Saturday, 4 August 2012


I've come to the Edinburgh Festival to escape the Olympics.  I booked this months ago when the Games were, to my mind, an irritating inconvenience.  As a non sport-loving Londoner, all I could envisage was my city being stolen from me.  Little did I realise how much I'd enjoy it.

Anyway, can't help that now: train and apartment booked and paid for, so here I am.  On my own. 

Unlike Greta Garbo, I don't actually vant to be alone.  As I alight from the train, I feel weird.  I've been here many times, always with a crowd of friends.  I know my way around so that's not the problem; the problem seems to be that everyone else is 'with a crowd of friends'.

I settle into the apartment, which is well located, and hit the streets.  It's 7.30 p.m. and I'm hungry.  I go to M&S and do a food shop which feels normal but not in a good way.  I walk down Rose Street looking for a place to eat but everywhere is full of couples clinking, poring over programmes, jovially jabbering. There's a fair amount of jabbering going on in my head - like WTF are you doing here?  It's the first night of the Festival for Crissakes - I should be partying in the SpiegelTent!  But (cue violins) I'm all alone...

The carrier bags make me feel a bit more local but I fail to find anywhere I fancy.  I don't want to eat in a pub and I don't want to eat at Le Petit Posh.  I'm here for 2 weeks.  If I spend a minimum of £30 a day on food, I'll go broke. 

A couple of solo men walk past and I quell the urge to grab them by the lapels and beg them to have dinner with me.  Not the women, you'll notice! Then I reason that men walking on their own are probably sad weirdos.  After all, who in their right minds would want to be at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival without their crowd of friends?!

I smile at a busker.  He ignores me, but in fairness, his eyes are closed.  I wish I could play guitar so I too could busk.  That, at least, would give me something constructive to do.  Eventually I stop at a Cafe Rouge and order soup and a salad.   The waiter is cute.  I consider asking him what time he gets off.

The dinner revives me.  I take the shopping home then go back out again.  I buy a ticket for a show called Fat Whore.  She is. That makes me feel better. 

I'm sure I'll be fine: an erstwhile toyboy of mine, Mark Restuccia, has a show called How to Succeed at Internet Dating. Another friend, Spencer Maybe, performs as a male Burlesque artist.  I'm having lunch with one of the Fringe organisers next week and start my daily reportage to on Monday.  I'm looking for new talent for BBC London.  The Book Fair starts soon...

In 7 days time, my crowd of friends arrive but meanwhile, I can always stay in my flat and watch the Olympics on TV, uninterrupted and happily alone...