I only ever go to a gym when I'm at the Fringe. To be honest I think I go for the same reasons I go to the Fringe. I know it's not going to be fun. I know I'll be counting down the minutes until I can leave. I know if I see anyone I know in the locker room/street I'll avert my eyes and pretend I haven't seen them to prevent awkward, stilted conversation. But I know that when I get out I'll have a sense of relief, refreshment and catharsis.
The main difference between my gym and the Fringe, of course, is that there's lots of people in my gym. Too many. But then there's always too many people in a gym. If there's just you and one other person, there's too many people. Many of these people are too confident. There's this spin dryer thing, right, which you can put your wet trunks into and it wrings them out. It's halfway between the lockers and the pool. Now, are you the sort of person who, on your way back, would whip off your swimmers on the hoof, wring them out in the buff and then proceed to your locker? Well stop reading my blog then. We have nothing to say to each other. When people are prepared to operate heavy machinery with their bits out, civilisation is doomed.
There's this bloke who always takes the running machine in front of me who has a massive, shit tattoo all over his back and shoulders that isn't finished yet. There's nothing quite so bad - is there? - as a massive shit tattoo that isn't even finished. When you know that something's going to be everlastingly atrocious but you can't even get on with it being permanently awful yet. It's like queuing to get into hell. Or Ikea. You look at the half-inked error with the same sense of dismay people must have felt watching Milton Keynes being built. The outlines are there but they haven't been filled, and seeing how wobbly the outlines are I'm not convinced his tattooist will be able to stay inside them. It's one of those things they used to call a 'tribal design'. It is important that everyone knows how great and expansive the Poor Life Decisions Tribe has become. They may soon rule this entire island.
Many people have a Fringe moment when they realise their show isn't very good, and that the problems are too big for corrective surgery, and that they are doomed to repeating the same mistakes at a set time to a dwindling audience, at great personal expense, for a horrible number of days. At my Fringe debut in 2007 I had this epiphany at, oh, about 10 minutes into my first show. I had paid £10,000 to map out the outline of an apomictic opus of self-vandalism, and would spend the next 26 days painfully inking it in.
There's nothing worse than nursing a bad show, like a baby born with a foot for a head, until its inevitable demise. There's no mercy killing for bad shows. You can't say to your venue, and your producer, and your agent, and your flyerers: "Sorry guys, but we're all going home now. I just shot the show in its terrifying foot-head. It was the kindest thing to do."
Thankfully, this year's show was planned and prepared for, like the best middle-class babies. It is loved and I'm proud of it. But then, the man plodding away on a treadmill in front of me probably feels the same about the dickwitted Celtic clusterfuck all over his back.
Liam Mullone: A Land Fit for Fuckwits is on at Stand 4, 3.30pm, until August 26