Regrets of a Fringe part-timer

Danny Robins pines for the full-on experience

In the same way that Paris empties of French people in August as all the Parisians head to their gîtes, London always feels pretty empty of comics in August as everyone with two jokes to rub together heads to Edinburgh. I kind of like the image of Scotland’s capital as one big gîte for comedians.

OK, so Edinburgh might not have Provence’s weather and you’re more likely to be feasting on a dodgy pizza from the City Cafe than a nice camembert but there’s something quite lovely about knowing all your friends are going to be holed up in one place for a whole month.

The years I haven’t done the Fringe I’ve always felt a bit left out stuck down in London; like those American tourists who wander round Paris trying to figure out why all the restaurants are shut and where everyone’s gone.

This year, I’m having the best of both worlds, as my August is a tale of two fringes. I’m doing short runs at both Camden Fringe and up in Edinburgh. For me, the Camden Fringe has a lot to recommend it – my venue, the Roundhouse, is a short walk from my house, I don’t have to pay an astronomical sum for a month’s accommodation (well I do, but it’s my mortgage) and I can still get on with my normal life.

But, I have to say that at this time of year, you’re just not human if you don’t feel a little tug on the heartstrings to be up on the Royal Mile, dodging the crowds, braving the bagpipes and gearing up to do your show in an extremely sweaty poorly ventilated room to quite possibly very few people.

So, this year I’m being an Edinburgh part-timer. I’m doing just two gigs. Well, possibly three if I really have fun. It feels a little weird to be doing such a short run.

Everybody else is heading up there right now, preparing for a month of hard comedic graft, flyering, press interviews and reviews and I’m just going to saunter up there a week or so in and dip my toe in the water.

I’m a part timer. I feel a bit like somebody who just joins in on the last few miles of a Lands End to John O’Groats walk. Or like those people that go to Glastonbury but then stay in a luxury hotel off-site. That’s probably the best analogy actually. If Edinburgh is a muddy, rain sodden campsite I am enjoying the metaphorical equivalent of a power shower, a memory foam mattress and unlimited Moulton Brown toiletries.

The real reason I’m only doing a short stint this year is that I got married a couple of months back and the huge amount of money I’d normally happily burn on an Edinburgh venue, publicity and accommodation already got burnt on my wedding.

Turns out one wedding costs approximately two Edinburgh shows, so you can maybe expect to see me back up there in 2012. At least then I can rent out my flat in London to all the people coming for the Olympics.

  • Danny Robins is appearing as DJ Danny at the Roundhouse Studio, Camden, on August 6,7,8 and at the Tron as part of the Five Pound Fringe on August 12 and 13 at 10.20pm.

Published: 4 Aug 2010

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