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Sarah Campbell: Top Fringe worries

By | Published on Wednesday 30 July 2014

This is the biggest cultural extravaganza on the planet bar none. For you ticket buyers that can result in the fear that the show in the room next to the one you’re sitting is where the really big laughs, dramas and wonders are to be found.

Sarah Campbell

Meanwhile for the thousands of performers in town the main fear is that the show in the room next to the one you’re performing in is where the really big laughs, dramas and wonders are to be found. Though for Fringe stand-ups, there are plenty of other worries to be dealing with too. As Sarah Campbell explains in her top five Edinburgh worries.

1. Fear of missing out
Due to Edinburgh’s unique mobile data network, my phone generally receives all my text messages and voicemails in one go about three days after they were sent. And they say stuff like “Are you coming to the party? It’s going to be amazing!”…“We’re at the party, where are you??? It’s amazing!”…“We’re leaving the party now you miserable cow. It was amazing”. If someone’s phone goes off during my show I congratulate them, and ask them to text my mum to let her know I’m alive.

2. Catching diseases off microphones
Think about it – thousands of comedians all breathing and spitting into the same few bits of metal mesh all day and all night. It’s probably the bacterial community’s biggest arts festival too. Last year my chin went all red and crusty and I was convinced I had some kind of fungal infection eating at my face, but it turned out to be a metal allergy. I am the world’s only microphone-intolerant stand-up. This year I’ll be Vaselineing my chin pre-show. Arriving onstage at a gig and wiping the mic off with an anti-bac wipe hardly says “this person is a laugh-riot” does it?

3. Clothing option anxiety
Have I worn too many clothes for the day or too few? Is that sweat running down my back or is it drizzle?? Is this jacket really waterproof or is it just rustley? Oh God, maybe I should go back to the flat and change? But then with the extra journeys I’ll be doubly sweaty! I’m going to have to meet that trendy TV producer dripping with rain water and stale booze sweat. She’s going to be covered in run-off from my liver… In Edinburgh you are doomed never to achieve the perfect outfit choice. Well, technically the perfect outfit does exist. To be neither too hot nor rain-soaked you should wear just a plastic rain poncho and NOTHING underneath. Maybe it’d be worth the jail time to live one day as a lion, rather than three weeks as a mouldering, sweaty lamb.

4. I will get lost forever in this sudden and vast maze of Tattoo-punter buses
I’ve had a few panicky moments in the labyrinth of Tattoo coaches that appears on Chambers St each evening. It’s always dark then too so you can’t even use the height of the sun to guide you. Occasionally in there I happen upon groups of pensioners. And in that moment it’s like a microcosm of the culture wars – they’re like “who is this Fringe beatnik come to make us smoke heroin and play the bongos?” Also why are they all OAPs? It’s sinister. Is it something that’ll suddenly grip me at 65? A burning love of military competence?

5. Are all these street performers going to be okay when the Fringe is over?
What do they all do when they’re not here? I mean I never see men up unicycles banging machetes together at any other time of the year… where do they go? Maybe it’s really lucrative and they all winter in the Azores in a special resort with unicycle access, lighting cigars off their juggling torches and laughing at us suckers in the rat race. I always mean to ask these people about their lives away from the Festival but they terrify me. I have a recurring day-mare where we’re chatting and then suddenly they’ve laid a rope around me on the street and they’re shouting and I have to get in a box and be thrown off a unicycle and the whole thing takes much longer than necessary.

‘Don’t Worry Guys It’s Sarah Campbell’ was performed at Cabaret Voltaire at Edinburgh Festival 2014.

LINKS: www.sarahcampbellcomedy.com