Saturday, 27 August 2016

The Final Countdown.


It’s official: at time of going to press, I only have two Edinburgh shows left.

It’s strange to finally be at a point on the calendar I almost never thought I’d reach. Many’s the time I’d look at the wall planner in Glyn’s and my office, scan my eyes over August and think I’d never get a show together in time for it, let alone reach the end of the run. It was the cause of fear, self-doubt and anxiety on and off from the moment I decided to go to Scotland to do my first solo Edinburgh run; now it’s nearly over, those feelings have been replaced with pride and even a little faith in my own ability - though like any performer, my insecurities haven’t left completely.

In a strange way, as I’ve got more tired over the last week or so, my show's become more enjoyable. I play with the material a darn sight more than I did a few weeks back. Today was a case in point, when a slightly older, quieter contingent to the audience needed constant cajoling to keep them on board. For the first few minutes, I kept being distracted by a woman who was constantly looking in a large paper bag on the seat next to her and fiddling with the contents. On questioning her, I found out the bag was full of maps, which wasn’t what I'd expected. She didn’t mind my constant teasing and was good sport.

Conversely, I found myself repeatedly drawn in by a man whose eyes were boring into my soul, seemingly hating my every word and movement. I’d spoken to him briefly outside the venue before the gig, when he snappily asked Steve and my flyerer Ewan, “Are you the queue?”
“No, we’re not,” I replied.”What show are you looking for?”
“It’s at Venue 88. Are you the queue?”
As I walked huffily up the hill towards the entrances to the caves, I silently prayed he wasn't there for me, though I knew he inevitably would be.

After the show, I went for lunch with Steve, popped into a whisky bar for a 'wee dram' and then saw him off at the station, as he was going home today. As I left him, I felt my mood and enthusiasm drop. I’d remained upbeat, thanks to the constant stream of visitors this week, but now they’ve gone, I’m conscious of just how long I’ve been up here and how tired I’ve become. Each day, I wake up with scarcely any energy, and while I manage to get my adrenalin going for the hour of my show, it’s all the walking past people on the street with no spacial awareness or avoiding flyerers that has finally taken its toll. There’s only so long you can keep momentum going before you long to wind things down. Don’t get me wrong: I’ll make the most of the last two shows, but when they’re done, I’ll return to my stasis chamber willingly, to consider my next move.

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