This week sees the start of the Edinburgh Fringe. In celebration we've conscripted master comedian and star of September's Kings of Comedy shoot Alex Horne to keep us in the loop with all the comings and goings from this year's festival.
Alex Horne - The first installment
This is my tenth Edinburgh Fringe but my first as a father. So far it’s been completely different to any previous festivals but also, reassuringly, exactly the same.
It started, as all rock and roll ventures should, with a trip to Ikea. Almost every comedy show in Edinburgh will feature some furniture from the friendly Swedish monster; look out for the ever-popular “Agne” stool which retails at the tempting price of £10.99 or, in my case, the delightful “Lack” coffee table, yours for just £4.99. I also had to get a highchair for my one year old son, so bought the “Antilop” which neatly combines the seat and table options and set me back a mere £14.99. Obviously I did have to make a second trip that afternoon, having forgotten the tray section of said highchair, but that also meant an extra portion of meatballs for me so I wasn’t too upset.
(Hopefully that will be the only paragraph of this Fringe comedy blog to focus solely on Ikea and its products.)
As soon as my son and I had places to sit and put things on we started settling into the city, our new home for a month. The three of us (my wife - his mum – is also up for the entire festival, another first for me) are renting a flat in the swanky Marchmont area by the Meadows which cost us an unbelievable amount of honk (I reckon you could buy four cars for the same price) but so far, seems to be worth it. There’s a playground nearby where parents can drink coffee and stare like zombies from behind a fence, a field where the local acrobats train every morning, and my friend Mark Watson (a fine comedian and another first time father) is a short walk away. In previous years we’d meet for breakfast at noon and moan about the night before. We do the same now, just five hours earlier.
My son, Tom, has done the best joke I’ve seen up here so far. On the very first morning a flyerer approached us. Seeing a quirky way in to his sales pitch, he handed the flyer to Tom. Tom grabbed it. He does that. He then chucked it onto the floor. He does that too. Thanks mostly to his intense and utterly unapologetic expression, we all laughed. Tom had deliberately thrown the flyer back into the face of the flyerer, as many festival-goers will want to over the next four weeks. And because we all laughed, the next time someone gave him a flyer, Tom nonchalantly discarded that one too. We laughed again. And then again when it happened half an hour later. This is a joke that will run and run.
I’ve now got my first show out of the way too. I think it went well: I admired the thigh of a rugby player called Mr Troddon and a drunk girl called Vicky staggered to the toilet during the climax of my hour-long story. As I say, it’s been completely different to any previous festivals but also, reassuringly, exactly the same.
Alex is performing this year’s Edinburgh shows Odds, Taskmaster and The Horne Section. See www.alexhorne.com for more information