Interview: My Festival: Baba Brinkman

My festival: Baba Brinkman
My festival: Baba Brinkman
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'I haven’t had any other job besides performing for 15 years now and it’s a constant hustle..'

I only have time to see one show in Edinburgh. Why should I go to yours?

Lots of shows have laughs and lots of shows help you understand the world, but my show has more laughs per insight and more insights per laugh than any other. It’s not the funniest or the smartest, but all the funnier shows are dumber and all the smarter shows are more boring. Don’t believe me? Come see. Plus… science rap, come on.

Now I think of it, I’ve got time to see two. What else should I definitely go to?

Markus Birdman’s Last White Christmas, if you can get in.

What are the best and worst things that have happened to you at the Edinburgh festival?

The best thing that happened to me here was winning a Fringe First for Rap Guide to Evolution in 2009 since it gave a level of profile and acclaim to what was essentially a brand new genre at the time, scientifically peer-reviewed rap. That was the first in a cascade of events during which I moved to New York, became a regular off-Broadway fixture, got married and started a family, and turned an experiment into regular paid work. Hat tip to The Scotsman!

The worst thing? Strep throat.

Please describe where you’re living this month.

We lucked out and got a flat that overlooks the Meadows, with a view of the castle out of the front room, near Bruntsfield Links. Just when we were about to start looking for a place our former landlord from a few years back reached out and offered us the place before even listing it. Sometimes it pays to have a history here.

What’s your favourite place in the city and why?

Quick & Plenty Cafe on Leven Street. It’s one of the best breakfasts, great people, been in the family 100 years, and has the most Scottish ambience you could ask for. Great place to get a bite and read up on reviews before the day starts.

Who do you most like spending time with at the festival?

Venue technicians.

Where can I find you at 9am, 9pm and 2am?

At 9am I’m hanging out with my kids; they wake me up early pretty much every day. At 9pm I’m getting prepared for my 10:15pm show, reviewing the content, making adjustments. I’m doing encores of three of my past shows this year, Rap Guide to Evolution, Religion, and Consciousness, in addition to the new show Rap Guide to Culture. I figure my brain will probably fail me in a few decades at most, so I might as well use it while I can. At 2am I’m either sleeping or catching up on emails.

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

I grew up fishing a lot, for salmon, cod, trout. I haven’t had any other job besides performing for 15 years now and it’s a constant hustle so I hardly ever get to go fishing lately, but I look forward to a time when I can work it back into my schedule.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Tell my two-year-old son to put down my phone and stop taking pictures of me while I sleep.

What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed at night?

Play chess moves on my phone against my dad and my brother.

Thanks for the interview! I’d like to buy you a drink. Where are we going and what are we drinking?

Rhubarb and Ginger Edinburgh Gin and tonic in the Teviot Loft Bar, let’s go!

Baba Brinkman's Rap Guide to Culture is on at the Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, Venue 24

Until 26 August

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