Post Fringe thoughts & notes


There is nowhere like Edinburgh in  August.  The buzz around the old streets, the mass of people crammed into the Royal Mile, the thousands upon thousands of comedy shows and theatre and art.  It’s intoxicating and thrilling and exhausting and I really miss it.

  • There are various different ‘hubs’ around the city where a gathering of venues can be found.  Underbelly, Gilded Balloon and Assembly George Square amongst them, but for me the finest is Pleasance Courtyard.  It’s a great open air space, their craft beer bar was unrivalled and the venues are amongst my favourite in the city.
  • I always get lost in Edinburgh.  Every time.  But it’s easier to navigate when sober.
  • The more absurd the name of the close or street the more awkward it tends to be, the steeper a climb/descent.  Fishmarket Close is a real bastard.
  • The wood-fired pizza van on Hunter Square has long been a fesitval favourite of mine for its haggis pizza.  This year they introduced a black pudding slice.  Amazing.
  • Don’t be afraid to see some ‘free’ shows.  Some of them can be excellent.  Others can be terrible, but that’s the risk you take.
  • Best ‘free’ show at this year’s Fringe:  Ahir Shah.
  • Also don’t be afraid to take flyers (it is often impossible to avoid taking them) and consider changing your plans to go to the shows.  Often I would interact with those handing out the flyers – usually they are the performers themselves – and ask them to tell me one thing about their show.  It can result in a great conversation and often help you find a hidden gem.
  • I adore improvised comedy, but it is sooooo hard finding a good improv show.
  • Sitting in the front row of a standup show is terrifying.  I was landed there twice – at Tom Ward’s show and also for Sarah Kendall – and ended up becoming involved in both.  I thoroughly enjoyed my interaction with Tom Ward, while I was selected at the beginning of Sarah’s show to read perhaps the few most pivotal lines of her set.
  • Speaking of Sarah Kendall – her’s was probably my favourite standup set at this year’s Fringe.  Such a wonderful storyteller.
  • I approve of The Advocate’s decision to replace Goose Island IPA with the Innis & Gunn IPA.  Very tasty wee pint, that one.
  • There was a joke in Ahir Shah’s set about the prospect of Scottish independence which didn’t get much reaction, and he noted that he forgot he was at the Edinburgh Fringe where there probably wasn’t a Scottish person in the room.  Thinking about it, I can’t recall encountering many, if any, Scots during my four days in Edinburgh.
  • I don’t understand the purpose of the giant wheel at Princes Street Gardens.  I understand – and hope – that it’s only there during the festival, but it detracts so much from the grandeur of the place.

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