The other night, it was (almost) effortless for me to decide not to go to the gym. Usually, in the waning days of July, I am in training. Sure, I may show up in Edinburgh a few pounds over the line, but they’ll vanish swiftly enough when my twice-daily Fringe gym regimen kicks into gear.

Not like those first years, ‘04, ‘05. In them days, I’d work the performers’ bars all night, professionally and socially, irrespective of effect.

Sho’nuff, there are pictures, before and after/beginning and end, from these festivals, wherein I go from apple cheeked tot to end-stage sybarite in three not-so-easy weeks. In more recent years, you’d be hard-pressed to find me in a late-night spot of any kind. My training, like a pugilist’s, has been continuous — physically, comedically and spiritually (though spirits are libations I can irregularly afford).

Three years ago, I went, after my first show, for coffee and vino with Matthew Crosby, two-thirds of the Gentleman’s Review, and their bitches for the nonce. Stopping dead the somewhat-fraught conversational fun, I made someone resnap an image because the first one made me look fatter than I really did. Subsequently, I demonstrated, by standing, that it was my long torso combined with sitting that emphasized a genuinely minor gut.

Yes, I am that vain.


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