Running in heels and other things I didn't expect at Edinburgh Fringe

T minus fifteen minutes. Plenty of time to get there. We figure out the set of artistically designed bins, dump our pints' plastic glasses and stroll to the venue.
T minus nine minutes, we reach the venue and try to figure out the signs. It's not too surprising for the constantly re-marked chalkboards to not show your event, so I wander to the green hut of information to ask where the show is. Turns out my friend's working there so I cover up our confusion with my usual how-typical-I-can't-understand-the-obvious attitude.
T minus eight minutes, my friend in the hut gives me a very professional, "no, sorry, you've got the wrong venue". I assume the venue will be nearby, boasting the same name as the one we're stood in, and even his offhand, "it's on the other side of town" doesn't phase me. He's my friend, he's an actor, he's done bigger things to pull my leg. It's only when his friends, who I don't know, earnestly yet professionally agree, do I realise he's being serious.
T minus seven minutes. I sigh with a mix of regret and pre-disaster preparation and ask my person if he thinks we can make it in time. He clocks there's seven minutes to go and gives an answer I can't remember, something along the lines of "I don't know" or "it's up to you". Of course, he's looking at the girl who woke up and got ready to go into town in less than a quarter of an hour in the middle of the night after spending the day falling asleep on her feet, so he already knows the answer.
T minus six minutes. I do a quick mental calculation. The route is relatively straight - follow your nose and the crowds. I've got two and a half inch wedges on. My hair's up so there's no chance of view obstruction. Of course I'm going to do it, I'm just working out how easy it's likely to be. Swinging my bag over my shoulder into a small satchel, I check it's shut and that my person has a map at easy access, and tell my green hut friend I'll see him in a little bit over an hour.
T minus six minutes to T plus five minutes. We run to the other side of the city.

I don't know if you've ever chased a half marathon runner across a city. If not, I'm going to take this opportunity to suggest that you never do. Whilst doing my mental calculation I totally forgot to take this into account, alongside the tiny problem that I can't run. Edinburgh in itself is a difficult city to run across - rich in history, the streets are often cobbled or at best uneven, and being built on six levels, there's more than a few hills. For someone who finds Derby's Babbington Lane or St Peter's Gate a pain after a long day, this didn't bode well. Add tens of thousands of people in huge crowds, long bus lines, and a necklace that hits you in the chest every time you try and breathe, and things look bad.

In time, we reach the venue. We walk in a few minutes late to what can most easily be described as a "Fringe show". For those of you who don't know, let me summarise the general premise; a brilliant concept. Not the cleanest execution. Bizarre consumes. Corpsing. One or two jokes that stand out fantastically. Up to date references. Something very meta. It's the sort of show that you have to see one of each year, the sort of thing that reassures you that you took a chance on an intriguing idea and that you're supporting people who've probably spent months working on the idea, you've helped realise their dream, but... you wish you'd had a drink in your hand during it.

In previous years, I've taken big risks and seen some truly, truly, awful shows. Actually, I've only ever seen one that was so bad I can't find words for it, so bad I wrote an article about how bad it was and hated the thought of it all so much I never published it, so bad I've thankfully forgotten the name and most of the content, so bad that when I'm in an awful situation I think to myself, "at least I'm not at that dire Fringe show".

Many things happened this past weekend that were far more amusing than That Show, not just the five star performances or the bigger name comedians such as Ed Byrne or Daniel Sloss. Running into a selection of mine and my person's old friends with careful avoidance; my green hut friend telling me about taxidermy; my person's friend offering me Tunnocks teacakes then whispering in my ear things that shouldn't be typed on a blog in case one day it's discovered, not taken as a joke, and everyone gets in trouble; seeing George Clarke or his doppleganger; many overheard conversations; an electric blind; complicated riddles; my mum spilling tea down herself.

I love the Fringe. I really do. But even if a show isn't setting itself up to be five stars, always check where the venue is.


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