Happily Hectic

Robin Ince is keeping busy post Fringe

Part of hypomania or ADHD or however else I want to define my mind is rarely stopping.

Pausing leads to guilt and boredom, except on very special circumstances. I remember Suzy Izzard saying that she did so many things such as the relentless marathons and learning to do stand up in many languages because she knew how lazy she was. I think quite a few of us would empathise with this.

I am on train to Glasgow to speak to a conference of proof readers.

The 12 days since the Edinburgh Fringe have been happily hectic – three music festivals, five scripting and recording the new The Infinite Monkey’s Guide to… series (both Brian and I fear that the apostrophe is changing the meaning of our monkeys), four audience recordings of The Infinite Monkey Cage, one literary salon show in Harrogate, an essay on the Masque of Mandroga for a book on the Philip Hinchcliffe years of Doctor Who and a column for The Big Issue. I am lucky. I rarely burn out. My mania has been greatly helped by diagnosis which means it rarely veers to self loathing and a sense of failure, a place not to spend much time living in. The loss of negative narcissism gives you much more time to be full of joy. It also gives you a great deal more confidence. 

I had a whisper of a harrumph before I departed for the End of the Road festival, but once I had drag my borrowed tent onto the train, I was gleeful. To be in fields and woods with fine people and new bands is invigorating, whether it is the surrounding photosynthesis or the chaos of some pro punk you have never witnessed before. I am now a fan of Deerhoof – their treatment of the Knight Rider theme tune was exactly the accompaniment I needed for my locally brewed ale. I watched them with librarian Jez Winship. Being a librarian, he is far wiser than me and had experienced Deerhoof before. It is thanks to him that I have had the only physical contact so far with my holy grail book, Ernest Thesiger’s Practically True. The vaults/stacks of Exeter public library are fabulous to behold (you can find the documentary we made about them here).

Jez is also the author of of my favourite books in the Midnight Movie Monograph series, all about George A Romero’s Martin. Both the Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening gigs on the comedy stage (so beautifully curated by Sarah Bennetto) are a delight. I am fortunate that one of the acts has severely underestimated the journey time from London to Larmer Tree and so I am allowed to access more tangents. 

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Saturday is mainly traveling to Camp Wildfire, first by train and then in Trent’s car. During the day, the festival goers learn archery which really helps sharpen the performance instinct before taking to the stage. Another delight, another tent full of interesting and ecstatic people. This trip is short, but lovely.

Sunday, I go to Moseley – little more than a gap in the fence leads to a Narnian festival. Folk music rolls across the park and I find the stall of the Heath Bookshop, a local independent store where  I find three books by Annabella Pollen that I most definitely need, including one on the male gaze inherent within 1920s naturist photographs – Nude in a Cold Climate – and another on the design of the wallet that photographs came back in from the developers. Backstage I have a single beer and Billy Bragg distracts a wasp that is beginning to haunt me.

Monday begins with four recordings on The Infinite Monkey’s Guide to… and the week will end with a Monkey Cage that ends with thoughts on the potential size of potential elephants on the Moon. I will enlarge on these days and their hypotheses on my return journey from Glasgow.

Robin is bringing is award winning Fringe show Weapons of Empathy to Manchester on September 21st. Tickets 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.

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