Edinburgh Fringe Day 18, Part One. Arfur Smif.

Today I went to see Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen Volume Two. Lion and I had seen an excerpt from vol. one at the Bath Comedy Festival back in the spring when I was one of three people opening for Arthur's set. He was such a delightful man, friendly and open and nothing like as miserable as he likes to appear. Or at least he was putting on a very good front. And he was very encouraging about my act — and even follows me on Twitter. Not that he ever does anything else on Twitter...

Anyway, I'd tweeted that I was going and that I hoped to get a hug. I'd had an Arthur Smith hug before and it was a good one. And I'm missing my dear, lovely scruffy bloke and our cuddles and I thought it would be really good to have a hug from another dear, scruffy bloke.

So I sent him a direct tweet that said 'Coming to see you tomorrow. Any chance of a hug?' No reply but none expected.

I went to the show — and frankly I was blown away. Arthur is backed by an excellent girl group called The Smithereens which really transforms the show into a concert and he mixed comedy with tragedy with anecdote with song.

Now I love Leonard Cohen's songs. I just never liked Leonard Cohen singing them. One of my favourite albums of all time is Jennifer Warnes' cover album, Famous Blue Raincoat, and the duet with Leonard on Joan of Arc is one of my favourite songs of all time.

But oddly enough, even though he sounds like Leonard Cohen, I really like hearing Arthur Smith sing his songs. And I just sat there in this big, black theatre for an hour entranced. I can't emphasise enough just how good this show was. It took us to hilarity and then made the stars bow down for pity minutes later.

And there's lots that's rude about Leonard Nimoy's poetry.

At the end, I hesitated and wondered if I should just leave with the others. Apart from anything else, Arthur had looked impressively smart and star-like on stage whereas he had been really scruffy in Bath. It was a different thing approaching someone more distant and obviously famous.

I waited for the crowd to leave and asked God what He thought. And then I saw Arthur wandering backstage, on the phone to someone. So I waited a little longer.

Three other people were waiting to talk to him and he came out and chatted with them all in the way that celebrities do; very polite and interested but carefully detached. I just waited. Then he turned to me and I said, "Maggy. Bath Festival." His eyes lit up with recognition and he just held his arms out.

It was a lovely hug. And I noticed that he was wearing his smart tee shirt inside out. Thank you Arthur.


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