There has been one ladies shoe sitting on the pavement at the top of the road where my flat ever since we got here last Monday. Like a dead Harpenden crow lying on a grass verge the local inhabitants have felt no need to pick it up and throw it in a bin. I saw it as a good luck totem. And most of my shows have been good and so I think it's reasonable to conclude that the shoe is responsible for that.
It just lay there waiting for a Scottish Emily to take it to Bagpuss (McBagpuss) and get some mice to make it look nicer and maybe find it's correct owner. I worried about the Scottish woman who was hobbling or hopping around the streets wondering where she'd left her other shoe. But I loved seeing that shoe there and the fact that no one was going to do anything about it. The Bagpuss system is of course flawed as it's much more likely someone will find their lost item by retracing their steps (with one wet sock in this case) until they locate the item. If it gets purloined by a gang of magical toys who live in a shop down a strange Victorian lane, what are the chances of the person happening to find that.
The Scottish are more wily that a stuffed cloth cat and knew that the best idea was to leave the shoe there. And maybe it worked because today the shoe had gone. I was sad initially, assuming it had been thrown away and worried that it might herald the collapse of my mainly positive start to the Fringe, but then I realised that this might mean that the woman (or small-footed transvestite) who had lost the shoe might have returned and finally found their footwear. But now I think that maybe it was found by a different person and now there are two people in Edinburgh walking around with one shod foot and one wet sock. Who knows what has happened?
A few years ago there was a cat near our flat that seemed to be out on the street when I needed some reassureance. This year it was a shoe. I don't think the shoe will be coming back though.
But both shows went OK without the shoe, which makes me suspect that the shoe has no power over my life at all (though now I've said that I think the shoe will punish me for my lack of faith in it). Norman Lovett was a fantastic guest on today's podcast, funny, charming and a little bit rude about people as only an elder statesman of comedy can be. Stew and me had seen him on a mixed bill at the Gilded Balloon back in 1987 and that gig, I think, was a massive influence especially on Stew. But seeing people like Lovett and Sadowitz and Arthur Smith was a huge mind-fuck for both of us. It took me a long time to come round to stand-up as a medium I really wanted to be a part of. But you can see the influence of Lovett upon many of today's best comics. I was interested to hear that he'd once done a musical act and supported the Clash. But he's 66 and still doing the Fringe. I hope I still will be in twenty years time. A great honour chatting to him.
Apologies if the sound is not perfect for you. But hopefully the fact it is free will help to make up for that. If you want perfect sound, come to the actual gig.
I was a bit scatter-brained on my stand-up gig tonight and forgot what came next near the beginning and was a little bit stumbly throughout. But the last fifteen minutes went better than I'd done it before. Annoyingly the fog machine has never been quite as good as it was on the first night, now more of a will of the wisp rather than rolling banks of mist, but open doors and windows are making it dissipate more quickly. On the first night I felt like I entered from some ethereal zone, but it's not quite as impressive now. But the show is settling in and I am sensing the potential in lots of places. Hopefully within the next couple of days I will be confident enough about what I am saying to take leaps of faith and take them elsewhere - it's already happening a bit. It was the first night where the tickets weren't on a half-price offer and it was still two-thirds full, which I was happy enough with. But am aware that tomorrow sits in a little island of being full price whilst Monday and Tuesday are half price, so it will be less well attended. And I am betting all ther reviewers come to that one.
After the show I dashed to Waverley station to meet my wife. I have missed her almost as much as I have missed Smithers (Liono is more stand-offish and thus I don't miss her as much) and it was great to see her, though less great having to lug her heavy suitcase up three flights of stairs to our flat. I thought about chucking one of each of her shoes out into the street to lighten the load. But maybe having a wife with two shod feet is more lucky than a damp shoe on the pavement.