To all the boring old farts who fill the pages of Britain’s rubbish press and who tell me that young people are less well educated than they were, have no ability to put effort into anything and who think the ‘youth of today’ (what a cliche) spend their lives on the internet or Tweeting and Facebooking instead of actually doing things, I have a message – get off your fat old reactionary arses and get up to Edinburgh for a few days and wander along the Royal Mile while the Fringe Festival is in full swing. I’ve just done it for four days and I feel re-charged and re-vitalised by the energy, zest and happiness that pumps through the arteries of this event like the blood in Usain Bolt’s legs as he crosses the finish line.
I saw some great shows – the raw talent of a young group of actors called Bitter Sweet in their devised play ’3.2 Seconds’; the brilliance of the Beta Males in ‘The Space Race’, the sheer vibrancy and energy of Africa Entsha etc etc and I saw some turkeys – sorry, but for me the ‘History Of The BBC in Sixty Minutes’ would still have been three times too long even if it was ‘The History Of The BBC In Sixty Nano-seconds’. But hey, that’s what the fun is – you win some, you lose some.
But it wasn’t just the shows or the brilliant organization of the events or the mass of material on offer from the very serious and classical through to the sublimely stupid and ridiculous, nor was it the mass of hugely talented street performers who made a walk along the High Street a miasma of entertainment and surprises – it was the vibrancy and joy of the young women and men who in the main make this festival what it is. I never met anyone who wasn’t smiling, who wasn’t obviously getting a huge kick out of being there and who wasn’t happy to chat to me or who couldn’t eloquently sell me the show they were pedaling. And on that note, kudos to the guy who couldn’t sell us tickets for his own show as we were already booked-up at the time but had the grace and enthusiasm to sell us someone else’s show at a time he knew we were free, because he’d enjoyed seeing it himself. Without him we’d have missed the Beta Males – and that would have been tragic!
To everyone there who makes this Festival great, thank you. A million years ago I used to direct plays for a living – I thought I’d forgotten how much I loved doing that, but you reminded me of how much I still want to do it. Watch out I’m planning a come-back – next year maybe?