Early to bed and early to rise. I needed to pay in my Scope money and then head to the Stand to see Bridget Christie's show which starts at the unGodly hour (in the Fringe anyway) of 11.10am. But word has already got round about how good this show is because the venue was impressively packed. And rightly so - this was one of the most entertaining and clever shows I've ever seen at the Fringe and definitely the best one that started at 11.10am. It's heartfelt, moving and inspiring, but still with the kookiness and sense of fun that I have always enjoyed about Bridget's work. She is one of the only acts that I've made a point of seeing pretty much every year she's done a show - think I missed last year's (though saw it in preview). It's a wonderful mixture of sanity and madness and sanity creating madness. I hope that Bridget really has spent the last two months taking lads mags from the bottom shelves of supermarkets and putting them all in the bin. It's a terrific piece of peaceful, if slightly illegal protest and one that will work (but only if the supermarkets realise what is going on). Rather than have their stock destroyed surely the shops will put this stuff back on the top shelf where it (arguably) belongs (though I prefer the bin myself). I'd like to see her buy a pot of honey and pour that on top of the magazines to ensure they can't be rescued.
For all those (many) people who seem to think feminism is a threat or the province of the humourless or about anything other than creating a society where everyone has equal rights, an equal chance and equal rewards this show is a fabulous wake-up call. Feminists can be funny (but as Bridget points out, why should they be? It wasn't something you expected of Martin Luther King) and this show is properly laugh out loud, performed with a passion and commitment that was impressive at this early hour. Highly recommended.
It was a crazy podcast today. Tony Law who is on before me (and after Bridget) have overrun by 15 minutes and was then guesting on my show. He seemed, even for him, in an unusual mood and it turned out that he and his wife had been celebrating the freedom of having their kids being looked after by their granny. It must have been a good night and they were exuberant and rather affectionate to all. It was a heady atmosphere for Ian Lavender to walk into and I think he might have wondered what he had let himself in for. He was polite and softly spoken (unfortunately for the audiophiles) and very charming. I was so delighted to have him on the show as I have been a fan of his for as long as I can remember. I have such happy memories of watching Dad's Army with my family, all laughing together and for a small child Pike was the way into this programme about old men. He was like the child in a world of grown-ups and I identified with him readily and immediately. And if that wasn't enough Lavender also played Gary Sparrow's son in Goodnight Sweetheart.
You can (just about) hear it all, the madness of Law and the mildness of Lavender, at the usual places.
Tonight's WAGTD! was my best performance yet, I think. I remembered some bits that I'd forgotten about, but then forgot a couple of other bits. It was Black Wednesday - the first full-price weekday of the Fringe- and numbers were down, but still respectable (about 150). Even on my 22nd Fringe I am still reliant on positive reviews to get the bums on all the seats (though have an impressive average of 5 stars across to two reviews in so far). But who wants just bums. Not me. I like the whole body to be there.
One of the things I am enjoying as a grand old man of the Fringe is walking past groups of youngsters up for their first time and feeling a nostalgic and patronising twinge of recognition. They are all so sweet and young and hopeful and they invariably make me smile. I recognise the me of the past in them and I recognise types of people who I was up here with back then. Just like we did they talk too loud and try to look cool, but just look like cute little dolls pretending to be adults. I passed through the underpass near Bristo Square today to see some students playing guitar and others sat listening to them, swaying and drinking red wine out of a bottle. It was like being blasted back in time. I could even sense the awkward desire to fit in of one of the swaying young women, hoping to be accepted, worried that she might not be. It was in many ways a horrible time, but in others the best. I wouldn't want to go back, but it really makes me smile to see it. And weirdly then we headed to a bar that I had forgotten existed in the Gilded Balloon, which, when we were first here was the Fringe club. It was the bar that we went to all the time back then. It seemed huge then and was packed. Now it looked tiny and was reassuringly empty. I drank some wine with my wife and my sister (not the same person despite being from Somerset) and some friends. Even better than pretending to enjoy the guitar music of the cool kid from college.