Edinburgh had been basked in sunshine when I arrived last week. I kept staring up to the sky wondering ‘what is going on’ and when it will batter down with rain. (The answer was -a short shower after I got my hair done obviously).
Having decided not to do the fringe this year (which am totally not regretting for reasons you will read later) but am enjoying the gigs and getting to see heaps of shows. Firstly if you like theatre go see Mon Droit at Pleasance Below everyday at 2pm it’s a cracking play about the American man who was obsessed by the Queen and ended up off meds and they found his bones on an Island in St James’s park 3 years after his demise. Mike McShane the actor/comic wrote it and performs it with the stunningly good actress Suki Webster. I saw it twice. My musician mate Roland Gift adored it and he is a pretty hard theatre critic to crack!
So, back to my late night shenanigans at the fringe, staying out late, running to do Set List at 1am (which is a must see just to watch the ego of comics struggle with the subject matter and come out the other end with their headline reputation intact) or SPANK! Which is legend late night hooteypookey comedy high jinkery at 2am- all of which I love.
You need to see Edinburgh in the late night sunset, there is no beauty like it, with castles, steeples and monuments poking the red slashed horizon and offering up a postcard image to everyone with a camera. Then add the swirling pipes, fighter jets and drums of the tattoo in the background and you are pretty much set to vote independence even if you don’t live in my country!
I got to meet awesome people, for instance Neil Gaiman the legendary author/comic book genius joined me for a podcast interview and accepted gratefully The Standard a comic book written by Ashley Storrie’s best pal John Lees, the Glasgow comic book writer.
Neil was so generous and accepted the comic book from John and said “hurrah, something to read on the way home!” I love that man.
And still the sun shone, the cobbles glittered and venues over heated and people sweated and beer was sold in swimming pool quantity’s to fringe going guzzlers. The reviews came out, hopes were dashed, shows were lauded and some comedians affected a swagger that they didn’t arrive with. They are set for glory....
I watched one well known bloke off the telly give a press photographer who asked him to turn to the left -a right hard time shouting “mate just take the picture eh?” the photographer basically threw his hand up clicked and said “fine” then turned to me and added “won’t be my fault his photo looks like shit” The famous bloke (who didn’t know me obviously- why would he?) glared at me (he thought I was the photographers assistant) and said “how hard is it to do your job?” I kinda felt for the bloke, he was besieged by young girls demanding a photo and a press man demanding a decent photo...f-ck it must be hard being that famous....all that fixing your hair for photo’s and being rude for no good reason...mind you one person got his name wrong and walked away shouting “it’s not him, it’s the w-nker that looks like him” people can be cruel and justice can be swift.
I had some gigs around town, basically ‘taking work from the comics who came up with a show and deserve that work’ as I overhead one comic describe me....she still doesn’t know I heard her! Fuck was funny...anyway I was booked for BBC radio 4 Just a Minute and was shitting it.
If you don’t know, Just a Minute is a BBC legendary radio show that is basically an institution and you don’t want to fuck it up.
I was so excited and nervous about doing it that I almost had an a mild stroke, but as always Paul Merton and his comedy compatriots put me through my paces. I came out the other end and had a great time, you can hear it on 20th August at 6.15 (same day we do the play #timandfreya which is at Pleasance attic at 7.15pm)
So we all had a lovely dinner in Edinburgh after the radio show and I was so relaxed and happy and relieved Just a Minute was done, I strolled down the Cowgate heading to meet a friend. I got a call on my mobile and it was my daughter Ashley who was back in Glasgow.
“emm...Mum, hello, you ok?” she sounded drunk I think...which is unusual at that time of night, almost nine pm.
“You ok Ashley, what you doing?” I chirped back.
“Am gonna go, speak soon.....” she mumbled. I felt icy cold blood run behind my eyes and my scalp tightened.
My heart thumped in my chest; somehow the mummy psychic umbilical cord whipped across the red skies of Edinburgh and hooked its sinewy fibres over the tenements of Glasgow and slung back into my 26 year old daughter “Ashley speak now and tell me what’s wrong” I spoke clearly as a girl waited for me to finish the call so she could tell me about her show as she flicked a flyer at me.
“Mum am in an ambulance, I fell or fainted...I don’t know where I am” she whispered. She sounded about 7 years old, I could hear the fear and confusion in her voice.
“Call your dad now he is in Glasgow, let him know where ambulance is going am on my way home” I hung up and the girl rolled her eyes exhausted waiting for me to get off phone “excuse me can I have two minutes to tell you about my show?” I stared at her, my mind checking I had credit cards, cash and a quick route to Waverley Station and shouted “no, now get out of my way quick” I pushed her aside and set off.
“How fucking rude and you are a comedian as well” she screamed at me as my flip flops slapped the cobbles and I made to Waverley Station in Usain Bolt mode, pushing people out of the way and looking like a woman in a panic.
I caught the train and sat there willing it to move, I now know why Speed the movie worked, I wanted to break into the cabin and scream “Fucking make the train go fast -no stops, no Croy, no Falkirk just GO TO GLASGOW”
I sat there staring at my reflection all I could think of was my girl, wee with bunches smiling and clapping, or standing on stage as a young woman or graduating university with me weeping with pride, now all I can see in my head is my beautiful daughter lying on a Glasgow street, vulnerable, scared confused and not knowing where she is. All I could imagine was blood seeping out of wounds, people staring at her wondering if she is drunk, someone lifting her skirt, stealing her bag, watching her struggle to breathe?
None of that happened from what she recalled she collapsed and a woman held her in her arms and stroked her head and whispered to her “you will be ok, am here” and then she woke up in the ambulance with paramedics asking questions. Who by the way when Ashley explained her mum was in Edinburgh as she is a comedian they made a point of telling her they had never heard of me since I haven’t been on telly. This made Ashley smile but she never got the name of the pavement Angel who made sure she was safe. Meanwhile for me the train took forever.
By the time I got home Ashley was out of hospital and showed me her bruises and needed hugged.
She is fine we still don’t know what happened, she had really low blood sugar and we presumed she fainted but we are organising investigation with the doctor/hospital. Thanks for all the nice messages and thanks to the woman who helped my girl as she lay on the concrete outside Italian cafe Paperinos on Byres road.
So we all go back to fringe on Monday 20th to do the play #timandfreya at 7.15 at Pleasance.
So thanks for reading, if you want follow me on twitter @JaneyGodley for updates.