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I thought it would be best to give this post a title which describes the content. But first, a little bit of a run down of my Edinburgh Fringe Festival experience now that I’m more than half way through.

I have written down the name of every show I’ve seen so far along with how much they cost, because my inner accountant likes that sort of thing. I just counted them and, as of last night, I have seen to 43 shows. I sometimes think I haven’t seen that many, or that I should try to see more, but then compare with some random person I get chatting to at a show, or over some food, and I realise, actually, I’ve been jamming them in. The thing is that most of the shows are in the afternoon and evening, so you can spend the morning fucking about and still see six shows in a day. 

As is always the case with festivals some of the stuff I’ve seen has been really bad, and some has been phenomenal. My tolerance for crappy shows has been gradually diminishing but I’m still blown away by things which are beautiful. Or hilarious. 

Being here as a solo traveller is a bit surreal. I’m not staying in as hostel, so I am not making hostel friends, and I’m not doing a show, so I don’t have performer friends. It’s a funny sort of limbo, a bit like working in retail or doing job interviews; you forge superficial connections to people for extremely short periods of time and then you go your separate ways. Well, I wrote this poem about it while feeling emotional after Rob Auton’s “The Water Show”.

Is this real life?

A connection forged over food.
That fleeting chemistry
Of socially acceptable chat
Doesn’t ever really make it past that.
The connection that never makes it through to anything
Other than a single serving friend.
The idea of a relationship
Is always better than the relationship.

I’m tired; it’s tiring to start every day alone
Of having a glimmer of someone else
Flashed in front of me
Only to be snatched away
When you go back to your real life.
What if this is my real life?
And all I ever gave are snippets snatched
From people who are just passing though?
And each one is, in its way, beautiful.

So beautiful I might weep
But I can’t, because that’s weird. Apparently.
Those moments in life when I think it’s all too much
And my emotions are so close to the surface
That I’m sure everyone can see them.
In those moments I want to embrace them
And let everything inside show
To watch as your faces crumble trying to
Comprehend what I’m showing you.
Trying, wordlessly, to get my feelings back inside my shell,
Trying to feel safe again.

Safe. Where nothing unexpected happens.
Where nothing hurts.
Where no one smiles,
Or laughs,
Or cries.
Safe and blank and empty.
I watch you walk away
Back to your friends, and your job, and your flat.
Your real life.
A place I can’t follow
Because this is my real life.