21. Fringed

In August challenge
August 24, 2010

Yeah yeah, I know, I know. But, I have actually been going to places, I have the pictures all stored up, I still have hopes of getting them all done while we’re still in August. I’ve got a week. Come onnnnnnnn.

OK so today I popped my Fringe cherry. Not watching: performing. I’m in Edinburgh for a couple of days for the book festival. (Speaking tomorrow at 10.15am about The Lessons and 5pm about computer games, come along if you’re around!) The book world is pretty sedate. One might even say: civilized. There are no heckles at book events. There tend to be hotels, restaurants and sentences like “I saw Joan Bakewell in the yurt but I was too shy to say hello”. (I really did, and I was, even though I’ve actually done an event with her before. Crazy I know.)

But the wonderful Rachel Rose Reid invited me to take part in her fringe event, The Crow’s Nest at the Pleasance. I read a story to an audience of about 20 in a venue with a dripping ceiling and snacks of hula hoops being passed around. We don’t get that in the book world. Or men taking their shirts off to sing pirate songs.

It was lovely, actually. Even with the dripping ceiling. The bit of writing that’s like this – the bit where you’re starting out, or trying out new ideas, all happens by yourself on a page. Not among sweet, interesting charismatic people – unlike authors, performers are charismatic – being patient with each other’s false starts because we all understand that you can’t start off at the London Palladium. I read a story from my email on my mobile phone and no one seemed to mind. Oh, and I’ve never been to the Pleasance before so, job done.

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