We are over half way through the Fringe. It's the weird but fun tipping point where we're nearly on the home straight but not quite sick of everything yet. There are clues we are half way through this glorious test of endurance. Firstly the comedians are starting to look a bit tired. Secondly, when you speak to them, they say 'I am a bit tired.'
I am no longer as fresh as a daisy. I am even less fresh than my 'good luck' flowers that have been sitting in water for two weeks and still look pretty good. They're only just starting to droop. Kind of like a flower based Picture Of Dorian Grey, but not quite. Whatever is in that little 'flower food' sachet could be marketed to comedians at an immense profit.
Things have definitely improved since the Olympics finished. But not quite as dramatically as everyone hoped. If the Olympics and Edinburgh were like some kind of patronage divorce - forcing punters to choose between one or the other; then now that the dust has settled, just like in a real divorce, everyone is flat broke.
I mean, admittedly in this scenario the money has gone on the double dip recession shenanigans, Olympics memorabilia, public cuts and bank bailouts rather than lawyers, but still. It's not an ideal scenario in which to flog stuff that people aren't sure they want.
But it turns out joy is a pretty useful tool to get through this kind of situation. Lots of fringe performers are trying to harness the power of looking on the bright side. There are basically two choices in a quiet Edinburgh: (1) feel sad and bitter, write an angry blog and fire off some accusatory emails to 'the man' (2) Accept everyone is in the same boat, even if it looks like they're not, and try to stay positive.
I, myself, am fairly new to positive thinking. It was something I always associated with the people that tell you what colour your aura is. Or American football players in films. I thought it was, at worst, a wishy washy imaginary fairy tale; and at best, something mawkish that couldn't be pulled off with an English accent. But I first encountered its real powers when I was running a half-marathon last October. Positive thinking is fundamental to sporting achievements, and now I totally understand why.
During the half-marathon, there were people all around the route, clapping and cheering us on. And it really helped with morale, especially for those last few miles. Thoughts really do become actions, and believing you can do something is key for pulling it off. So those people cheering us on, literally cheered us up and helped us to continue.
The people cheering also provided a less pious motivation, in that, their presence meant, if we did give up, there would be an audience witnessing our failure. But mostly they provided a rallying cry.
The other thing about them was, (I was running to raise money for the charity Scope) people would shout 'go team scope!' And (having never previously been very sporty or on many teams) made me feel curiously like I was part of something, and doing something good. (You know, once I got over the fact it felt a bit like I was in a Rocky montage).
This Edinburgh hasn't been bad, it just hasn't been as busy as last year. We've all had some great, busy shows, and some trickier low audience shows. And even if everyone had sold out every single night, the last week would still be the hardest one and take its toll.
So to all the comedians and actors and Fringe Festival performers, I say, 'Keep going! Woo! You can do it! Not much further now! Come on! Go team!'
Catie Wilkins - Joy is my Middle Name @ 19.45 Underbelly Cowgate