There is only one week or so of this annual madness left, so the flyering teams are getting a bit tetchy. Some of them have the sort of look in their eyes I expect Shackletons’s team came back with. Such horrors these children have gazed upon. Scots just rushing past them, like those sinister sprites at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, shouldering the proffered hand out of the way. People with strong European accents who demand to know every plot nuance and whether or not the work was inspired by Goethe. People with strong American accents berating them for using inappropriate imagery on the crumpled flyer and demanding to know the way to the Castle.
Not forgetting the helpful Sons Of Buckfast who like to stop and have a conversation about the state of the nation, especially with a young person who can’t actually get away, which means that they can’t easily avoid either an interesting perspective on current events or the breath that can strip the paint from a Volvo at 500 paces.
There are still ways of getting us to take your flyers, you know.
Make eye contact. A smile is nice. It freaks Scots out, especially if you unleash examples of North American dentistry, which reduces us to rabbits in headlights.
Saying hello is also the sort of thing that leads us into confusion. By speaking to us, we assume you know us. In this moment of minor panic, whilst we desperately try to remember who you are, press home, brave flyer person. Thrust that flyer into that confused hand and count this as a result.
It’s a good idea to at least see the show. Should you describe a searing indictment of the mental health system in Ceausescu’s Romania performed by three bald screaming women naked apart from their straightjackets as suitable for children, you might have to deal with some seriously miffed parents. There’s a limit to just how far even the most liberal Stockbridge yummy mummy will want to expose Tamsin and Sebastian to Real Art.
It’s another stonkingly good notion to be at least familiar with the act you are promoting. Even the most gentle stand-up comedian will be transfigured into the Hulk if you try to shove their own flyer into their face, whilst chanting “Commiddee, reaaallly funnee commiddeee...”
Clean sweep in the party popularity stakes
When a young student, I was occasionally invited to parties. I mistakenly believed it was because of a world-beating combination of Wildean conversation, Astaire-standard dancing and my leather-lunged tributes to Meatloaf.
No, said an old pal of mine recently. The reason you were invited to parties at uni was because of your strange habit of getting drunk and hoovering. It meant that the host could guarantee that the guests would see you pushing the hoover about and assume it was time to leave. You, she said, were brilliant at clearing the house. I’m assuming that the Spice Girls performed a similar role at the closing ceremony for the Olympic Games. If I wanted to empty a city in hurry, that’s what I’d use.
More than just a Games
Much to my surprise, I quite enjoyed the Olympics. I found myself cheering on the women’s rowing teams and learned what a four-man skull was. Previous to the Games I thought this was something that decorated the set of a Conan the Barbarian film.
I tried to get enthusiastic about the introduction of women’s boxing, but to be honest, coming from a Glaswegian background, I’ve seen women battering nine bells out of one another before. Mind you, we did it just to keep warm . . .
I’m sorry, I haven’t a shoe . .
The Stand is gradually expanding its comedy empire along York Place and up to George Street so members of staff are posted outside to direct the audience to their respective shows.
Audience members tend to ask for shows by name. Which way to Jo Caulfield, Tony Law or Stewart Lee, they’ll ask.
Young Keir was on point duty. Two well-heeled ladies advanced towards him, asking the way to John Lewis? Keir was baffled. This was clearly an emerging comedian whose name had slipped past him. Keir went off and got the brochure. He scrutinised it in front of the equally-baffled tourists until, slowly, he realised it was the shop. Keir Macallister is himself a very funny young chap, and his show with Vladimir MacTavish is called State of Scotland and it’s a hoot. It’s on at Stand 2.
Please do not ask Keir for directions. Yes, this is a plug.