Right now, as I post this, it is the tenth anniversary of my first performance in Edinburgh.
9:20pm, C Central, August 20th, 2003. “Petula Clark’s Greatest Hits.” (I mistakenly wrote 19:20 on my flyer ’cause, well…you know.)
Looking toward the Statue of Liberty and at the bridges and skyline to my right (don’t worry, I’m safe indoors), a part of me wishes I was there to start the next ten. But not, to be honest, too large a part.
Writing these reminiscences and observations has been helpful to me, keeping me in touch with the Fringe, as if I had a show. And you know, I haven’t been in New York in August, aside from a day or two (sometimes) at the start or end, in a goddam decade. It’s good to be here. it’s good to be home. This is my home.
On the other hand, I have no home; I’m in a borrowed space, per usual. But it’s a borrowed space that looks out at Miss Liberty and the Empire State Building. And how do you pay back a view? I am, as far as I can tell, in the clear.
More importantly, I’m also in the clear in terms of the pressure a serial Fringe-doer feels with each mounting year to keep it going, to become one of those Stewart Lee kind of people who wear the badge of their decades like a Marshall’s star (or like Marshall Starr; I’m never certain). Now, I can never be an every year guy. My freedom of movement has been restored.
So, anyway, this is the week of parties where acts commence to cutting loose, feeling they’ve done all they can to make it work and now can cut themselves a little slack, right? Gee, I always felt I had at least as much to do to salvage my enterprise in the last week as in the first. In fact, I’ve tried to avoid caring about the parties, though a couple of years ago, I wandered by the Cabaret Voltaire late at night to catch the ambient vibe of the soiree and maybe go in if I wanted to (and they let me).
But it was the wrong night.
Same night every year, but I went the wrong night. Now, with no show to concern me, I’d kinda like to go to some parties but can’t, right night or no. I just can’t win.
By the bye-bye, as far as I can tell, more people have been looking at these posts than would typically come to see me, so I may have stumbled upon an amazingly economical way to do the Fringe.
In any event, I’m gonna celebrate my anniversary now by making something with cabbage. It’s not 9:20 here.