A week ago, I was in Edinburgh for five nights. It felt much like returning to the MCU after the Blip. It was familiar, but also different. And someone else is now in the room you used to be in every day.
In another analogy, I realised that doing an Edinburgh Fringe show is much like a drawing in the sand on the beach. And time is the tide coming in to wash it away. That sand drawing may be recorded, or even be moved to somewhere in London or other venues nationwide for several dates. But when you come back to Edinburgh the next year, there’s no trace of what you created previously, and you have to start all over again. Although some fortunate participants may be helped by a team of uncredited sand drawing folk.
When you’re doing a show at Edinburgh Fringe, it feels like it is the most important thing in the world. In reality, it is not. It’s an intense and ridiculous month where you experience practically every emotion imaginable. And where you’re one bad review away from being sent into a downward spiral. But in the end, it’s gone and all you’re left with are memories – some of which you try desperately to forget.
Regardless, I enjoyed being back in a city where I’ve spent nine or ten months in Augusts of my life since first going up in 2010. For the first time, I was up there mostly as a punter, chalking up the total of one gig – my lowest all-time tally for when I’ve been there in August. I got to catch up with friends I’d not seen in three years, see several shows, and have a pint in the Kilderkin most nights.
One of the main reasons I didn’t make any enquiries about taking a show up to the Fringe this year was due to concerns about Covid. Given how much HTWAPQ relies on audiences mixing and exchanging items such as whiteboards and pens, I thought it presented too many opportunities for the virus to spread in a cramped and unventilated room.
And although I may not have gained all the benefits from doing a show this year, I did gain one of the negative things – which is actually a positive. Because I have now Covid. I could feel it starting when I was on the train home. Thankfully, it wasn’t until I arrived home that it started to kick in properly.
Having dodged the virus for two and a half years, I couldn’t run forever. And now I can’t run at all due to having a respiratory illness. It doesn’t feel too bad, in all honesty.
Next year, I plan on returning to Edinburgh with a show, and will hopefully come back without a virus.