day 16: pleasant distractions, but distractions nonetheless

It’s very difficult trying to accommodate visitors in Edinburgh.

However pleasant the distraction of a visit might be, it’s still a distraction. Added to which, I think it’s quite difficult for people who come up for a holiday at a festival to understand that if you’re involved in the festival it is the most intense workload possible. An average day at the moment goes something like:

1100 wake up (yes this seems late, but keep reading)

1100-14.30 eat breakfast/lunch while watching the video of the previous night’s flashback show, go through notes and rehearse bits to get them better, get ready to go out

1500-1800 do slots at miscellaneous gigs throughout the day to promote my shows, try to book/confirm a lineup for that night’s showcase, deal with dropouts etc.

1800-2045 flyer

2045-2200 host the show, thank the acts

2200-1130 get back to the flat to meet the flashback and eat dinner (the only regular scheduled break of the day)

1130-1230 go back to the caves to get set up for flashback show, soundcheck, arrange lighting

1230-0200 tech/perform in flashback show, get packed up, discuss the show

0200-0400 try to unwind from show. try to see how other comedian friends are doing, chat to friends who have gone out of their way to come to our show, get home, go to sleep

0400-1100 try and sleep

This is a pretty intense schedule. It’s more or less a 15-hour straight working day, every day for three-and-a-half weeks, and you get breaks where you can get them. I’m not complaining, of course – it’s a great life and worth every ounce of work you put in – but it can be somewhat complicated by visitors who understandably want to come and spend time with you, go and see other shows with you, etc. Because you don’t really have any time to give them; and neither do you really have very much mental space to think or talk about anything other than how the festival is going. Which is horribly ungrateful; but to show them the proper gratitude would have a cost to the quality of the shows we put on.

And that is unthinkable.

So. I woke up with an idea of some things I thought the 80s Movie Flashback still needed, and I wanted to go through them with the group; but I’d promised Nan that we’d also go to the beach today. We did eventually go to Musselburgh; but not until after I had (perhaps a little rudely) barked a few instructions to the others (who am I to behave like that?) and the sun was past its peak by the time we got to the beach. It was worth it, of course; I did need to get away, and we had a very lovely picnic on the beach.

But I couldn’t help thinking about the shows.

The Showcase was good, in the end; Timmy compered it and everyone had a pretty good one. I was particularly pleased with myself; I seemed to be able to reel off ten minutes of material that got good laughs almost without really trying that much. Darshan had a very good gig as well. Nick Sun, who headlined, seemed to think he hadn’t done well, but from the audience I thought there was a lot of warmth in the room for him.

I worried a little bit for time again, though; my sister Ellen and her husband Mike came to see the show and suggested going for dinner afterwards. I wanted to go with them, but was also conscious that I hadn’t seen that much of the Flashback that day apart from the slightly rude notes I gave them in the morning – and I was also conscious that in the previous ten days I’d only had one day without a visitor of some kind being around; I also knew that my Mum was coming up the next day and would want to spend tie with me as well…when would I be able to just get on with being in a festival?

Fortunately, Ellen and Mike are the most super-cool sister and brother-in-law I could possibly have. Ellen knows exactly what it’s like to have twenty people pulling her in different directions at once, and understood exactly. We went for a relatively quick (but very nice) pizza, and Ellen gave me strict instructions to not feel too obliged to too many people or things. And then all I had to think about was the 80s Movie Flashback.

The show was one which we christened afterwards as ‘Marmite night’. We had quite a lot of walkouts; and yet, the people who stayed really enjoyed the show. And to the cast’s credit, we performed for them.

Putting on shows is very hard work. It’s time-consuming and mind-consuming. But it is worth it.

Showcase 8

Flashback 7

Overall DRAW


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