It’s Friday 13th, so I hope I can be excused for a bit of a moan on my first Stage blog appearance this year. Usually Friday 13th has been a good day for me so I have been looking forward to this one. But when I woke up this morning I was greeted by unmistakable signs of a cold.
Health-wise this Edinburgh started on a low note for me anyway. Clutching a course of antibiotics for a previously established infection, I spent the entire first weekend under a strict alcohol ban. There was nausea and afternoon naps, and getting drenched and another cold scare early on which I managed to fight off. Then, as a part of a strategy, I purchased a mac and resolved to build yoga into my weekly routine, especially seeing as Bristo Yoga is so conveniently placed near all major venues in the Fringe.
This made me think of a realisation I made a few years ago that in my life the Edinburgh Festival represents the equivalent of a spiritual retreat. Even though the technique is the exact opposite to what I imagine happens in such places, the effect is probably very comparable. As a critic, I spend most of the time on my own, but instead of meditation I am engaged in overstimulation. When you see four or five shows back to back you find your brain automatically working in the infectious style of a literary metaphor or an observational joke. You walk in between venues frequently struck by deep and meaningful discoveries about life or about yourself - that even though you thought you hated musicals, for example, there was this one number you always wished you could do. Or that you really didn’t want to put up with other people’s egotism anymore. That sort of thing. This year, my discovery, dear reader, was that I was definitely growing old.
Here was I, at the Fringe, dutifully getting home before midnight. Everything that used to excite me in my twenties seem old hat now. Where I once held up sassy cabaret singers as vague role models, I now go gaga about a financial columnist who owns an Aga. And the horror of horrors, of course, I’ve replaced my smoking habit with balancing on a yoga mat.
My stay-healthy strategy worked well for a few days, and then yesterday, in the middle of a storytelling show - which, surprisingly for me and my track record as a contemporary dance fan, I was quite enjoying - I noticed that the lady next to me (who had scowled at my last minute arrival with coffee and breakfast) was sniffing. There was nothing sad in the show at that moment, and she was most definitely sniffing with a cold.
Well, there goes my hope that on this Friday 13th I would have the most memorable fun Friday of the festival. At this rate, I’ll most definitely be back before midnight and, totally shockingly for me, I might even be in bed with Lemsip before the tattoo fireworks. Now that’s a truly horrifying thought.
Let’s hope that by the next time I’ve checked in here I’ll be getting over a good old hangover. And let’s hope that happens this year.