Unbelievably, we’re already almost halfway through the festival. Time plays tricks on you here. The first days tick by interminably as you get ready to launch the show then suddenly you’re off and before you know it you’ve performed it ten nights on the trot.
But just as the month seems to be slipping from your grasp, the third week arrives and everything slows down until you feel like you’ve been walking the same route to the same venue to do the same show for a decade. And then, with a rush, it’s all over, and you wish you had just one more day. It’s like life itself or, if that’s too pretentious, the World Cup.
So far I’ve spent a large proportion of my hours at the playground on the Meadows (with my tiny son – very rarely on my own). In previous years the Pleasance Courtyard has been the heart of the festival but now the swings and sandpit are definitely up there (maybe the lungs of the festival?) It’s loud, chaotic and, like the big venues, you can always indulge in a bit of star spotting: so far I’ve shared see-saws with Shappi Khorsandi, Josh Howie, Lucy Porter and Stewart Lee. It’s a lot like that bit in Heat where people spot people and boast about it.
But it’s not all about babies. This week I kicked off my late night jazz comedy show, The Horne Section, and found myself awake after midnight for the first time this festival. In fact, we don’t even start playing till after midnight and I didn’t leave the bar until dawn. That’s more like the Fringe I’m used to and I felt vaguely cool for the first time in ages. Not only had I sung onstage with a full band and a full house, but I’d stayed up really late too. I was the man.
When I was changing a nappy at 7am the next morning, however, I felt less like the man and more like a man again; a tired grumpy man, much like my one year old son (but bigger). It’s always a good leveller, the Fringe.
Pet hate of the Festival so far: people’s names. One of my least favourite aspects of the Fringe is the social awkwardness it always entails. I’m useless in most public situations, but up here everything is magnified. Every day so far I’ve had a conversation with someone whose name I knew once but can’t recall when it matters. On one occasion I bravely jumped in with a ‘Hi Mat’ but having missed spectacularly (he was called Barry) I’ve since taken to calling everybody ‘man’.
It’s dreadful really. I know I don’t know their name, they know I don’t know their name and I know they know I don’t know their name. If you’re in a show, please carry a poster at all times and if you’re not; name badges.
Alex Horne will be performing his solo show ‘Odds’ at the Pleasance Upstairs at 20:30. He will also be performing his one off show ‘Taskmaster’ on the 27th August at the Pleasance Queen Dome at 00:20. For full details see www.alexhorne.com