It's always odd not being in Edinburgh during the festival. At the same time I'm kind of glad to be outside the madness of it this year. I started going to the festival as a teenager, once appearing in a terrible children's musical (written by a man who later tried to take photographs of some of teenage girls in the cast. Ugh) but mainly going to see a load of shows and absorb as much culture as I could. I attended in one capacity or another for nearly 20 consecutive years. I couldn't go last year because of the American tour and this year... well I'm not sure why I didn't go early on but now I am too busy with lots of time being spent staring at a screen.
I did see a few preview shows down in London before the festival and I can highly recommend (in no particular order) Adam Hills, Robin Ince (both solo and in his guise as Book Club head honcho), Charlie Pickering, Simon Brodkin, Talk Radio and The Runaway Lovers. I've heard nothing but good about Klang, Richard Herring, DJ Danny and Phil Nicol and I would dearly love to see Toby Hadoke's show Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf - even though I don't have a sci-fi lovin' bone in my body (deal with it geeks.)
As well as missing Edinburgh this year I've completely missed out on the last series of Big Brother. I have gathered by osmosis the names of two contestants; Pete and Nikki, but no one else has been on my radar at all. I caught two bits of it, both of which appeared to be the Nikki girl being evicted though how she ended up back in, in order to be evicted a second time I honestly don't know. What I do know is that on both occasions, on watching her face contorted with rage and fear and witnessing her complete inability to function I felt like I was watching some form of abuse and had to turn over. It honestly troubled me.
Maybe if I'd seen more of the shows up to that point I would have had some context to explain what looked like a bunch of yobs booing someone with the mind (and frame) of a seven year old girl. Odd. I normally enjoy appearing on BBLB (I pronounce it bubbalub, how about you?) but I had to pass on it this year as I just haven't been able to understand the main show and would have had no opinions to offer. Was it that bad or did I miss something?
I went into Currys today. This is always a mistake. After forty minutes of walking round the store I managed to find someone in a uniform. I said, "Hi, can you help me, I'm thinking about buying a vacuum cleaner and a microwave."
It's a bold, no-nonsense start to a dialogue I'm sure you'll agree.
"Certainly Sir," said he, "let's start with the vacuum cleaners, is there a model you're interested in?"
I liked the cut of this young man's gib.
"Yes," I said, leading him to the model I was interested in.
It was all going quite well wasn't it?
"Okay... sorry," he said as if suddenly realising that he worked in Currys and so hadn't yet displayed the requisite lack of knowledge and/or manners, "I need to disappear for five minutes, I'll be back ASAP."
He disappeared. Fifteen minutes later he hadn't returned and so I left. I'd rather have dirty carpets and within five minutes of leaving I'd decided that I actually like not having a microwave. Don't buy things just because they're shiny. That's my advice. As I left the shop, an hour wasted and no cash spent, he was chatting with his mates at the till. What (and I believe this is the phrase that a comedian is supposed to employ in this situation) is that all about?
Two bits of newsy news by the way. Number one, I believe that the new series of Genius now has its place in the Radio 4 schedules. It will be going out at 6.30 on Thursdays and starts on September 7th. Secondly - and this is an odd one - it seems that later this year there is a goodly chance of The Dave Gorman Collection (or as most people, myself included misremember it, Are You Dave Gorman? being released on DVD. If I knew more, I'd tell you. When I do know more, I will. That's how that works.