day 20: why heraclitus is often pictured weeping

Heraclitus, Johannes Moreelse ca_ 1630

Heraclitus of Ephesus, the philosopher of change, of waxing and waning, of impermanence, who pointed out the transience of all life, is frequently portrayed weeping or looking sad.

What a big girl, huh?

Except that he wasn’t; in fact he was the opposite – hard enough to have understood how heartbreaking it is that time, and life, and opportunities, are always changing and fading away.

Nowhere is this felt more than in the third week of the Edinburgh festival. What seemed just a few weeks ago to be so full, brimming with opportunity and fun and mesmerising joy, turns so quickly to emptiness; it all fades to nothing.

By Tuesday of the third week, it seems, things are starting to feel…over. The evenings come earlier; the weeping drizzle feels colder; most of the comedians feel jaded and just want to go home. We’ve been here twenty days, now, gigging and flyering and drinking and and it’s enough. Three weeks without a break is enough for anyone, surely…

Our lunchtime show was passable. Tony rattled off his stuff again, as did I; thank God some of Jay’s stuff is new to us or we’d be fully insane by now. I hadn’t flyered because after seeing Kitson, I had spent most of the previous night either human beatboxing for Brett Goldstein and Nick Helm to rap over, or talking to friends about all kinds of thoughts that wavered in turn between meaning and meaninglessness, and not really got any sleep. I slept through the morning and couldn’t flyer, so our audience was small, and my performance was lazy.

The afternoon was full of sunshine and passed quickly; I met a friend for coffee and didn’t feel tired as I arrived; but as I left the cafe to go and flyer for the evening show, the skies darkened and the sun gave way to rain again. It felt like the summer had ended, suddenly and apbruptly, and I couldn’t honestly say I gave the flyering my best effort before I went off to do my slot at Jokes From The Underground. That slot went well; but when I got to the Newsroom, Tony had made a decision to pull our show when there was hardly any audience turnout. It was the right decision.

Change feels sad. Change at the kind of pace that happens at the Edinburgh festival is, if anything, both sadder and more dizzying.

Heraclitus understood this; and he wasn’t wrong to shed a few tears.

CTD: Audience – tiny; Performance – competent, if tired (6/10)

Jokes from the Underground: Audience – tiny; Performance – good, including an improvised bit of taking an audience member behind a curtain for a ‘private joke’. Improvising funny ideas is pretty good. (7.5/10)

SSS: cancelled

Other stuff: ask me when things stop changing

Overall: LOSE


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