Edinburgh; The Purple Cow is inflated, The pop-up bars assembled, and the amount of English accents has tripled. It's time for the Fringe. For some people it's the best time of year. Artist? Culture Vulture? Party Animal? Get ready for the month of your life. For the past five years the Edinburgh Fringe had more importance in my diary then Christmas, New Years and Pancake Day combined. (And I do love Pancakes).
A festival. For a month. Not a muddy weekend in a field, but a whole month - just metres away from your memory foam. Pubs open til 3 AM. Clubs til 5. Different people to party with every night - actors, dancers, musicians and my own kind, the comedians. You can hide in the back of Free Shows when you're hungover - or nurse a cider at midday in the meadows, weather permitting. "It's the festival!" No judgement here!
But what was once eager anticipation has now turned to trepidation. One year ago I put the partying lifestyle behind me. I went teetotal. The drink was beginning to take control and so I cut all ties and turned a new leaf. The Fringe is a very different place for those of us in sobriety. Without the promise of late night speakeasys, and narcotic- fueled madness, can the festival offer anything to the discerning teetotaler? I managed to avoid temptation last year (Yes I gave up drinking two weeks before the worlds largest arts festival because I am an idiot) and so for your delectation I now offer you the thinking non-drinkers guide to the Edinburgh Fringe. For abstentees like myself, or just incase you need a day off the bevy...
How To Survive The Fringe... Sober!
1. Delight at not paying Five Pounds for a pint of warm shit lager.
This is a free show, taking place in every single bar in the city. London brings it's booze prices up with it during the month of August. Sit back, think of that money saved... Or better yet...
2. Spend that saved money on an extra show
You've been good. Treat yourself to one more show. The Chinese Acrobatic Ukulele David Bowie Tribute Orchestra starts in ten minutes - you've earned it.
3. Eat Breakfast.
Believe it or not, Saturday Morning exists here in Scotland. You and your morning chirp can practically skip into town. Catch Shakespeare for Breakfast. (A real show, with free toast!) or just head into The City Café for a stack of pancakes.
4. Why take hallucinogenic drugs when you can go see Tony Law.
Let master of the surreal Tony Law take you on a mind bending comedy journey, and actually remember it.
5. Go Home.
It's Midnight. That so-called "producer" you're flirting with is just talking to you until someone more important comes along. Just because the city is awake - doesn't mean you have to be. Get a good nights rest - and get ready to do it all again tomorrow!
Liam Withnail is performing his abstinence memoir True Defective at The Beehive Inn, 17.25, 4th-28th Aug. (Not 15th)