Festival insider: Jeff Kreisler
This article is from 2009.
No ‘climb Arthur’s Seat’ from me (exercise? Never heard of it). Just some simple tips to survive, thrive, and feel alive.
1: Look both ways before you cross the street
True, many of the crossings in this town of dragons and wizards are cluttered with the impenetrable detritus of road work for a tram that might get you to the airport five minutes faster than the buses you already have (money well spent!)? but, on the off chance you do want to cross, look before you leap! Don’t be fooled by the peripheral visions of other people moving next to or across from you. These are professional street-crossers from New York City. You cannot do what they do. Be safe, get off your mobile, and look both ways. (This doesn’t seem to apply if you’re pushing baby carriages).
2: Take a flyer from someone and say you’re definitely going to his or her show
Be convincing. You don’t actually have to attend, but you’ll have shined a little light into an otherwise dark vacuum of despair and self-loathing. If you can help one person make it through another hour on the Royal Mile without stabbing a pensioner, well, you’ve certainly done more for your country than Fred Goodwin.
3: Walk in a straight line at a reasonable pace
Or, if you prefer to assimilate to August Edinburgh culture, meander in a wide group on a narrow sidewalk, stopping randomly to look around, wonder where you’re going, or knock someone carrying props and costumes for his one-man-Shakespeare-meets-Star-Trek-mime-revue into the street. It’s a fun game oblivious people play called ‘Piss Off Everyone.’
4: Hug a comedian
By this time, about 20% of us are genuinely happy (those who came here without ambition, a PR, or an agent’s assistant who insists on wearing lanyards everywhere). The rest have either a) enjoyed critical and economic success (‘delusional’ – 8%), b) have just realized it’ll take 20 sellouts in the last 9 shows to break even (‘desperate’ - 60%), or c) are spiritually and artistically satisfied (‘delusional again’ – 12%). Seriously, we give you laughter; please return the love.
5: Take a nap in the park below the Castle
6: Eat lunch at the Mussel Inn
Sit outside and share a table – and some nibbles – with strangers.
7: Go see something at the Traverse
Comedy has unfortunately sort of taken over this Fringe Festival (boo, seriously, boo). The most reliable theatre gems are at the Traverse.
8: If it’s sunny for more than 15 minutes, praise your imaginary lord and get to a beer garden
9: Go see something you would never see in your life
Sketch comedy, dance, puppetry. Embrace your fear and open you mind.
10: Free Fringe shows
Try out two. Won’t cost nothing, might be an inspiration.
Drink water, eat some fruit, take a look around (off the pavement, please), embrace your loved ones, and appreciate the beauty of this city and the inspiring chaos that is this Festival. Then hug another comic.
Jeff Kreisler’s Get Rich Cheating is on daily until 30 Aug, 4:55pm at The Stand Comedy Club.
His book of the same name is available in paperback from HarperCollins., www.GetRichCheating.com