2014 Gig One Hundred and Twenty Three: Edinburgh Fringe

From my biggest audience of the Edinburgh Fringe to my smallest audience in 14 years. Before we get into that first I want to talk about my friend Nerija.  She wasn't just my friend.  She was a friend to many people.  Loved by many.  She was a daughter and a sister. She was a confidant.  She was the person who picked you up even when she was feeling down.  She was fun.  She was beautiful.  She inspired you to be a better person just by being better herself.  Six years ago she died well before her time.  It left many of us devastated.  I can't begin to to know what it must feel like for her family.  It took me many years to just come to terms with the fact that she was gone.  Today a bunch of her friends met up at the Gilded Balloon for afternoon drinks to celebrate her. To tap our glasses together in respect for her.  We didn't talk too much about her because she was never one to hog the limelight but we all knew why we were there.  I still miss her.

 

Nerija.

 

It was cold today in Edinburgh.  It was like the city forgot it was summer as brutally cold winds blew through the city.  I went for an early walk and watched with much respect as buskers performed to small crowds, all of them united in their desire for entertainment regardless of the rain.  Yesterday had been so beautiful and warm and tonight was going to be brutal.  Check out the conditions in this photo:

 

Wherefore art thou radiant sun?  No really, where the fuck are you?

 

So last night I had just under 60 punters in the show.  Just before 6pm tonight one of the people flyering for me informed me that he wasn't flyering from 7pm-9pm like he was meant to, he would do 6.30pm-7.30pm.  That was going to do my show no good. The key time is before the show begins and that is also the time where I go over notes and prepare for the show.  I told him he could have the day off, he'd deserved it...meanwhile Geraldine Hickey stood out in the rain like a champion working her arse off to the few people that were around.  How dire was it?  Check out the board for the Assembly Rooms that give you the information for all the shows:

 

Like the cleansing rain of God the board was wiped clean of any information.

 

I ended up with five punters.  That is also the average number for punters at gigs at the Fringe.  I had deliberately brought this show because I thought it was muscular enough to perform to single digits.  Now this was the test.  The set list was:

 

Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994

 

I am proud to say that with a big crowd my show came in at 57 minutes.  With five people it came in at 55 mins.  No deviations, no speeding up of the performance, it kept the pace that it had settled into it and it worked.  In a way I feel like I got more out of tonight than I did last night.  On the previous night I just enjoyed the show.  Tonight I made it work with the smallest crowd I'd ever performed to.  I was just rapt that anybody had turned up!  With the terrible weather I was emotionally prepared to cancel.  I had spoken to a few acts that had done just that so I knew it was on the cards.  To still be able to do the show was a win for me.

This was the reason that I came to Edinburgh.  To face challenges.  To get out of my comfort zone.  If this had happened in Australia I would have struggled but my ego is robust here.  There are no preconceptions about who I am and therefore no misconceptions.  I'm sure some people will not understand this but you can't improve unless you face challenges and I came out of this gig feeling quite inspired.  I knew this show was good enough to take on any challenges and this proved it.

After the gig I caught up with a couple of comedians who all had their stories to tell. Everyone had tough nights.  Yet meeting up in a bar to talk about it, share our stories and laugh at what we had just experienced was hilarious and a great bonding moment.  After a couple of drinks I made my way home with the rain still pouring and the wind attempting to snatch my umbrella from my cold hands.  It is summer here, right?  At least it gave me a taste of Melbourne.  They're predicting worst weather tomorrow.  With Wednesday being my only scheduled day off for the run I could be looking at gaining another.  We'll wait and see what happens and whatever the day throws my way I'll be prepared for another challenge.

As my friend Geraldine would say:  "I'm having a really great time."

 

Justin Hamilton

11th of August, 2014

Edinburgh