3-man comedy sketch unit Wittank on Edinburgh Fringe trends
Umbrellas, 'flyeroo' and mastering the 5-second hello
This article is from 2011.
I’ve noticed that this year everyone seems to buying the same Umbrella. It’s a red and blue patterned monstrosity from the pound shop (of course they actually cost £1.50) and I reckon over half the city owns one. I’ve a mind to call in the financial competition watchdog because they’ve monopolised the umbrella market. Think of the poor Scottish souvenir shops, trying to sell their tiny tartan umbrellas, out-priced and out-sized by these giant galling bullies which, frankly, just lack personality. Now questions have to be raised over the manufacturing costs of this thing because I have no idea how you can sell such a large umbrella for £1.50 and make any return. I imagine it’s not long until the complaints start rolling in about their durability as they inevitably collapse. They may be smiling smugly, safe from the rain for now, but come the end of the fringe I anticipate a veritable ‘pound-shop umbrella’ graveyard; the meadows strewn with flapping bits of blue and red material, the royal mile littered with metallic spokes and a city’s population… soaked in regret.
The Five-Second Hello
When a very cliquey industry, where everyone knows everyone else, suddenly descends upon a relatively small city such as Edinburgh, time as we know it changes. Walking from A to B takes longer. The distance is the same but you cannot escape bumping into what’s-his-face-from-that-gig or –the-pretty-one-with-the-hair or that prick or whoever. Its impossible and therefore walking back home, walking to your show, or just going to the toilet takes at least 30% longer than it should because you are socially obliged to have a boring conversation that lets face it, neither of you want.
1: Oh hello, how’s your show?
2: Oh God. How’s your show?
1: Brilliant, obviously.
2: Yeah, me too. Probably more brilliant.
1: Any reviews?
2: [QUOTATIONS & STARS] from The [SOMETHING]
1: Oh well done. [QUOTATIONS & STARS] from but [SOMETHING] and [QUOTATIONS & STARS] from [SOMETHING].com. So…
2: Oh well done.
1: Good audiences?
2: Sold out.
1: Sold out, and some.
1 and 2: Anyway, bye!
Now you can piss.
However now that we are half way through, Fringe goers tend to try and cut this conversation down by getting it all in very quickly in almost the same amount of time as it usually takes to walk past someone.
So: What’s-His-Face approaches. Wave. What’s-His-Face waves. Slow down slightly but continue a steady momentum in the direction you’re heading, turn head appropriately and rattle off the above conversation with haste. What’s-His-Face does the same. Now walk away quickly before having to repeat the process three or four more times before arriving at the toilet/bar/Pleasance Dome.
Word of warning: if you are in Brookes or Loft Bar, this doesn’t work. You cannot escape. Just stay there all night and probably piss yourself.
Potential Future Trends
As someone who rarely notices emerging trends, I have taken it upon myself to have a pop at a few which could be implemented in the event of a trend-drought:
Flyeroo – game in which players must place flyers on unsuspecting members of the public until they lash out, kicking and braying. Bonus points are awarded for the successful application of posters.
Royal Mile Rumble – tag-team wrestling competition, the outcome of which is irrelevant, simply a means to creating a thoroughfare on the Mile.
Rainy Day – barely-ironic greeting used among playwrights in pubs to explain why they haven’t any money.
Bubble Burst – the process of asking performers a series of current affairs-based questions in order to test the strength of their Edinburgh ‘bubble’. Ignorance of riots/international turmoil and excessive Google searches of ones own name are the keys to success here.
Joggling – competitive sport combining juggling and jogging (this is actually real, and is the natural conclusion to activities on the Royal Mile)
Jiggling – exactly what it sounds like.
Candle Burn – often confused with the idea of ‘burning the candle at both ends’, i.e. being up all hours, this trend in fact involves lighting a candle at both ends and trying to hold onto it for longer than the bloke you’ve ended up having a bet with.