I am exhausted. I have been in cobbled, hilly Edinburgh for only a few days but I feel that during the course of those days I have sliced approximately fifteen years off my life.
In, of course, a brilliant way.
I arrived at about midnight on Saturday after a six hour train journey of stops and starts, of over-priced buffet snacks purchased out of boredom alone and conversations with strangers that varied wildly in their entertainment value.
I was met from the train by the guy in whose flat I am renting a room and his boyfriend. They picked up my shoe-laden luggage and we made our way to the taxi rank and then to the flat. A few glasses of wine and telephone calls later I was back out into the rain-whipped dark, heading to the Pleasance Dome to meet friends who had already been lurking around the festival for a while and who were therefore already intoxicated with the heady mix of cheap alcohol and sleep deprivation. We stayed until about five in the morning, when, instead of finding my way back to the flat I had so briefly touched down in earlier on, I went back to my friend Kirsten's flat on the other side of the city. Tea and toast then bed, to be buzzed awake four hours later for Kirsten to make her way over to a venue for the first of the five shows she stage manages per day for these four weeks.
I walked home. Armed with a map I walked and walked, my head pounding along with my feet on the pavements. Once in the flat I unpacked, placing my shoes neatly along the walls (I won't wear them, it's too cobbled, but I would feel discomfited if they weren't nearby) (I acknowledge that this is extremely odd) and hanging my dresses in the wardrobe.
Three hours later I was on the streets again. I walked back into town, up hills with tourists swarming around shops called things like "Ye Olde Scottishe Shoppe" and "Bagpipes Galore!" to pick up the flyers for the job I found before coming up.
I flyered. For ages. Standing in carefully chosen spots pitching the play to passers-by, trying to persuade them to spend their much sought-after money and time on this play as opposed to on the one next door. All over there are people doing the same thing, some hired-in street teams like me, some representing their own shows. Over the last few days I have have countless conversations with those people out on the streets like me, swapping flyers and stories and sometimes numbers. More times than I remember I have been part of nonsensical banter exchanges or empassioned discussions covering an enormous range of topics. There is nothing quite like standing shivering in the rain with someone on grey streets, both clutching dripping bits of paper and seeing the funny side, to create a bond.
I went to a jazz jam the other night at The Jazz Bar with my friend Steve. We both got up on stage to play with the house band at the same time and it felt like magic. My favourite was Georgia On My Mind, because there was a guy with a real Hammond organ and it sounded exactly how I think that song should sound: a rich aching blues.
I've met amazing people. Kirsten is staying with some sketch comedians and they had a house party the other night. I had an awesomely fun time and met some truly super-ace people. I have seen some fantastic sketch comedy. The play I am flyering for was great. I went to a karaoke cabaret (which is just karaoke in a cabaret bar) last night and sung an empassioned version of Black Velvet in between shots of vodka. I haven't yet slept more than four hours in a night. It's been fantastic.
My feet hurt. I hate the fact that my flat is so far away from town. I am constantly suspecting that everyone else at the festival is having a massive party just around the corner. I am pleased to have sung and will certainly do more, but I am spending all my time with people who have actual shows up here and it is highlighting my own lack of achievement.
Also I left my phone in a taxi last night and have not yet retrieved it (not through lack of trying). I am deeply, deeply upset about this, as I have had it for a mere two weeks.
(I might just have to reiterate. TWO COCKING WEEKS.)
I had a little cry into my friend Max's sympatheic hug this afternoon.
I cannot dwell on this too much. There is still a possibility I will get it back, but my luck rarely swings in such directions. I will buy a cheap one tomorrow if not, because being here without a phone is not a possibility I am prepared to entertain.
I am exhausted and my feet hurt. I am having an amazing time. I have drunk my bodyweight in wine and coffee (at various times of the day) over and over already. I have lost my phone and cried about it. I have been handed a doughnut in the street and eaten it.
I am here until next Friday. I read somewhere today someone that someone said that, at the Edinburgh Festival, every night is like a Saturday night and every day is like a Sunday. I think that's a perfectly apt way of summing it up. At this rate I will be but a hollow shell of a person by the end, but I will have had more experiences than I will be able to count or recount, so I will find the Internet as often as I can to write down my future memories here.