Tomorrow night, the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards are announced at the annual two hour variety show in his memory. He drowned ten years ago, in 2005.
Yesterday was an appropriately random day at the Edinburgh Fringe.
I got back the Malcolm Hardee Awards being held hostage by Juliette Burton.
Miss Behave – nominated by us for a Cunning Stunt Award on the basis that she has been plugging Miss Behave’s Game Show by putting up random bits of cardboard around town with nothing on them except odd sayings and #MBGS – continued to claim, even more loudly, that it was not her doing it… and a video was uploaded onto YouTube of a small elephant doing the stunt and being taken away by two men in grey suits.
Then I saw The Half Naked Chef on and off the BlundaBus – he kept getting off and accosting members of the passing public with a cucumber and much else, climaxing with an abseil down an underpass wall with audio commentary to the audience on the top deck of the Blundabus via a radio mic. It’s on YouTube.
Then there was Shaun Buswell’s Random Orchestra.
Shaun has made it his career to go round the streets of various cities asking random people carrying musical instruments to join in a one-off performance of a tune or tunes they have never heard before because he wrote them. There is a video on YouTube about it.
At about 11.00pm, on the way back to my flat for an early night, I bumped into Matt Roper and Blanche Cameron (Lewis Schaffer’s official stalker) who both berated me for eating an ice cream because it was unhealthy. They were both standing outside the Zoo venue smoking cigarettes.
I was told that Stephen Carlin, whom I blogged about three days ago after he was excommunicated by PBH’s Free Fringe but who found a new home at The Hive, had turned up at The Hive for his first gig only to find out it had been booked for a show by a DJ. But it has now sorted itself out.
Then critic Kate Copstick appeared back at our rented flat, also having an early night. She sleeps in the bedroom; I sleep in the living room.
I suggested she should see Diary of a Shanghai Showgirl because, apart from everything else (and there is a lot of everything) co-performer Norman Gosney lived in the penthouse at New York’s Chelsea Hotel for 25 years.
This sent Copstick into a tantrum of reminiscence about staying in the Chelsea Hotel around 1998.
“It was like a hostel,” she said.
“But surely,” I said, “the whole reason people want to stay there is they expect it to be a shit-hole.”
“I thought,” explained Copstick, “glamorous rock star, Sid Vicious and Nancy…”
“Well, heroin and stabbing,” I said.
“Yeah, but I didn’t think they were living in squalor. It looked like a hostel, the lift smelled of sick and barely worked there was no phone in the room, no television. It was absolutely fucking freezing, bare floorboards, nothing.”
“Maybe they redecorated it so it felt like that,” I suggested. “I would be disappointed if it wasn’t like that.”
This morning, I had to wake Copstick up because she had an early meeting with Gyles Brandreth.
“I’m so tired,” she said. “I think it’s the dream I had. I was trapped.”
“This,” I said, “is not a dream. This is the Fringe.”
“I was trapped in this horrific totalitarian state,” she explained.
“The Free Fringe?” I suggested.
Copstick ignored me.
“I was trying to escape. I was with someone. the punishments were horrendous.”
“It is the Free Fringe,” I said.
Copstick ignored me.
“Absolutely horrendous. You couldn’t do anything.”
“What were the punishments?” I asked.
“They put you to sleep and cut bits out of you. I eventually escaped because I was being taken off for punishment and dived off this ridiculously high cliff onto what looked like rocks but I just missed them and dived into the sea. Then, when I came back to land, they were still there.”
“The baddies?” I asked.
“Yes, the baddies. So I swallowed this pill – it was all about swallowing pills – so I swallowed this pill and I shrank down and dived into somebody’s mouth and escaped – get this – I escaped out of…”
“Out of their anus?” I suggested.
“Yes,” said Copstick, “…and came up into the sewers of the same place, except now I was tiny.”
“And,” I asked, “they didn’t notice you because you were tiny?”
“Yeah. And there was definitely an element of Edinburgh there, because there was this city where nobody knew where anything was and it was so full. But they found me again. And there was somebody I had some sort of relationship with and it was horrendous.”
“It sounds like Lewis Schaffer,” I suggested.
“It was just horrendous,” said Copstick.
“Definitely Lewis Schaffer,” I said.
“When you woke me up,” Copstick continued, “I went back to sleep and I was still in this dystopian city but I was hiding in some kind of factory. It was massive, enormous, and there were piles of shit everywhere.”
“Sounds like the Fringe,” I suggested.
“I was found again and I was being tortured,” continued Copstick. “I just couldn’t escape. And the person I was living with – I got back and he had been shagging some girl and, because I was still trying to hide from the baddies, he popped in and asked if it was OK if he took this girl out for a date. So I said: Yes, sure.
“And then I noticed they were packing something in this factory and I was keeping tiny puppies in a box and I had to keep giving them water and that was the last thing I remember before I woke up again. I found the little box was empty. No puppies. But there were some metal things in it.”
So there you have it.
An everyday story of a comedy critic’s dreams and nightmares at the Edinburgh Fringe.