Play this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe game and you could win points and spectacular prizes - Gaby Soutar

Getting sick of the Edinburgh Festival? It was a hypothetical question, of course you’re not. To misquote Samuel Johnson, “If you’re tired of the Capital’s August shenanigans, you’re tired of life and should have a quiet word with yourself”. Still, we’re almost at the halfway mark, so it’s time to play a little game or two.

Our challenges are not that sophisticated, as we thought about organising some geocaching, but still haven’t worked out what that word means. The prize? A Club Gold that’s in my kitchen drawer. It’s the only remaining one in the packet. (T&Cs apply. Eat at your own risk).

1 Your main challenge, should you accept it, requires photographic evidence, and is worth 150 points. Take a selfie while eating a banana underneath the giant Skywalker Gibbon by Australian artist Lisa Roet. This silvery monkey hangs outside the venue House of Oz on Clerk Street. Apparently, they have to deflate the site-specific artwork every night. Incidentally, they do the same with the whole of Edinburgh, which gets flat-packed and squashed down into Mary King’s Close at 2am, before being bicycle-pumped up again by volunteers at 6am. That’s why the city is always so dusty and smells like rubber. You get another 75 points if you take a selfie drinking milk, or eating an ice-cream, or doing anything vaguely dairy-based outside an Underbelly venue, and 86 tokens if you demolish an ice lolly while in the queue to see IMA at Murrayfield Ice Rink. Pretend to be a rabid dog, catatonic hamster or a lame horse on the steps of Summerhall, the former veterinary school, and you’ll get 160. Try not to get blue juice-d.

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2 There is an internal conflict, when it comes to accepting a flyer. If you don’t, there's guilt about making the dispenser of said single-sided leaflet feel sad. (Mind you, maybe they will then make a weeping selfie video, to be posted on Twitter, about how only one person took a flyer. Then everyone will want them, and the rainforests will be felled, and the Royal Mile will be skiddy with discarded paper). Anyway, you are hereby awarded a single point if you don’t overthink it. Take one, and scrunch it up into your bag, where it will be re-discovered in December, or just say no.

3 If a comedian asks if anyone is from Edinburgh or Scotland, shout “yeah, you better believe it, baby!”. 25 points. If you’re not local, shout it anyway, but change the word “baby” to “sugar pie” for 23 points. Do it at Jason Byrne’s show The Ironic Bionic Man. If you draw attention to yourself, he will make you the star of the show.

4 Of course, we always have our annual celebrity spotting round. Last year, there were rich pickings because THE Basil Brush was in town and he was scrabbling about in the overflowing bins. In 2023, among others, we have Evelyn Glennie, Jack Whitehall, Rob Delaney and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who seems to be everywhere and nowhere all at once. You get 193 points for each spotting, but also 132 points if you see any celebrity doppelgangers. So, rather than Alison Goldfrapp there might be an Alison Goldfrappuccino, with a slightly different hairstyle. Instead of Irvine Welsh, who lives here and will probably be appearing as part of his Edinburgh Film Festival documentary screening, you might see somebody tall and bald who looks vaguely like him. 210 points for a Girvine Belch sighting.

5 If someone asks for directions to Princes Street, send them on the right path. If they ask how to get to Princess Street, point the wrong way. 200 points.

6 I spy with my little eye, something beginning with SWAGHSIFOM. (Answer at bottom).

7 Attempt to get a ticket for anything decent at the Edinburgh Book Festival, which started on August 12, and realise that your picks have sold out. Readers are a nerdy and organised species, and you are not. 15 sympathy points.

8 For 19 points, arrive at your event three minutes before it starts, then attempt to find the toilets under extreme pressure. The facilities are easier to track down in some venues than others, so this could go very wrong. At Assembly Hall, you’re up and down stairs, and we’re sure one of the cubicles is haunted. At The Pleasance, you’ll need a trail of breadcrumbs. The Stand’s toilets are in what resembles an underground wartime bunker and Usher Hall’s ones are fancy. There never seems to be any soap at the portaloos at George Square Gardens and you’re guaranteed to get a long strip of loo roll attached to the sole of your shoe. Subtract 37 points if that happens. Add 39 points if you manage to trail this through the Spiegeltent before noticing.

9 For each person with a lanyard that you spot, you are awarded 15 points. Make your own by writing your name on a piece of card, alongside the words EDINBURGH FESTIVAL OFFICIAL KING/QUEEN 2023 written in neon marker and the logo of your choice. Tie this loosely round your neck with an orange bin bag tie. Walk fast up and down Middle Meadow Walk. Look at your watch. Talk loudly. Tell people to move out of your way. You are winning at the Festival. 1000 points.

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Answer to question number six: Someone With a Giant Head Sitting in Front of Me. It happens to all of us, along with being seated near a guffaw-er, snorter or a seat kicker. 3000 points. In fact, if that’s just happened to you, just have my Club Gold, you deserve it.



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