Saturday evening, fresh back from a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe with Pond. What sport!
Adam and James are – as you know – doing shows up there, Adam has an album to promote, and James has both an album and a book. Busy boys both. Pond and I helped out as best we could – primarily by turning up on nights when there were press in, whooping like stooges.
Marked differences in Adam and James’ performance styles include the fact that James was pleased to have us buy him a beer or two after the show, while Adam demanded his vodka and cokes throughout. You’ll note which one of them is the doctor.
So, care and feeding of the talent aside, what else happened?
The journey was fun. Arranged to meet Pond in the office a little after 11 – following dinner with the indescribably great Alison. Of course, I was always going to be late, but that lateness was compounded by a chance encounter at the Charlotte Street Hotel with some folks from an ad agency. One you’ll have heard of.
It seems the ideasmen had spent the day brainstorming a campaign for a new brand of dog food. Australians, Japanese, Americans, Brits – the cream of the agency all brought together, given a bar tab and a pad of paper and told to create. “How’s it been going?” enquired us. “Pretty good,” said the fat one, “we’ve pretty much nailed it”
We were all a bit drunk.
“You know what I think would make the perfect pitch?” I asked, pouring myself another half-glass of their expensed rum.
“A dog food that ten out of ten dogs preferred. Not eight, not even nine. You know, one that even that last dog – the fussy fucker who hates everything – had to grudgingly admit, was pretty amazing. One that really got the dog community talking… Barking.”
And the skinny one takes out a pen, picks up a napkin and writes my idea down. I mention the episode here only because I need witnesses.
So, back to the office just before 2am, just time to help Pond chop a couple of hundred words from the London by London manuscript before hopping in a cab for Heathrow, via my house to scoop wet clothes out off the washing machine and in to a bag.
Great journey, no traffic at that time of the morning.
Two hours later and we’re on the Heathrow Express, heading back to London, cab to Kings Cross and a train to Edinburgh. Terror, terror everywhere and not a drop to drink. We finally arrived at our flat around noon, having not slept for fifty years. I went sleep for a couple of hours while Pond finished TFT. I’m not really one for managing by example.
Comedic highlights of the festival were Stewart Lee (who has doubled his bodyweight since his days of Lee and Herring) and Richard Herring (who has stayed about the same, but seems to have morphed into a fat version of my ex-girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend. Which made me very happy).
Scott Capurro was absolutely fucking superb too, as were Jim Jeffries and Tim Minchin.
I ran in to the latter in the toilets of the Gilded Balloon at about 3am on my last night. He was talking to an enormously wide black guy about whether his (Minchin’s) ironic use of the word ‘n***er’ was understood by audiences, or whether he came across as a terrible racist.
The context was a song about things that go together like “ignorance and racism, and R ‘n’ B and n***ers”. I interrupted his conversation to reassure him that it was fine. I think he was pleased to get a definitive answer. That may also be the last time you see the word ‘n***er’ on Vox, so lap it up.
In the ‘good but not great’ camp lay (posh boy) Will Smith, who was perfectly funny but very same-old, same-old and Doug Stanhope who just wanted to be Bill Hicks, but wasn’t.
Worst act of the Fringe: Topping and Butch. Awful, just awful. Really, really awful. I’m saying no more. Awful.
Other non-show highlights…. the Edinburgh launch of Fringe at Centraal which was fun for all sorts of reasons, none of which are ever going to appear on Vox…. seeing Adam and James in front of an audience of people who had never seen them before. Needless to say they killed…. getting a phone call at 10pm from a researcher for Richard and Judy. “We need you to come back to London tomorrow afternoon to talk about blogging on the show. Give me a call to confirm the details.” A ten hour round trip when I’m only away for a week. Yeah. Thanks. No. Dave Gorman and Petite Anglaise did it instead. Oh, and I met someone very interesting. But that can wait for a post of its own, another time.
More on the trip from Pond here.
Ok, I’ve displaced enough work. Got to get the Blood, Sweat and Tea Creative Commons edition live, got to finish editing some manuscripts, got to reply to 1045 unread emails. Got to eat. Got to sleep.
Ooh, a text!