I was back on an even keel (although annoyingly I was awake at 5am and couldn't get back to sleep) and raring to go. And this was one of the more positive and enjoyable first days of the Fringe I can recall (but maybe they're all like this and you just forget once you're stuck in the centre of the Groundhog Day vortex).
After a quick swim I walked up to the Pleasance for the We're All Going To Die! tech. Things seemed to be running smoothly with the previous tech coming down on time and my set being quickly assembled. Thanks to a drunken suggestion from Paul Putner (not the ten minutes where he kept asking me what my motivation was) I decided to create a spooky graveyard (based on the poster) on stage this year. So we've had some graves made and hired a cool fog-making machine. The graves are made from my old enemy polystyrene (I can't stand the squeaky noise it makes and it can make me a bit punchy!) so every day I will have to try and have them moved around carefully or control my David Banner style Incredible Polystyrene Hulk within. But it all looks amazing. I will invoice Paul for the cost of all this. I hope he pays up.
The crew worked hard to get everything right and we used up nearly all of our two hour slot (in past years I have had techs that have lasted five minutes - so it's nice that this one has a sense of theatre about it). It was an odd experience standing in front of my own gravestone, even if this one is made out of polystyrene. Maybe I should use it on my actual grave.
Then I walked (trying not to take any cabs unless totally necessary in the hope I will get fit) to the Stand for the first podcast. It usually takes a day or two for me to remember how to do this properly, but this was a fun chat with Jenny Eclair (plus a challenging set from Alfie Brown) and the small-ish crowd seemed to enjoy themselves. The podcast should be up on iTunes and the British Comedy Guide on Thursday at some point. It' s not practical or cost-effective to film these, so they're free audio only.
After that I headed back to the flat to try and drum the show running order into my head and learn the Hamlet routine. I put on my brand new show suit (thought this would be easier than carrying it on a hanger) and made the long walk back to the Pleasance. It was raining intermitently and I was worried that I'd get soaked and wreck the suit, but I more or less got away with it.
And the show went really well. Better than I could have hoped. Around about 90 people were in and they really got behind it. I pretty much remembered everything (I had to check my running order a coiple of times and lost my place in the Hamlet speech twice), but the order of the bits seemed to work and I have somehow cut enough to make this last exactly one hour. It feels like a strong show to me (and luckily only my opinion matters). And the Pleasance Beyond is a terrific venue, with the only noise that distracted me being my fog machine whirring down. After last year's Olympic distractions and bar noise this was utter luxury. Have I got the perfect storm of a good show, a proper venue and a visually exciting set? It does feel like this might be a special year. But I have felt that feeling before. And in the turbulent sea of the Edinburgh Fringe even fantastic shows can sink without trace. After 21 Fringes I don't expect anything to happen even if the show turns out to be as good as I hope it might be. I am just relieved that it seems to have come together so well and hope that the people who come along will like it. And maybe tell other people about it.
If you don't like me you might still enjoy the fog.
I got a bunch of flowers in the dressing room before the show and presumed they were from my management company, but when I got home I read the card and they had come from Adam Buxton. He said that he had had a dream that he had sent me flowers before my show and decided to act upon that. I hoped there wasn't any sexual subtext to this, but actually the power of receiving flowers was so great it did make me slightly more inclined to that idea than I had been before. I should point out that I was really not inclined to that idea before and only very slightly more inclined afterwards.
He admitted in his note that this was a little strange, but it made me laugh and was a positive, if mildly bemusing gesture. I emailed him to thank him, but then it struck me that I had no real proof that they were from him and if I thanked him for flowers he hadn't actually sent then that would be even weirder. With all the crazy shit going on on Twitter at the moment with people thinking it's fine to send tweets threatening bombs and rape, I wondered if this might be a sophisticated prank from an idiot lurking in the shadows. That would be a much cleverer mind-fuck than sending threats to journalists or people in the peripheral vision of the public eye. Just to set up slightly confusing scenarios between people. Sending unexpected flowers is actually much more of a mind-fuck than sending a threat. But alas the Twitter dicks who think they're somehow standing up for free speech or the old world order or comedy by intimidating people who haven't really done anytyhing wrong aren't clever enough to get to this level. So I was pretty confident it was a genuine warm and weird gesture from a fellow performer. What fun to act on the imagination of your subconcsious.
I just hope Adam doesn't have a dream about machine-gunning the Pleasance courtyard.