14/08/2015 12:29 BST | Updated 14/08/2016 06:59 BST

24 Hours at the Edinburgh Fringe

7am, London: Wake up, panicked, from the depths of a stress-dream about missing your plane. Check phone. Yell out to flatmate to 'double check daylight savings isn't in operation'. Go back to sleep.

10am, London: Rush from flat in a panic, realising that you have entirely failed to allow for 'getting to the airport time' in your meticulously planned travel itinerary.

10.15am, London: Glare at other, more organised airport coach users, who smugly wave their pre-booked £1 tickets at the driver. Fork over £20, receive 8 £1 coins in return. Jangle way to back of bus.

12pm, Luton: Resolve never ever to fly out of Luton again.

12.15pm, airplane: Make new plane friend, who shall be called Ali, (as this is his real-life, google-able, actual name, and I think he took Friday off work to head to Edinburgh without telling his boss) by loudly deriding his choice of reading material and then realising we have several mutual friends.

1.15pm, Edinburgh airport: Exclaim in wonder at size of airport. Ask Ali if he thinks Scotland really needs such a large airport. Smile broadly to approaching Scots, who are clearly keen to make friends. Ali rushes us to newfangled 'tram to city center', professing it a technological marvel, then complains at slowness of tram for entire journey.


2pm, St Andrew's Square, Edinburgh: Met by friend. Am told that she is off to do a hospital shift that evening, so magnanimously offer to buy the first round. Exclaim in disbelief that she is only ordering a water. Pay for entire round with 3 £1 coins. Consider moving to Edinburgh and commuting to London.

2.25pm, St Andrew's Square, Edinburgh: Doctor friend leaves to smugly tend to the sick. Have a drink in her honour.

2.30pm-12pm, various locations in Edinburgh: Evening passes in haze of firm resolutions to 'see something this evening' and increasingly expensive rounds.

11am, friend's flat in Edinburgh: Do sober recce of friend's flat. Immediately email own landlord to organise moving out of London.

4.25pm, Espionage, Edinburgh: Make firm friends for life with crowded bar as I clamber to the very front of the queue for 'Rose Matafeo and Guy Montgomery are Friends'. 'It's OK,' I tell tens of disgruntled other people. 'These are my friends.' Luckily, I alight upon some of my actual friends at this point, one of whom is very tall, so I hide behind him bravely.


4.30pm, Espionage, Edinburgh: Guy Montgomery begins with charming, carefully thought-out riff on being a New Zealander, businessmen, and adjectives, and sweeps gloriously into absurdist spiel on the global conspiracy between pigeons and cats. I watch as every member of the audience falls a little bit in love with him, and resolve to ask him at a later date for a transcript of his set, for my own personal use. (I would use it to imitate him exactly, and trick people into falling in love with me, not for anything untoward or weird).


5pm, Espionage, Edinburgh: Rose Matafeo jostles Guy out of the way to begin her set. (This was how I knew they were actual friends, not just forced into doing a show together because New Zealand only has 4 people in it). Rose draws our attention to various disturbing and ferociously amusing parts of being alive, including but not limited to: penises, explaining her airplane movie choices and R Kelly's Bump 'n Grind.

5.35pm, Espionage, Edinburgh: I attempt to corner Rose and Guy to explain why I think we should all be friends. I am dragged away by my flatmate before I fully explain myself. "Before you made it even worse," he ad-libs, showing me that at the Fringe everyone thinks they're a comedian.

5.45pm, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh: I watch as a flyerer attempts to distribute flyers. 'What is it?' people ask. 'A woman talking,' he says. I watch as men recoil in horror, and trample over several of them in my haste to reach him.


7.40pm, Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh: I sit in the middle of the front row for Heidi O'Loughlin: A Woman Talking, and spread my legs as widely as possible, like a man on the tube. (My friend asks me politely if I mind moving a little, as she now has no space whatsoever). Heidi walks on stage and I realise I've seen her before, at the helm of FanFiction Comedy, an ensemble piece that involves comedians, famous and not, reading out self-penned works of fan fiction. It is as glorious as it sounds. I play it cool, by waving frantically at Heidi, and mouthing 'I saw you last year.'

Heidi spends the next hour unerringly weaving together the founding of the Tahitian nationalist movement with a home-made Christmas mix-tape and her resultant anger over her lost Secret Santa £5, job applications at Odeon and a brilliant re-telling of the fallout between Simon and Garfunkel. Spoiler alert: she's on Paul Simon's side. I, and the rest of the audience, am utterly charmed. After the show, my flatmate points out that Heidi O'Loughlin is one of Time Out's 11 International Acts to see. I am furious with Time Out for stealing my scoop.

8.50pm, outside Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh: I convince my flatmate to pour the remainder of our bottle of malbec into a paper coffee cup by stating that 'everyone else is doing it'. I then scold him for 'giving into peer pressure' when he finally relents.

9pm, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh: Felicity Ward's show, 'What if there is no toilet?', has a stage littered with toilet rolls and what appears to be an actual toilet on it. I wonder if I should tell her this renders the title of her show obsolete. My flatmate advises against it. Most of the time, when I do things, I know the name for the action I am doing. I am still uncertain, however, as to what it is called when one raises both arms in the air, and clenches the hands into a fist, only releasing the index and little finger freely. (The hand at this point resembles a small pair of horns, and is commonly seen at gigs or other music events. It is most often accompanied by shouts of exhortation or joy). I decide to call this 'rocking out', and am surprised yet delighted to find myself doing this at a show about anxiety and IBS.


7am, my friend's flat, Edinburgh: Wake up, panicked, from the depths of a stress-dream about missing your plane. Check phone. Yell out to flatmate, then remember that he flew back the night before. Decide to get a head-start on move to Edinburgh, and fall back to sleep.