Great first night in Edinburgh.
Arrived via train at six thirty and headed to pleasance courtyard – struck up interesting conversation with an artist Andrea Geile who produces botanical based art and sculpture at events like www.bigthingsonthebeach.co.uk which is something Id like to attend if I was here longer.
Had dinner with the show manager of our comedy club in Liverpool before catching Reg Hunter’s show. This year (perhaps a bit fed up with some of the Edinburgh Machinery – particularly the awards system, Reg is only doing about half the festival which in a way is a bit of a shame because he is really starting to hit his stride well. He hasnt been totally happy with this show at some stages, tho the preview I booked hi for in Birmingham – altho clearly a work in progress, showed a lot of promise and was the most relaxed Ive seen hin onstage for a while. Here we was in great form and the crowd (of over 700) loved it.
We went on to an odd little late show in a small underground venue. Rick Shapiro was on when we arrived, not everyones cup of tea, but I found myself almost mesmerised by his delivery – not so much what he was saying but the vehenemence and rhythm of it. Ive come to notice that I often appreciate spoken word as music – picking up on the rhythm and movement of the sound as much as the literal meaning of the content. The tobacco fress cigarette I spoken with a well known Canadian comic before hand may have enhanced my appreciation somewhat.
Next up Craig Campbell who was furiously angry with the fact that there were a good few people in the room not listening, tho this was much to do with the layout of the room (almost cut in half by a massive pillar). He ranted at the crowd for a few minutes in a visceral and exciting way – before heading into some material that was working well. But rather than sticking with he got drawn back into addressing those members of the crowd that were choosing not to pay attention (rather than those that were) and ended up singing a song before leaving the stage. In some ways I think Craig is actually at his best when his anger comes out – tho its barely contained. Powerful stuff, but it cant be that good for his blood pressure.
Reggie had to follow the kerfuffle that ensued and was happy to see how things played out, when a woman on huge stilts with a massive red dress looking not unlike a toilet roll holder doll and repeatedly hitting her head on the lighting, came in to chat and plug her show. Quite surreal. Reg did well and was followed by a succession of impressively weird and wonderful acts – ending with Shapiro getting up for another half an hour. By the end he was only playing to a few people at the front and the side of the room, but he was truly on one – riffing on what came into his head or what occurred and freely jumping from story to story happy to talk about the state of the gig for a bit in between material and building a terrific momentum – feeding off his own energy like a massive extended free jazz solo.
Hooked up with some peeps at the perfomers bar back at the Gilded Balloon – bumped into Glenn Wool and met Steven K Amos – then back to Reggie’s place and chatted til eight in the morning. When I woke up on the couch I thought Id slept til late saturday, but fortunately it was only Friday lunch. Still buzzing on the Edinburgh energy.