Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Working the Fringe - Part 2

I slept like a log last night. Well, for most of it anyway. I was awoken at 4am; Gail's arrival time back at the house after her pal's Hen night. Then Laura woke me asking for a glass of water at 6.30am. Both risings broke my sleeping pattern into shreds and annoyed me severely, but what can one do?

I finally got up proper at 7am, ready for another day on the High Street. Before all that though, I had to meet Valentine a.k.a. The Man of Gold. I phoned him when I got into town and we met at the end of Princes Street near to where he was staying. I wasn't sure if I had the right place at first, until I saw his golden bike chained to a nearby fence outside his hostel. A surreal moment.

When he arrived in his civvies, I could see the resemblance to the man against his character. It was definitely there, but most folk will only know him when they see him all painted and standing still. In fact, I remember my first words to him were, "I didn't recognise you without your gold on."

He bought a copy of the book and seemed delighted with it. He spent some time flicking through the pages, returning to the page with him on it and shaking his head in amazement. We spoke for a while about his professional work as a street performer and my own work. I asked him about the trials of wearing gold paint every day. He doesn't seem to mind.

I've noticed none of the street performers I have spoken to refer to themselves as buskers - ever. They are all true performers and regard their art with pride and dignity. Rightly so, for it can't be easy but they all seem to be totally into it as their life, not just their job.

We parted and I took Laura back home via the pet shop where we had to stock up on essentials for all the animals. With that all taken care of and with a quick snack and cup of tea, I returned to the city on my own to meet my sister, Lindsay, who was coming through from Glasgow for the afternoon to soak up some festival air and help me dish out some leaflets.

We had a nice afternoon, stopping by in the Greyfriars graveyard to see the resting place of wee Bobby and his owner John Gray. We watched a lot of the performers in action and I got talking to a lot more 'leaflet people' today compared to yesterday. A lot of my posters were still visible - just - on the pillars, so this time I stuck more up down some of the Closes and left leaflets in shop racks.

We stopped off for a break in Deacon Brodies cafe. Never again. £7.50 for a cup of coffee, a hot chocolate, a slice of millionaires shortbread and a piece of carrot cake! Daylight robbery, but then it was Deacon Brodies.

Then a moment of pure happiness. One of my personal favourites from Fringe Fantastic is on page 64/65. It's called Love at First Sight and is about one of the street performers; a lady who does the statue thing, but she is more than just a statue. She's almost like a ghostly apparition, or a marble creation come to life, I'm not quite sure.

Anyway, I spotted her (having not seen her yesterday) and compared her with the picture in my book. There was some debate about whether it was the same lady, but once she smiled, I knew it was her.

I approached and dropped some money in her box, and as she bent forward to take my hand I said, "There's something I want to show you." Her expression remained unchanged, still acting out the part she was playing.

I held the book open at her page in front of her. A couple of seconds passed before the expression on her face altered. It was priceless; shock and disbelief mixed together as it dawned on her she was looking and reading about herself. She almost fell off her plinth.

I was hit with some surprise myself when she wanted to meet me to buy a copy after she had finished performing. I took her email and left her a message when I got home. I look forward to meeting her and seeing what she thinks of it.

Another street sale!!

After trudging around the streets for another couple of hours we decided to head home. I saw Lindsay onto the Glasgow bus then made my own way back to the house, exhausted and weary with another aching right shoulder.

I fell asleep on the couch and only got up later in the evening to make some cheese on toast and clean out the rabbits and guinea pig cages. I'll analyse this weekend in depth in tomorrow's post, because there is so much I have learnt and can take from the past two days alone. Much of it is still to sink in and much of it, if I start writing now, will keep me going for hours. I need to sleep. Badly.

Until tomorrow good people.
Colin 10:52 am


Has Deacon Brodie changed hands? Of course, it's been ten years since I was there during Fringe time, but it was one of the places I could tuck in to for a quiet cup of coffee and snack and do some writing that wasn't too expensive. What a shame!

Love Greyfriar's. My first year at the Fringe, we performed at the little studio at the bottom end, right off of Grassmarket, that tiny (at that time) blue and white building. The second time, we were at HIll Steet, the Masonic Lodge over on Young Street near The Oxford.

I had an idea -- I'm about to email you.

The performers at the Fringe, the pros, are terrific. It's the student productions with their students who think they're better than they are who are the problem.

Add a comment