Fitting a lot into my last few days here. Surprised I still have enough energy, but am running on fumes.
Yesterday's podcast was listened to by many sound engineer experts and they all declared it beyond repair - even when slowed down it was unlistenable. But long time supernerd fan Nathan Jay was has no such quality control (either in audio output or comedy taste) and put together a version of it that he thinks is largely understandable once you get into the odd Dalek vibe. I have not listened to it. But if you are a real fan and don't want to lose a second of this series then you must give it a go and see if you can make any sense of it. It's not for the faint hearted and many have tried and given up. But do you have the right stuff? You can have a listen at the British Comedy Guide
or download from iTunes. Sometimes comedy has to be painful.
Things are perhaps getting a little lax in the Stand technical booth as the usually reliable Chris also missed the first couple of minutes of today's podcast (which berated him for his previous mistake - coincidence?), but you don't miss anything important. And it's one of the most extraordinary podcasts of the series as my first guest is Rumpel, someone I suspected to be part of Phil Nichol's imagination, but if he is then Phil has an excellent imagination as he can conjure up three dimensional, solid, living, if strange objects. It is certainly the oddest interview of the series, but also one that is full of laughs, including I think the biggest of the run. The audience, confused to begin with about what the Hell is going on, warm to the eccentric Antipodean, though also enjoy the fact that I am being placed in a difficult position. It's top stuff. Crikey!
Luckily the upload was easier today, but I didn't have time to go back to sleep, even though I wanted to, as I had to go out to record a podcast with American comedian Danny Bevins (I will let you know when that's up, but it was a fun and relaxed conversation) and then a quick curry with my girlfriend before dashing off to do a spot at the Chortle Fast Fringe. If I force myself to keep busy I do enjoy it and I knew that if I hadn't arranged to do all this stuff I would just have vegged out at home watching TV.
And though I considered trying to sleep on the floor of the dressing room for half an hour (which was not really practical as the floor is hard and filthy and Barry and Stuart (who are not actually magic AT ALL) were setting up their tricks. Even so I think this might have been my favourite What is Love audience of the run. They were really up for it and none of them had a fit and I knocked out a very solid show, given how many I have done in a row especially. I made Peacock from Peacock and Gamble cry like a tiny girl. He will claim that I didn't. But he did.
And finally I appeared in my ninth show in two days (tenth if you count the Bevins podcast) and headed to George Square to dress up as a frozen turkey in Al Murray's final Compete For the Meat of the Fringe. It is a very silly and childish show, largely involving Al getting drunk and running around in the audience in a silly Christmas hat and shouting at adults, but it is somehow liberating that we are still behaving like this in our 40s. Just as with the Boy With Tape on His Face (though a little louder and more aggressively) I loved the way Al got people up on their feet, losing their inhibitions and behaving like twatty children. It's important to do this every now and again. Posho journalists and stuck up comedians might not see Al's work as ground-breaking, because it is populist, but in every show he does at least five things that if they were done by a "trendy" comic would be heralded as genius. I am not sure that one of them was getting me to dress as a turkey and run through the audience ruffling hair and trying to high-five people. It reminded me a bit though of being frightening Father Christmas in Cluub Zarathustra, where I had to put on a santa outfit and a gas mask and ran into the audience giving out cheap gifts with pictures of erect penises stuck on to them, groping everyone until chastised and whipped by Stewart Lee. Even if today I was a much better behaved and less perverted turkey.
I had a couple of pints and watched some of the show, but ever the pro decided to head home to get some sleep and avoid the gauntlet of late night street idiots.
When I was in the flat fireworks exploded in the sky and I was aware that the final Saturday shennaighans were going on out there in the city. But I was happy sitting on my own eating Crunch Nut Cornflakes. I think this might be my favourite Fringe ever and though there are still two days for me to fuck it up, it's probably the overall most successful too. It's good to feel that I am getting better at my job and I am very proud of both my shows this year and the Radio 4 show that I wrote while I was up here. Contentment is not an emotion I usually associate the Fringe with, but I think the fact that I was home at 12.30 on the final Saturday is probably one of the reasons I am so content.
And isn't it great that the Fringe can encompass acts as diverse as Rumpel and Al Murray. There's space for us all. Weird, populist, experimental, plain funny, millionaires and fooles. It's the best festival in the world. It keeps changing (but how much of that is down to the changes in one's own life) but it keeps going. I love it. I don't usually feel like this on the last weekend, but I will be back!