The Fringe 2016 is nearly a week old. I’ve been working every day for two weeks and I’m almost certain my feet will never stop complaining, but I love every minute of it. The buzz and bustle surrounding St Andrew Square and extenuating out across Edinburgh is all-encapsulating.
From the day-visitors who are determinedly striding across the city to fit in as much as they can, to the residents of Edinburgh who wonder casually if they’ll even see a show this year, the Fringe seems to be pulling everyone along in its flow of theatrical excitement.
I’ve handed out flyers for many different comedians. By now I’ve seen their shows, I’ve laughed in varying degrees, and in some cases I’ve asked to see them again. I’ve worked out my favourites and those I just find a bit funny.
Each pitch I give is different – from mentioning Martin Mor’s record-breaking ‘Highest Ever Comedy Show at Base Camp on Mt Everest’ (difficult to say in one breath as a passer-by only half-listens) to John Pendall’s heart-warming and personable ‘International Man of Leather’ show, a difficult flyer to just hand out, but a rewarding story to those who stop and listen.
I’ve met the comedians I’m flyering for, developed a bit of a crush on the funniest of them, and I can’t wait every day to get out and meet more and more people.
Sometimes, of course, the passers-by don’t want to see our flyers. They’ve had bits of paper thrust into their faces all day for the past week and are facing another fortnight of the Flyer-pocalypse. They’re fed up with flyers, and they tell us so in no uncertain terms.
‘No Problem,’ I reply, ‘Have a Nice Day.’
I continue, although sometimes with less grace than perhaps I should.
But then along comes a smiling inquisitive friendly Australian couple asking for advice on which shows to see, and the negativity is swept away instantly. I left that Australian couple with a full itinerary of shows, a full 12 hours of funny and theatre, and the memory of their huge smiles as they carried on strolling through St Andrew Square.
The weather has been changeable, the winds have been boisterous, the rain has sometimes been unrelenting, turning the Royal Mile into a river of water as well as a river of people, but throughout the last week, I’ve seen enough smiles to keep me going for a year.
Toby Williams is flyering for The Stand venues (and, no, this blog was not paid content!)