinis. I felt like I should toast that success and my period of abstinence with one drink.
It was a nice moment, though I didn’t get a buzz from the booze, nor feel the desire to have another and I am doubtful that I will drink much (if at all) in August. It’s been a tough three months and maybe it will turn out to be a tough four months or maybe people will come and things will go nicely. I enjoyed sitting in this little bubble of calm not knowing which way things are going to go.