I’ll be honest this blog post is a shallow attempt at plugging the book that I’ve just written about the Fringe. If you’ve never been to the Fringe before as a punter then hopefully these pieces of advice will be of some use.
- No trip to Edinburgh is complete without a visit to the Mosque Kitchen. £4 for chicken curry and rice. It’s busy during the Fringe season for one very good reason. It’s excellent. Cheap, cheerful and tasty you’ll find a steady stream of performers drifting in and out of there during the day.
- No trip is complete without a visit to the City Restaurant. All day breakfasts, fish and chips and pasta. The one place you’ll find the highest concentration of performers with a hangover during the Fringe. I’m told the Chilli Pizza is hotter on the way out than on the way in.
- Get a copy of the from the Fringe office, by either having it posted to you when it’s published or just collecting one from Edinburgh when you arrive.
- Make a timetable of which shows you want to watch. A lot of shows have the annoying habit of clashing with each other, so you have to work out what you can actually fit in. Try to leave at least half an hour between shows to allow for shows over running or starting late.
- Read about what a show is about in the guide before you go in. Whilst interpretive dance is a worthwhile and rewarding experience for those that like it, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and you really don’t want to find yourself sitting down to watch it for an hour if you’re not going to like it. Same goes for comedy shows.
- Whilst a lot of the people out flyering for shows are possibly the world’s most annoying ****s, some of them are actually worth talking to. During preview week you might be able to persuade them to hand over some free tickets for a show that is short on audience numbers. Later on in the festival they might be able to sort you out with a half price ticket or buy on get on free offer.
- Go and see some of the ‘Pick of the Fringe’ showcases, where it’s four or five acts doing shorted sets. They’re a good sign of whether you’ll like the performer.
- Chat to other audience members on the way into shows asking what shows they enjoyed.
- Keep your ears open to what shows people are talking about.
- Book travel and accommodation as soon as possible, the prices don’t get any cheaper.
- Waste time queueing up outside the Fringe box office to collect tickets. Order them from the venue instead where you can usually collect them in a few minutes.
- Lose track of how much money you’re spending. Using a card to make payments all the time is an easy way to end up spending more than you want to.
- Try and video shows without asking if it’s all right first. I only say this because with the advent of smart phones people have a tendency to try to video stuff to put it on youtube.
- Think your smart phone is going to work as normal during the Fringe. The population of Edinburgh goes up to about seven times what it is normally and the mobile phone networks become overloaded. Texts and emails start to take longer to send and receive.
What to watch
At this point I don’t know whose going to be on this year, so show recommendations are difficult. In the past I’ve always enjoyed Seymour Mace’s shows and Kunt and the Gang.