Susan Morrison: You can’t hide from the flyering teams

Flyer teams are common during the Fringe
Flyer teams are common during the Fringe
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Sorry, got to to put on my knee support...

They will pop up at you at unexpected moments, rush at you with unwonted enthusiasm and startled you when you least expect it. The flyering teams.

Hyacinth Hippo from Disney's Fantasia

Hyacinth Hippo from Disney's Fantasia

Sometimes they hunt solo, sometimes they fan out in formation like a U-Boat wolfpack. Their aim? Solely to get you into their venue, to get your bahookie on their seats.

It’s their enthusiasm that gets to you. If they are anything like the team for The Stand Comedy Club, they tend to be young and ridiculously cheerful, even when the pouring rain is reducing the flyers in their hands to papier mache. They are, in many ways, something of an improvement on one of our very first flyerers back in the late 90s. His name was Tommy Sheppard.

Most of these paper-proffering Tiggers are students. The Stand pays the Living Wage, so we have kids who are planning to put the cash to uni or travelling or, in the case of one young lady, saving up to buy a designer bag. I don’t know why. Something to do with fashion.

But since the young woman in question is on her feet every hour she can get, who am I to tell her what to do with her hard earned cash?

They are bright and intelligent and lovely. They are from all over the world, coming here to Edinburgh to study subjects as varied as dentistry, civil engineering and the history of fine art.

So please, when they bounce up, remember it’s someone’s kid in front of you. Ask yourself, how would you like your son or daughter to be treated when they are at work?

Most folks are lovely either taking the flyers or refusing with a polite thanks-but-no-thanks. Some, however, react like Trump being heckled by a crying baby.

Now, we can all have a moment of Flyer Face Fail, when the polite smile strains and the weariness sets in. They can seriously get on your wick.

My solution, you may recall, is to buy a lanyard arrangement and hang a playing card off it. It looks like venue security. Flash your ‘badge’ and the average flyering team will fall back like vampires in daylight. Works a treat.

There are days when one more flyer for a zany/whacky/challenging show threatens to put you over the edge and tempts you into performing a solo show entitled ‘Victor Meldrew and Malcolm Tucker Had A Love Child And It Was Loud And Angry’ but, please, take a breath and give a smile.

By September they’ll be gone.

My best dancing days may be behind me, but the show goes on even if the Bolshoi no longer needs me in my tutu

Way back in April I had a great idea. Let’s do a walking tour during the Fringe.

I had a notion of drifting under the trees of St Andrew Square in the glory of a Scottish summer, the sun dappling through the branches, with the trams in the background shimmering in the savage heat.

What could possibly go wrong?

Cue the greatest heckler of them all, Mother Nature.

Let’s see, now. Day Two we had winds of hurricane proportions. Those dappling branches? Pretty much hurtling at us.

Day Three, Four and most of Five, monsoon rains that did their best to wash us down to Leith.

Days One through Six, temperature drops that made us reach for our semmits.

All we needed was snow to complete the picture.

She threw me a curveball underfoot. Wet grass, ladies and gentlemen is a hazard. I know this now, because as I swung round to demonstrate a minuet on said damp surface, I managed to twist my knee so savagely that my career with the Bolshoi is almost certainly over.

Worry not. They’ll find a use for that massive tutu. I’m now leading limping tours around the Square.

Like I said, walking tours, eh - what could possibly go wrong?