Yesterday, still zonked from my trip up to Edinburgh and not enlivened by six Red Bull drinks, I met Julie-Ann Laidlaw of Blond Ambition, who wanted me to plug her Vive La Variété show for the Cabaret vs Cancer charity this coming Sunday.
On the way to meet her, I bumped into the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards judge Claire Smith who told me The Scotsman is going to run a piece on me which quotes fellow Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Kate Copstick likening me to a “minah”.
I took this to mean a mynah bird, which tends to be rather noisy and annoying but, apparently she meant something else. I now presume possibly “minor”, but we shall wait to see what it says with anticipation.
But I digress.
“It was just after Bowie died,” Julie-Ann Laidlaw told me, Dusty Limits, Rose Thorne and Benjamin Louche set up a show in London – Ashes To Ashes – and donated all the ticket sales – over £5,000 – to Cabaret vs Cancer. Then they got in touch with me and asked if I would be their ambassador up here.
“Vive La Variété is on for the whole Fringe month and we have been collecting contributions in a bucket after each show but, on Sunday, we’re dedicating the whole show – all ticket sales – everything – to the charity.”
I asked: “Where does the Cabaret vs Cancer money go to?”
“Macmillan, Cancer Research, St Joseph’s Hospice and St Joseph’s Bereavement Team for kids who have lost parents to cancer.
“I’ve got a few cabaret shows on throughout the Fringe, so I’ll take the bucket round them as well.”
“Shows such as?” I asked.
“Cabaret Whore with Sarah-Louise Young, Doug Segal’s I Can Make You Feel Good, Frank Sanazi’s Das Vegas Four: Zis Time It’s War and Oh My Dad: Christ on a Bike with Jesus and his followers.”
“Does Christ still live in Glasgow?” I asked.
“Yes,” Julie-Ann confirmed. “I’ve got all those and The Illicit Thrill as well and over in Le Monde I have the Le Monde Cabaret hosted by Bruce Devlin and Fest on Forth at Harvey Nichols.”
“What does Christ do when he’s not being Christ?” I asked.
“He’s a dancer, a choreographer. He choreographs a lot of pantos.”
“Oh no he doesn’t,” I said.
No-one ever laughs when I say that, as I often do. I don’t know why. One of those things.
It’s like very few people actually ever flyer me in the street. I think they glance at me and see some bloke well past his comedy-appreciating prime who will clearly never go to a Fringe show and is probably a former bank manager down on his luck and now shopping at Poundland.
Yesterday evening, as is often the case, I think I may have been the oldest person in the George Square Spiegeltent for the Edinburgh Festivals magazine launch. Even there, no-one flyered me except the ever-original and newly svelte Thom Tuck who was drawing individually-personalised flyers for his thom: foolery show.
There are some certainties amid the anarchy of the Fringe.
One is that it will rain.
A second is that people in the comedy industry will talk about Lewis Schaffer but not go to see his show.
Another is that I will rarely be flyered.
And a third is that I will randomly bump into Mervyn Stutter in the street on the first day he arrives in Edinburgh. It happened again this morning. I took a photo of him. I think I have done this for the last three years and never used one.
Mervyn thinks that he rarely gets written about in my blog because – he believes – I am Lewis Schaffer’s personal blogger. “My show starts on Saturday,” Mervyn told me. “It’s my 25th year here.”
One day I may write about him. Both he and his Pick of The Fringe show are an Edinburgh institution.
Unlike the Gilded Balloon at The Counting House.
This afternoon, I went to see my first show at The Counting House – dubiously and damagingly (for their reputation) taken over by the Gilded Balloon venue apparently after the owner approached them but against the wishes of the management. And comedians.
They have re-designed the outside of the building and it was interesting that the Gilded Balloon staff in the street did not know where the actual entrance to the venue was – they mis-directed me next door.
The upside once I was in and avoided the deadly step in the pitch dark venue room was that Katia Kvinge’s Squirrel show was… well… extraordinary… a proper smorgasbord of energy, intermingling a character comedy show and a ‘confessional’ autobiographical show. If she can keep this level of adrenaline-fuelled anarchy going, people will be going back day after day to see it.
If they could bottle this energy, it would become a drug of choice and be made illegal.