Billy Sangster

Stuff out of my brain

Edinburgh Fringe Trip 2015 - Saturday the Eighth

I woke up slightly groggy on the Saturday morning with that regretful feeling of guilt and betrayal at myself for drinking again. I had planned to not drink at all while here, thinking it might ruin my Saturday with a hangover. Fortunately, for the moment anyway, after I’d had a drink of water I felt okay and thought about planning my day a bit better than I had yesterday.

I’d made sure to charge my phone overnight and stuck my iPad on as soon as I got up, so I’d have decent mobile power all day. The phone’s on O2 and the iPad EE so I usually have decent coverage between the two of them wherever I went. Yesterday the phone was on its last legs by evening so I made a mental note to use the tablet for checking the Fringe app and the phone for having a wee look at Twitter and Facebook every now and again.

Why, oh why am I such a slave to technology? Probably because when you’re away somewhere on your own it seems less lonely to have your “friends” at your fingertips at a second’s notice. And there’s the showing off aspect of posting gigs you’ve seen as well. What a tosser.

Anyway, my hotel was on Queen Street, so that’s the New Town, very close to most of The Stand venues. I thought that seeing I’m over here anyway, I may as well start with a couple of gigs in the area.

I had a look and saw that Stu and Garry were doing their comedy improv at half twelve in Stand 1. I clicked “buy”. I also decided to go back and see the “Richard Melvin Presents…” show again (see Friday’s post for details), so I clicked “buy” again. I decided to have a wander to Princes Street to swipe my card and get my printed tickets at the ticket place there, maybe get some breakfast at the same time. This clicking “buy” was too, too easy. I was beginning to feel like I was overspending. Which I was.

Ticketed up, nowhere in Princes Street appealed to me for breakfast, so I headed back to York Place and got a sausage sandwich from a cafe round the corner from the venue. It was still rather early so I took a stroll through St. Andrews Square, where they had a number of stalls set up and a big outdoor gin palace set up in the centre. All very pleasant, but with that “moneyed” feel about it.

Time to go to the first gig, so it was back to Stand 1.

Stu and Garry have been around for years, but I’ve only seen them once at a comedy club in Aberdeen a while back. I remember thinking they were the funniest thing of the evening back then and wondered if I’d still think the same on this slightly hungover Saturday. I wasn’t disappointed.

Just the right level of audience interaction and the perfect chemistry a great double act should have. I found myself laughing out loud more times than I had the whole weekend. These guys are still as great as I remember and I’d thoroughly recommend their show to everyone. Five out of five to my eyes.

The Richard Melvin show was next and like the day before, it didn’t disappoint, in its loose shambolic format. The interview with John Lloyd stood out for me, not because it was particularly funny, but because he was exploring some interesting concepts. So much so that I decided to take a punt on his solo show later that afternoon. It was comedy, but with a serious edge to it, apparently.

I emerged from Stand 1 after that gig intent on buying a John Lloyd ticket, but standing right outside the entrance was Simon Donald of Viz fame, giving out flyers for his show at Stand 3 & 4, which was right across the road, in half an hour’s time. I’d seen his show in the app the day before and had decided then that I’d give it a go today. Unfortunately the timing clashed with Lloyd’s show, so I had to make an instant decision. Although it was more expensive, and against a nagging feeling in my head, I plumped for the Lloyd show. I’d have to go back to Princes Street to collect my tickets though, but I’d have plenty time if I was giving the Simon Donald show a miss.

I hung about St. Andrew’s Square again, grabbing a slice of very nice pizza from a stall and waited until ten minutes before the show started to make my way to the venue. Only then, when I pulled the ticket from my bag and looked at it, did I realise that John Lloyd wasn’t playing at the Stand venue I thought he was. It was the Assembly Checkpoint. Wherever that was. I just knew it wasn’t at this side of the city.

I whipped out my phone, opened the app and went to find the venue on the map. It was 1.1km away, and I had five minutes to make it there. No chance, but I was so angry with my stupidity that I decided to try and make it.

Five minutes after the gig had started and still not knowing exactly where I was going, although I was very near, I gave up on the Lloyd gig. I was close to the Liquid Rooms on Victoria Street where Christian Reilly was about to play, so I decided to cut my losses and go see that instead. I’d seen him last time and he’d been great. I headed up to the front door of the Liquid Rooms only to see a sign that the entrance to the place wasn’t there, it was down in the Cowgate. More rushing around.

I found my way to the venue door eventually and was lucky as the queue wasn’t that big. After a further ten minute wait we were allowed in and pretty soon the place was packed, with nowhere near enough seats for everyone who wanted to be there.

Christian was brilliant again, albeit with one or two technical difficulties at the beginning, so I stuck a fiver in his bucket and awarded him four and a half stars for his efforts. He needs a bigger venue, though.

Coming out from there I began to feel distinctly weary of the whole experience. I was still pissed off at myself for being so stupid about the John Lloyd debacle and checking my bank balance realised that, as I feared, I’be been a bit cavalier with my finances over the weekend. My feet were by this time killing me and I was beginning to feel an uncomfortable chafing of the inner thigh after all the walking I’d done. I really felt that going to the pub and having a pint was the only thing that would cure me, but this was impossible as I was getting the last train back up the road that evening and would have to drive to my house once I got there.

I decided to take an earlier train back to Aberdeen.

So that was my Fringe weekend. Great gigs, disappointing end. Sitting here home and rested now, I’m regretting coming home early but that’s the way the cookie crumbles and my cookie had totally disintegrated by Saturday evening. One of these days I’ll get it sorted out better. Stay in Edinburgh longer, have plenty cash, not having to cram so many gigs into so little time.

Will I ever learn? Probably no.