Well, it's all over. All those places that were venues for the month have returned to their original usage as damp hovels. The people of Edinburgh can now walk through their streets unmolested by performers and promoters and the comedic and acting fraternities can return to being underemployed.
A couple of people mentioned to me that my blogs seemed a bit morose through the festival (perhaps calling this one 'post-mortem' won't help), but that was largely because I always wrote them when I was hungover. Generally, while fun stuff was happening I didn't think "ooh, must note this down for the Huffington Post". And now I'm still hungover, in a way. A whole month of relentless drinking and adrenaline fuelled comedy performance has left its imprint.
Bars in Edinburgh were open throughout the night, and some only got decent around 4am. Edinburgh during the festival is essentially Spain but without the weather. It also has something of the Spanish economy to it, too, with performers racking up debts they can't afford and venues popping up everywhere like the badly-built villas of the previous decade.
But this post is called the post-mortem. So let's cut open the bloated corpse of the festival and peer inside to see what we've learnt.
1. The Free Fringe is the best thing that has happened in recent years - I made my show free, and it was pretty much full every night. I also ended up earning more than a lot of my peers at the commercial fringe. And as my venue buddy John Kearns will attest, being on the Free Fringe doesn't stop you winning awards...
2. Exercising every day takes the edge off the punishing month. I ended up losing half a stone through running, cycling, gymming or swimming every day, despite having drunk more than my bodyweight.
3. Don't let promoters get carried away. I was chatting to another act at the pleasance who ended up losing seven grand. I'm as egotistical as they come but it's just not worth that money just to see big pictures of yourself around town. Spend that money on getting an oil painting of yourself done instead.
4. The fringe is a glorified trade show in a way. We all spent a month flogging our wares, now in September we can see if any customers want to bulk-buy.
5. You never know where a brief chat will lead. On the 14th September I'm going to be doing a gig in Kilkenny, Ireland after chatting with an Irish sketch group I had met two years ago.
6. Start thinking about your next fringe show now. If you're going to do it, it pays to start early.
Anyway, that's a token list. Over the course of a month my sensitivity to odd sights had been very much lessened, as one would regularly walk past a giant panda, some Romans covered in blood and a guy dressed as Predator. One night I was walking up the mile when I saw a cluster of guys dressed in black shouting. I thought, "it's a bit late for this performance art" when actually it was just a drunk being held down by his friends as he shouted abuse.
The festival starts to change your thinking after a while. Then you have to go back to Croydon. And as we were heading up my road on Monday after the eight hour drive back, we were startled by the sight of an enormous yellow tailfeather in the road like a human peacock. It turned out to be a woman returning from carnival. It made me glad to see that weird shit happens down here, too.
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