Saturday

Edinburgh Fringe Day 17 — Memories and Laughter

I could live here. I think that every time I take the 44 bus into town and as we go down the hill from Colinton I can see the whole city and its castle before me and onwards to the sea. I think that every time I take the 44 bus out of town and the moorland hills emerge through the houses and the trees to my right.

Though I'm not sure I'd want to live here at Fringe time. It's like Oxford Circus at Christmas out there at the moment!

Today I went to see a "Rock 'n' Roll Radio" with Roland Gent at the Free Sisters Pub in Cowgate. That was a bit of a challenge given that there was at least one very drunken wedding reception taking place and Roland's room 'The Staff Room' had no windows, made a prison cell look attractive and was right next to the lavatories. It was so hot that we had to keep the door open so not a peaceful gig, you might say.

But it was fun. I thoroughly enjoyed Roland's comic reminiscences about music and radio stations when DJs were actually allowed to play their own choice of music. Being ten years older than Roland, I remember it well — I was allowed to play my own choice at both Hereward Radio and BBC Radio WM. The management didn't like it so I'm probably partially responsible for the modern-day regime where all the music is selected across the board for about six stations at a time.

I enjoyed remembering the first 45 I ever bought (The Carnival is Over by the Seekers) and the first LP (The Monkees) and as Roland was also a newsreader that brought back some good memories too. I was a newsreader at BBC London when the esteemed Chris Morris of The Day Today fame was a DJ. He was a total liability back then because he'd go straight into the news with a joke instead of a record and a jingle. On days when there had a been a tragedy or something similar, that was a bit hard to deal with...

And I remember the day that Andy Peebles was in a complete hissy fit because there was no engineer to run the tapes for the show after his and he was not prepared (quite rightly) to stay on and change the tapes on the hour. Fortunately, having been a DJ, I was able to volunteer to do it for him and I did. I wrote a memo to the then boss, Matthew Bannister, telling him that there had been an oversight so that it wouldn't happen again and never got another shift at that station so I obviously pissed someone off with my helpfulness that night...

But I digress...

When I went to see The Lunchtime Ferrets a few days ago I was impressed at how their compere, Paul Wogan, encouraged the audience to laugh. It was a simple technique: he told us to laugh. Then he got us to practice.

Now, I know I'm funny, but I was getting a lot more quiet chuckles than outright bellowing so I've adapted his practice and done a short introduction before I start my routine. It has made an astonishing difference!

For the last three nights, I've had belly-laughs, cheering, clapping and snorting (good snorting). So I am a very happy bunny. When the audience laughs out loud, the comedian gets better. It was a lovely crowd tonight with two Facebook friends ... one of whom, Dee, is reading this blog and knew the saga of my absent, rampaging socks. No, they have not turned up. So Dee had bought me a new pair.

I'm very touched and, as with most presents, they are not a pair I would ever have bought for myself (having cats on them). But I love presents like that. They will always be easily identifiable as "my Edinburgh socks." And I'm not letting them out of my sight.

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