Monday, 23 August 2010

Was it worth it?

[Updated Oct/Nov 2010]
So… was it worth it? Well, I suppose it depends on what I was really expecting from the Fringe... Do I even know? 

There were many motivations behind my participation in the festival. But I guess what I was mainly looking for was: “the experience"… the experience of the Fringe.

And an experience it was! The Fringe was both exciting and stressful, exhilarating and dispiriting, addictive and off-putting, uplifting and depressing.  Unpredictable. Predictably, my experience in the Edinburgh Fringe with In the Name of the Flesh (ITNOTF) had its ups and downs; its highs and its lows. 

Let’s start with the LOWS: the unavoidably variable & grumpy Scottish weather (with its outpours of rain); the stressful technical complications of the video projection setup at the Banshee Labyrinth; the few times that the Hammer and Tongue slams (preceding my show every night) overran (thus adding to the stress); the disruptively noisy atmosphere at the goth/punk venue; the (baffling) hostility from the local free gay press; the non-stop flocks of tourists on the Royal Mile; the random clueless audience members one can face some times (not only for my show but also for other people’s); the low turn-outs for ITNOTF on two or three of the nights; Edinburgh’s limited gay scene; no stand out shows at this year’s Fringe; a long list of could haves and should haves (of course, I will always regret not being able to participate in The Naked Brunch, which took place, fittingly, on my birthday, which I spent far far from Edinburgh); and the odd bits and pieces better left to oblivion.

But I'd rather focus on the HIGHS: the vibrant parallel spoken word universe surreally hosted in the grungy Banshee Labyrinth and dedicatedly orchestrated by “ringmaster of spoken word” and not-that-you-would-notice-it-heart-failure-sufferer Richard Tyrone Jones; the friendly vibes coming from the electrifying Hammer and Tongue slams that preceded ITNOTF every night; winning one of the Hammer and Tongue heats and thus making it to their final, which was filmed by Billy Watson;  finding a long queue of punters waiting to get in on the first night of ITNOTF; a very rewarding performance at Scottee’s Eat Your Heart Out (EYHO) in front of a lovely young crowd, many of whom came to see my full show two days later; the warm words and signs of appreciation from audience members during and after my performances; some very sexy audience members for ITNOTF, especially on Monday 16th; some interesting shows (EYHO itself, Mysterious Skin, Lady C, Belt Up’s Lorca is Dead); our daily routines (such as tasting  post-show pseudo-mojitos, pseudo-margaritas or Pyms at the C Venues’ “Urban Gardens” between Chamber Street and Cowgate, surrounded by the young, good looking performers from the nearby venues – so young, so cute, so fresh, so full of enthusiasm); discovering new restaurants in Edinburgh; unexpectedly bumping into Ugly Betty's Michael Urie and a few people I know from London: Tonny A., David Mills, Tom Webb, Jonathan Kemp, Arkem, Natacha Poledica, Becky Fury and more;  the nice words from Ben Walters about ITNOTF in his article in Time Out; the sustained applause at the end of my show at the well-attended last 3 nights; and so much more... Oh, yes, last but by no means least, my partner John’s much valued assistance, support and love.

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