About this time in the Fringe you realise that, as Conrad put it, we live as we dream – alone. We are all living through the same Fringe yet our own private Fringe. And within each of us there’s a person who’s happy and lonely and exhilarated and bored.
Those of us who live in this great city can at least see the Fringe in all its grandiosity, passing like a stately liner (or one of our brand new obsolescent aircraft carriers) and either get aboard or look forward to it sinking. For the visitor, disconnected from comfort and routine, time is a flakier concept. The Daily Telegraph released its list of the Funniest Jokes of the Fringe on day four, as if it was all over. A lot of ticketed performers say it hasn’t really got going yet. A lot of free-show performers say it has already peaked. Is it the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning? Is it too early to regret your show? Is it too late to change it?
The truth is an elastic concept too. This is the first year in which the number of shows on offer has decreased from the year before. And yet the Festival Fringe Society will, of course, tell us that it sold a billion more tickets and that the sun shone upon all of us, and that it found a unicorn nest on Arthur’s Seat along with a cure for herpes, death and Brexit.
Just remember that none of it matters.
August 18, 2016