Friday, August 06, 2010

And So Fringe Proper Begins...

Today proved to be one of those days where I just couldn’t get myself sorted. This was partially through the increasing complexity of my schedule and partly because of self imposed faffing. The scheduling thing came about because, on checking times, I realised that the show I was seeing on Wednesday which was then re-scheduled for today, was one I couldn’t physically get to. Basically I had to be out in Leith reviewing The Chinese State Circus until ten minutes before Lost Show #1 began in the centre of Edinburgh. Which means - Lost Show #1 really not happening today. So the schedule had to be revisited (again) and Lost Show #1 got bumped to Monday (where Lost Show #2 had been, before it got moved to Sunday on account of Lost Show #3 difficulties. I have no idea where Lost Show #3 currently is, other than floating in the ether of Lost Shows). The faffing, however, is fairly self explanatory in as much as, I faffed. Which pretty much meant a wasted morning, which is a shame when you consider that Lyn Gardner had probably seen four shows before I managed to hoik myself into the shower.

Today is also notable for the fact that it is first day of Edinburgh Fringe proper. The main thing that makes me realise this is the volume of people who have appeared. Walking down to Princes Street I actually experienced something akin to Oxford Street Rage, which is neither attractive nor desirable. Particularly when this is only going to get worse.

Also - there has been an equivalent swell of people I can identify as being show tribes. At this stage they are identifiable as:

Packs wearing show t-shirts or, for the more weather conscious, hoodies. Invariably these are either University students or from North America. I do not know what this says about either group’s mindset but whatever that mindset is it involves branding.

Questionable costume brigade. Full stage makeup offstage and during the day. A man dressed in full Elizabethan women’s clothing. A man in a Borat mankini standing outside John Lewis (or, at least, I hope this man was part of a show or, at 6.00pm on a Friday, Edinburgh, I have to ask you questions).

Flyering Crew. This time not just the people who are being paid to flyer by the bigger venues, but people who are not being paid at all and are flyering to avoid losing their shirt as well as their overdraft function. Only, on day one, there isn’t yet the urgency and every person is a potential audience member as opposed to someone who is yet another reason why you will be living on baked beans for the rest of 2010.

It’s probably worthwhile noting that whilst I have seen an upturn in flyering there hasn’t been a similar upturn in my being flyered. As I write this, at 9.00pm in the Pleasance Dome café (ah, no free tickets from loitering here tonight, even if I wasn’t due over to Bedlam for Billy), I have been flyered three times today. Which even when you take out the bit where I was faffing and the three and a half hours I spent over at Ocean Terminal, is still a poor show. I’m beginning to think I am striking some stance that suggests I am unflyerable. Or else one might call it: what living in London for two years does to you. I’m not sure if this is a trend I approve of or not.

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