This year, Edinburgh will miss some of its favourite stalwarts.
The wonderful Luisa Omielan had to cancel her new show because of the tragic death of her mother. Luisa is the perfect example of the self-made star: no PR, no big management. Just talent and hard work. Hope you are back next year Luisa. And Jo Jo Smith has just had to cancel her run because of illness. Her breast implants turned on her and she is now extremely unwell. You may have seen the crowdfunding campaign for her medical treatment – hopefully by the time you read this she will be smaller but much better.
I was chatting to Craig Ferguson and discussing his youthful desire to be a drummer. According to the wannabe Ginger Baker, the best gigs he played with his band The Bastards From Hell were at The Bungalow Bar in Paisley, or “Glasgow’s Hacienda Club” as he fondly remembers it. Imagine, then, how impressed he was to discover that Daddy Copstick used to own The Bungalow Bar, inheriting it from Gran Copstick in the 1960s. Craig was further impressed to learn that The Bungalow Bar was the first place in Paisley to introduce the iceberg lettuce to the pub menu. It is, I tell him, a tapas restaurant now. We change the subject.
From my lofty position reviewing for The Scotsman, I am gradually infiltrating all areas of the Fringe. Of course I will be Grouchy Clubbing with the aged but still sentient John Fleming, and doing the Slaughtered At The Abattoir podcast for the chaps at Underbelly.
More importantly, Karen Koren has offered up an hour at the Gilded Balloon at 7pm on 17 August for a benefit gig for my charity Mama Biashara. We set women in the poorest parts of Kenya up in small businesses. Most recently, first rescuing them from being shelled by Al-Shabaab soldiers near the Somali border. Penis-Puppetmaster Simon Morley has put together a great show. Five stars from me, before I even see it. Do come. I need the money.
Sally Homer, the PR presence pushing Dave Johns through his return to Fringe stand-up, tells me that Steve Ullathorne’s joke photo taken of me, lurking behind Dave, just the fuzz of my hair showing around his head, giving him the look of a badger crossed with Andy Zaltzman, has been requested for use by The List … little do they know what lurks behind. I plan other infiltrations, so if the Guardian’s Lyn Gardner starts looking a bit bouffant …
My dulcet tones can be heard at the Traverse at the opening and closing of Wild Bore, a kick-ass show about the appalling comments of ghastly critics, performed by Adrienne Truscott, Zoe Coombs Marr and Ursula Martinez. I was sent a recording of the critic who voiced it in previous incarnations of the show. “Just do like it is on the recording,” instructed Adrienne sternly. I swallowed my performer’s pride and did just that. Not sure how the ladies liked my impression of an Aussie bloke, so I gave them my own interpretation as well. The Traverse! That is going on my CV
I bumped into Sam Simmons – and his baby – at the Soho Theatre before he brought his show to Edinburgh. I am congenitally baby-intolerant, but felt it right to make an effort. After introductory pleasantries, I leaned in and poked it gently. “Have you seen daddy’s show?” I smirked. “Is daddy’s show good?” It burst into tears. To me, that reads like a one star.