Susan Morrison: The party's over, so I need to find some clean pants

Ah well, back to auld claes and porridge. The Fringe is now well and truly over. The city can get back to normal.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 31st August 2018, 6:00 am
Performers will be packing their bags and heading back on the road now that their festival stint is over. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Performers will be packing their bags and heading back on the road now that their festival stint is over. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The good people of Edinburgh can get on buses without explaining what “exact change” means to tourists from Uzbekistan, stroll the pavements in a carefree manner without dodging a unicorn handing out flyers and get a drink in a bar without a braying lad from Essex telling his buddies that he’s very big in print post-production, which every one knows is shorthand for “delivering flyers”.

The venues are now quiet again. It may seem odd, but I do wonder sometimes how these venerable buildings feel when the stages, sound and lights get stripped out.

In the New Town Theatre we (well, me, at any rate) became convinced that a poltergeist wandered the basement on a mission to move boxes, props and the mysterious Inflatable Man. We named her Petunia. I worry about Petunia the Poltergeist when suddenly there aren’t hundreds of people drifting in and out of her basement.

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Luckily for Susan a Ford Fiesta is easier to control than a Typhoon jet. Picture: Iavokos Haztzistavrou/Getty Images

I worry that she might miss the ­Inflatable Man, and that she might be lonely for the chance to trip up an ­unwary techie or a slightly dazed ­comedian. She was very good at it. We’ve all got the bruises to prove it.

The clowns have all gone home, ­except the ones who live here. We go into a sort of weird mourning, because the stage is still here, it’s just the set that’s changed. The banners, box ­offices and bunting have all gone.

For a month we’ve been living to a timetable. It’s about the only time in the year we do. We’ve been living on adrenalin, coffee and booze and then suddenly, its back to bill paying, discovering you’ve got no clean pants and rediscovering the joys of eating with a knife and fork.

Some of us don’t like to let it go. If you see someone with a lanyard around their neck there’s an outside chance it’s a Fringe warhorse who just can’t say goodbye. Be kind to them. In their heads, the Fringe is still going on, something no sane person wants. Or do they?

Not asking anyone to feel sorry for us crazed performers, by the way. It beats 12-hour shifts down a mine, if there are any mines left for us to do 12-hour shifts in.

A six-week Fringe in a coal bunker

It is over. Three weeks is long enough, innit? So whoever it is wandering about the council suggesting that we make the Fringe longer needs to take a cool look in the mirror.

It’s not just a matter of the participants, although end-of-Fringe performers usually look like someone auditioning successfully for the coveted role of Murder Victim 1 (pulled out of river) in any upcoming gritty television detective drama.

The city itself needs to get the ­Hoover out and start the clearing up. After all, the Christmas shenanigans are heading our way . . .

Can I suggest that whoever it is that thinks the Fringe should be extended is forced to do their own one-man or woman show next year in Venue 5798, which is a coal bunker in Dalkeith?

They must do their show for the full run of the Fringe, and, at the same time, live in a rented flat above an ­Airbnb hosting hens, stags and groups from Hampstead who do improv ­musical theatre.

See what they think of a six-week Fringe then.

Top Gun fliers never have a screaming cat to contend with

Straight out of the Fringe, and straight into a cat emergency.

Our old blind cat Sully suddenly needed the attention of the vet. This meant getting him into the cat box (manic laughter all round) and leaping into the car, which I have not driven for a month.

Remember when you came back from holiday and you had to operate the photocopier and you just stood there, slack-jawed with confusion? That’s how I felt when I got into the driver’s seat. I stared at the dashboard like it was the cockpit of a Typhoon fighter jet.

Fortunately, the controls of a Ford Fiesta are a lot simpler, I imagine, but I still had to drive around a car park just to make sure I could remember how the clutch worked. Mind you, a wee family runaround might be easier to get to know again, but I’ll bet you those flyboys and gals don’t have to reacquaint themselves with their heads-up display and the missile launch sequence with a cat screaming blue murder next to them.

Grace under pressure, my friends.

Final curtain

Well, it was fun while it lasted, but fortunately, it ends. We, the hooligan element who bring music, comedy, drama and general bonkersness, don’t get any real opportunity to express our gratitude to the people of Edinburgh who put up with the hullabaloo, so perhaps I can say thank you from all of us. Thank you, Edinburgh.