Every year, fringe performers pay large fees to fringe venues in order to perform in them and pay large portions of their ticket sales to promoters and to agents. Most of this is in an attempt to craft a following, either for the television agents who comb the fringe for new padding for the BBC3 television schedule, or to generate enough popularity among a comedy-going audience...
Hello...? Not sure if there's anyone out there or not. It's hard to know if anyone is going to read my ramblings. I mean why would you? And even if you do, how will I know? This is the thing when you write, there's no immediate response. It's not like standup where you can say something, pause, and BOOM! Laughter.
I'm at a party and have ended up talking to gastro-bores. Foodies. I can be a bit foody when the mood takes me, but this conversation, lubricated by alcohol and MasterChef, is getting out of control. Predictably, the group are trying to impress each other with wildly implausible meals - stuff they just "whip up" at home. Yeah right.
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... So let's cut open the bloated corpse of the festival and peer inside to see what we've learnt.
I roll over and look at my wife, she is staring hard at the ceiling, I recognise that look - unless I'm very much mistaken that's her "I've-just-tutted-to-wake-you-up" look. "Did you just tut?" Silence. "Are you okay?" "I'm FINE" *Tut* "Have I done something wrong?" She gets out of bed and starts stomping round the bedroom, viciously pulling the curtains open.
27 days have passed but in the alcoholic bubble of the Edinburgh festival, it feels like I've been here for over a year. People from London have become hazy faces in my mind, feeling planets away. But as I realise this crazy time has to come to an end, I look forward to seeing the familiar faces again.
The 33rd Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award short list has been announced. For those not familiar with the comedy world, it's the big award for best comedy show at the Fringe - though you can't be too big a star already to win it.
"Hey guess what - Ben Affleck is the new Batman!" "Ergh" "You don't like Affleck? You've never forgiven him for Gigli?" "Affleck's fine, it's Batman" "Batman?" "Batman" "You don't like the caped crusader?" "Nope" "Why?" "A privileged millionnaire who punishes poor people. A nocturnal David Cameron."
By the end of the week, it's bipolar Edinburgh as usual. Comics are in the bars, either drinking to their own success or drowning their sorrows. But in this industry, the dividing line between the two is the same as whether a joke will be received well or not. Stumble over your words early-on, and you can ruin the entire pay-off of a perfectly good gag.