EDitorial ± 12-Aug-2019

Edinburgh Fringe 2019

No longer a fresher after last year, I'm now a McSophomore. Friend Adam, by comparison, is a frequent flyer to the Fringe. Twenty years back he saw the Mighty Boosh before they even settled on that name. Didn't much like them but that ain't the point. He was there.

Weather forecast awful, it's the traditional 7:30am departure from England's book town then M6 / A74(M) / A701 and straight on to the Straiton park & ride. Tip of the tam to Lothian Buses for going contactless. First location confirmed and tickets printed -- the whole enterprise, leaflets and all, must account for a forest the size of Wales -- there's ample time for a large white and something sweet at the conveniently sited Richmond Cafe. Bite of baklava for him, gargantuan galaktoboureko for me, both bathing in the unpredicted Old Smoky sun.

(12:00) Gethin Alderman is: Sublime at Just The Tonic at The Charteris Centre
We were warned off the evil lemon. We gave careful thought to our favourite varieties of orange. We gawped at a pomelo. We were warned about mixing prescription drugs with grapefruit. We conga-ed. And we followed the fall and rise of young Regis. I had something in my eye at the end though that could have been the limey water. The character played by Orson Welles in The Third Man would have approved.

(14:25) Butterbum, J at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, Haldane Theatre
Glacial queueing in the packed Pleasance Courtyard eventually yielded a pair of messy burritos. Kudos to Adam for choosing, as accompaniment, a citrus-based Sprite. Hauled ourselves to the Haldane for some actual the-a-tre and a lad on a bridge being harangued by a jaunty crow. What's in the box? What does the "J" stand for? Snappy production and sweet singing from the unexpectedly youthful cast of the Stargaze theatre.

(16:10) Wil Greenway: The Ocean After All at Underbelly, Bristo Square, Dexter
Fortified by peppermint tea and a chai latte at non-Potter Elephants & Bagels, down to the soporific depths of Dexter for one of last year's personal highlights: Wil Greenway, "writer, performer, failure machine" and over fifty percent hair. A salty bottle, a runaway Holden Gemini, VB stubbies, countless coconuts and the eye of a whale. What just happened? Note: excellent loos.

(18:00) Milton Jones: Milton Impossible at Assembly Hall, Mound Place
Enough messing around with tiny performance spaces. Over to The Mound to "the most prestigious venue on the Fringe". Joined a sizeable snaking queue to pile into the 840 seater main hall. Continuing the fruity theme, a small man in bright orange ambled on to the stage to deliver some highly crafted wordplay. Why did he lose his job as an MI6 interrogator? "I like to defy the odds," he said, and I laughed out loud. Shame about Adam's restricted view.

(20:40) The Establishment: Le Bureau de Strange at Heroes @ The Hive, The Bunka
Seven pm, sat on The Royal Mile to watch coaches of tattoists with the sky darkening. Ducked into a Subway for a six-inch tuna sub and a solid roof. The rain it raineth. Unanimously decided to take a chance on one last show. Into the bowels of Niddry Street. Chose seats next to two reserved places little knowing that Godfrey and Cecil would be sat next to us. Too much? Who thinks we've started? An absurd start with Gethin. An absurd end with The Establishment. Who thinks we've finished? Ra-ra-ra! Note: horrible loos.

...and still missed Javaad Alipoor, Spencer Jones and Lucy Pearman.

Waiting patiently for a bus, Adam pointed to a discarded lime on the pavement. Number 37 eventually came. Unfortunate that it was already full. Caught the tardy 47 standing near the boxes of fruit outside the Bismillah Food Store on Nicolson Square. At Abington services, my large Starbucks £3.39 latte (proferred through the hatch) was timed at 23:59:27. Huge thanks to the driver.