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Mark Restuccia

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Blind Panic

Posted: 20/08/2013 14:34

I'm at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This bloomin' festival is stressful at the best of times for us performers. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah... I know we only work for an hour a day, but we spend the other 23 hours drinking, so it's hard work you know.

I was going to write my next blog about whatever problem I was encountering that day, without it sounding monotonous and moany. It turns out I needn't have worried, due to the events that unfolded at my show two nights ago.

Firstly, here's the back-story:

About 18 months ago, I received a succession of emails from a woman who became a little bit obsessed with fulfilling her wish of me becoming her boyfriend. I thwarted her numerous advances and tried to let her down as gently as I could, using the usual methods employed by online dating enthusiasts. Basically, I blocked her from every orifice of the Internet that I could think of.

I heard nothing from her, until a London comedy club tweeted a line-up, which included my very distinctive name. This lady happened to follow this comedy club on Twitter and matched my face to the name. Colombo, as she shall be known, then turned up with her friend and approached me after the gig, leaving me relatively unsettled. I was with a girl at the time and Colombo didn't seem keen on the idea that I was with someone that wasn't her. She then registered on a dating site under a different name and begged me to dump the woman that I was with for her.

I blocked her again and heard nothing more - until two days ago. I walked into my show venue and saw two alternative looking women - one with bright red hair and one with green hair. They looked similar to the two women that had approached and unsettled me at the London comedy club. I foolishly thought nothing of it. Why? Because these two women had white sticks and were apparently blind, according to my show manager. They even had to be escorted downstairs to my room. Phew.

I noted these two punk ladies sitting to the left of stage, kept my composure and got through my show. But by the end, I kind of realized that these people might be the same people that approached me and unsettled me in London all those months ago.

My good friend and fellow comedian Paul F Taylor was in that night, taking notes on my show, to help me out with it. At the end I went backstage and ushered Paul over, persuading him to wait me for a few minutes until the crowd had cleared and moved away from the venue. I told Paul I thought that I was being stalked by the blind ladies in the front row. Paul quite rightly spat out a mouthful of Evian after he'd heard this absurd statement.

We went upstairs and exited my venue. Sure enough, the two punks were waiting outside for me. These were definitely the same women who turned up in London. Now, without wanting to ruin the end of my show for you, this lady was very upset at it's positive dating outcome. In fact, she pretty much went nuclear on me, asking why I still wouldn't go out with her. As if that needed answering at this stage.

Paul and I then adopted a brisker pace, only to have her and her friend start to accompany us at the same speed and become increasingly more volatile. We accelerated into a full sprint once we got round the corner and the blind ladies started chasing and shouting at us, waving their white sticks at us furiously. One of them even threw her stick at Paul! It was almost like being chased by the baddie in Terminator 2.

We had to run round the block to lose them. Another comedian - Finlay Taylor happened to be walking past in the opposite direction and was quite rightly baffled by what was going on as we sprinted past, being heckled by the feisty punks.

I'm not convinced that they were actually blind. The main stalker certainly wasn't equipped with a white stick back in London and the green haired one - who I shall call Oscar the Grouch - had glasses.

Anyway, we lost them and they haven't returned since, but my word it was a scary thing. It just goes to show that if you do a show in Edinburgh, you leave yourself open to all of these kinds of things happening to you. I've spent the last few days getting startled at anything red and green that I see - traffic lights in particular seem to be freaking me out. Needless to say, all of my venue staff are on high alert and Paul F Taylor remains confused about why the hell he had to run from them as well.

Mark Restuccia: The Diary of a Serial Internet Dater is on every day at Just The Tonic, Bristo Square at 17:30pm until the 24th August.

 

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