Spending August with unicycles and bagpipes

August 15, 2011


I’ve spent the last week in Edinburgh, one of my favourite places. The last couple of days I’ve been working on the UKIPT up here. Before that I was working on a new project, a live online chat show from the festival with comics as guests called Festival Frank. It’s been pretty cool and I’ve been childishly telling everyone I have my own chat show…though changing my name by deed poll to Frank was probably a step too far.

I first came to the Edinburgh festival nearly 20 years ago. I can confirm Edinburgh is still 400 miles too far North. It has an ongoing seduction technique where you arrive in August, it’s mild with the odd sunny day and it’s overall awesomeness makes me crave to live in it. This is of course a blatant hustle; like the girl or boy who is on their best behaviour for the first three dates but who will clearly boil your rabbit, cut the crotch out of your trousers and take you to a deep dark place of spiritual despair within two months. By which I mean it gets really cold and dark from about November onwards. The thing is you still love it because it’s just so damn good looking.

The festival has become huge and big business and, well, huge. There are over 1000 comedy acts alone and the population of the town doubles during the month. You have to feel a little sorry for the locals; their best month of weather of the year and they’re descended upon by 300,000 backpackers; half on unicycles the other half with rubbish puppets.

For the last two years, part of my time at the festival has been hosting the Edinburgh UKIPT. Both times the tournament has been fantastically well supported and has been the biggest in Scotland. It’s the one poker tournament with endless instant bust out remedies on your doorstep. Just wander into town, watch a couple of top-notch stand ups back to back and you’ll feel miles better. Alternatively you can wander up to the nearest busking bagpipe player (there are several) and scream at them: “That is not even an instrument, it’s just a ruddy noise!”


Actually, never argue with a man in a skirt

I still have a few editions of the chat show to do. It’s all a bit busy but I’m hoping to fit in seeing some shows on days off. The fact is nothing really beats Edinburgh on a sunny evening drinking Pimms and watching some angry dude confront a unicycle-riding bagpiper. You should really be here next year; I wouldn’t miss it.

* Congrats to Fintan Gavin, who won UKIPT Edinburgh for a cool £61,500.


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