Fringe DisconnectionEdinburgh Fringe 2023: Diary Entry Two
This year, I feel very disconnected from the fringe as a creature. I have never felt more connected to audiences and my shows, but it’s as if there is no showbiz left in me and I don’t think that is a bad thing.
I think it speaks to being more comfortable with myself. All the anxiety, the paranoia and the alienation seems almost vanquished.
No performers’ bars, no thinking about reviews (okay, a little thinking about reviews before I crush that even thought by thinking that the creativity is what I am here for).
I am having the most exciting time performing Weapons of Empathy. Like The Infinite Monkey Cage, my worry at the end of each show is to make sure I can make the next one as good or, preferably, better. The records of people’s own favourite books that have helped them work out who they are and/or work out who other people are is richly rewarding in itself and most of the file cards remain unread as I am hoping to deal with them in September. Already, another project has grown out of this project, I like it when trees become seeds.
My evening show, MELONS, really has now become its’ subtitle, a love letter to stand up. I think it will always be my experiment, but I am embracing the experiment. I am not sure it will have a life beyond the fringe, but there might be a couple of cellars and attics which will suit it. Like my horror show, The Satanic Rites of Robin Ince, it is most definitely a passion piece and it is lovely to see comedy fans excited by it.
Most days have roughly the same shape.
730am – Wake up at the noise of construction work. Jam my wax earplug (not made from y own earwax I should make clear) even deeper into my ears and return to sleep.
10am – my eyes blear their way towards vision and the day. Cornflakes and coffee and a check on whether I have any trousers that have not be damaged by melon detritus. A frenzy of hand washing that which my tropical fruit anarchy has besmirched.
11am – a saunter to the Museum of Scotland taking in a few bookshops where I find books to give away to audience members (I am also giving away a lot of Bunty comics).
1230pm – The cast of Smashing Shakespeare enter the dressing room filled with verve and delight that is contagious. Every day they seem to have a great day, which is delightful.
1240pm – I carefully attempt to walk down 18 steps while carrying a table stacked with books.
1241pm – I go back up the steps picking up all the dropped books.
1250pm – chat to the audience as they come in and men lion the books I know that I never get around to in the show and give out Buntys. The dilated pupils of delight as Bunty nostalgia hits them is a delight.
1pm – start show
130pm worry that I am going to underrun,
153pm – realise I am going to overrun and talk faster and faster.
2pm – pop out to talk to the audience and talk them through the books that Lighthouse Books are selling – many of which I mention in my show. Love to see the jean Rhys, Ursula Le Guin’s, Tove Jannsons and James Baldwins fly out.
230pm Tea and cake
Then I just walk and walk, across the meadows and in and out of places which promise something arcane, returning to my flat at 430pm, where I put off writing a Monkey Cage script for another day.
725pm Take the melon out of the fridge and walk to New Town Theatre
(I won’t tell you too much about 835 – 936pm)
940pm – on all fours cleaning melon off a stage.
10-11pm – a glass of wine at the Cameo cinema or a quiet pub, sometimes with some of the audience or a comedian or just alone.
1110pm – more cornflakes and putting off cleaning that melon until tomorrow morning.
That’s my day, what about yours.
Weapons of Empathy is on daily at 1pm at Gilded Balloon at the Museum and MELONS: A Love Letter to Stand Up Comedy at 8:35pm at The Stand at New Town Theatre. Tickets for both shows are here.
Robin Ince is a multi-award winning comedian, writer and broadcaster. As well as spending decades as one the UK’s most respected stand-ups, Robin is perhaps best known for co-hosting The Infinite Monkey Cage radio show with Prof Brian Cox. For his work on projects like Cosmic Shambles he was made an Honorary Doctor of Science by Royal Holloway, University of London. His latest books are The Importance of Being Interested and Bibliomaniac.