20th August 1999 onwards

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20th - Connected
21st - A Flyer in the Hand is Worth Two on the Table
22nd - Special Chocolate
23rd - Snap-Happy
24th - Stylophonics
25th - It's That Fizzy Water Time Again
26th - Homesick
27th - Universal
28th - Nobility
29th - Haze

20th August - Connected

Get to the Fringe Club and finally manage to upload the pages. Also prepare some flyer additions for Steve. Sit in the Pleasance for a cuppa, long-overdue page updating session and wait for Steve to arrive. Can't see the screen in this light very easily though - which means I am having to use my own body shade to see it and am typing in a very contorted positon. Some of the more famous Comedy Store Players on the next table but they are busily in their own conversation and I know I have lots to do, and believe it or not I always had difficulty re-introducing myself to people I only know a little. I hate to impose on other people's conversations without a good reason.

We sort out the flyers and get out flyering - his brother has arrived and is helping. This brother is called Dan and is apparently a karate teacher - Dan a good name then. They are twins; similar but not identical. The other flyering comedians are all freaked out as although they don't look identical Dan's mannerisms are the same as Steve's and we now have two Steve Bests looning around the place.

Go to one favourite haunt from last year - Lo Stadio on South Bridge - very nice 'all-day breakfast' and then back to the Pleasance for more flyering.

Steve's show is quite strange - they are a little subdued although there are more of them. We go after to see Philip Jeays who I saw last year - very witty and a wonderful voice but I don't like that West End Musical style of music. Afterwards we try to blag our way into a few things with no success so they go off home - Adam Bloom is organising some sort of party at their place and I am asked to go but showbiz parties are not my kind of thing and I'd have to get back, so decline. Home (get in first time!) type up diary and sew hole in pocket of jacket. Only 1am so will treat myself to a nice relaxing read and a cup of Gunpowder tea that I bought in Whittards today, along with a cup & saucer bearing the legend "Big Cup of Tea" and a funny thing called a tea sock - you put the 'sock' in your cup, put tea in, add water, remove sock of tea leaves at appropriate moment.

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21st August - A Flyer in the Hand is Worth Two on the Table

Today things continue their steady improvement - while walking around town to buy glue and staples I come across a shop selling model boats (I collect them) which has something unusual I don't already have, so I will come back later and buy it. I also book my tickets for shows - don't worry, I hadn't forgotten the Reviews!

Apparently someone has written "Steve Best is best" in the Pleasance toilets - he denies it of course.

Most of the day is spent flyering - maybe it has paid off - early afternoon we check the numbers and 40 tickets are sold already. Then again, it is Saturday. Bit more flyering, Dan has a haircut, to the Pleasance, more flyering. My experience from the Brighton Fringe is that people walk in a daze past the cacophany of posters, but will focus on something thrust into their hands, especially if it has a good review stapled to it.

I am supposed to be going to Big Value tonight but have not heard back from them and it's probably sold out - I'll go another time as Steve's final numbers are about 130 - 5 to 10 short of sold out, and I am keen to see how things go. We know that this is mainly due to other shows selling out, but perhaps while wandering round looking for something to do they found one of our flyers. We are in danger of running out - but better that than them staying in the box. Hopefully the unsuspecting audience will be pleasantly surprised and rush out to tell their friends - hopefully. They are quite hard to work and so he doesn't storm it, but does his job and they laugh and go out with positive comments. I hand out a lot of website address stickers on the way out. The weeknights will be the test we know.

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22nd August - Special Chocolate

Go to Bannermans today and am pleasantly surprised to find that the place still has the same comfy sofas and hot chocolate during the day despite the fact that it is now a pre-club bar in the evenings. Have a ridiculously decadent hot chocolate (see last year's reviews) and move on as the mobile signal in there is non-existent.

More flyering, eat, flyering. Some good news - Steve has a review in the Sunday Times which has the wonderful line "...invites comparisons with Lee Evans and Norman Wisdom. Fortunately, his spoken material is stronger than either's". This is more like it, and it is added to the flyers with a speed which startles others - but the last thing I am is inefficient at admin work.

This evening I go to see comedian and e-mail friend Toby Foster in his show Northern Uproar, and then he gets me into the Stand proper to see their late night show. Reviews of those on the Review page.

Back to the flat by 2.30am - manage to get into the building but have to sleep outside the flat until 5am. This is ridiculous, but the flat is being let to me extremely cheaply so I don't feel I can complain too much. And I'm not too fussy about thing like beds - I have somewhere to lock my stuff and a nice floor to sleep on that's off the street, so things could be much worse. Always the realist.

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23rd August - Snap-Happy

No Steve Best show today so we are not stapling flyers - spend the time taking some snaps of the city. Do a bit of flyering for Peter Buckley-Hill in the afternoon and catch his solo show - see the Reviews Page for this and the shows mentioned below.

Some shops are open late - I buy the latest Stainless Steel Rat book in Waterstones and am now dying for a Chinese takeaway, so go on a little quest and finally find one on the West Port end of the Grassmarket. After that it's off to see the Impro Premier Crew as usual, followed by Two Fingers of Scotch - one of the 'fingers' supported Noel James in his Brighton Fringe show so we met there and she has invited me along.

Got in first time tonight thankfully and get a key for Tuesday night only, which is better than nothing.

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24th August - Stylophonics

Payday! Go out and buy the new boat for my collection - it is a Titanic moneybox - you put the coin in front of the ship and pull a lever and the crashing into an iceberg pushes the coin into the box. Unusual so I am well pleased, but it weighs a ton so I stash it home. Steve rings on the way - we are back to work today.

More copying, stapling, flyering. Steve goes home for a pre-show nap - he's what they call a 'physical' act (i.e. a blur) and must expend an awful lot of energy doing shows every night. While he is gone I keep up the PR - am just down the street from someone giving out voting cards for the Universal Comedy Award - when they ask them what this is about I tell them all they need to do it write "Steve Best" in that little box there... I was joking but bless me some of them do! Every little helps.

I go off at 5 to see Rainer Hersch with some of Steve's many cousins. See the Review. This is just after the Daily Telegraph Open Mic Award final - Danny Bhoy (Bhoi?) is the winner. Come the flyering stint at the Pleasance my voice is going so I write a little sign to that effect. Another sign on the wall - Al Murray and partner have just had a baby girl called Scarlet. Bless!

Steve's show goes well, and someone asks me after the show what time Steve comes out as he wants an autograph! I check Steve has his trousers on and take the nice chap down and we all have a little chat. Adam Bloom comes out of his show with an awful sore throat - he also had a shouting heckler who he ripped into until he thought of the possibility that she might be mentally ill or some such. He is consumed with guilt until her friends apologise to him after about her behaviour.

I offer to take the first days' flyering the Craig Charles queue (Steve is supporting him this year). Doors must have opened very early because when I arrive there is no queue, but I get the stragglers. Home to bed to see if I can get rid of this cough.

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25th August - It's That Fizzy Water Time Again

This year's Perrier nominations - Al Murray (yet again), Simon Munnery, Boosh, Terry Alderton and Ross Noble. No real surprises and the flyering people are forming into little Perrier discussion groups as the rain is keeping everyone off the streets so flyering is pointless.

I spend the day sampling some of Edinburgh's fine foods, a crepe for breakfast and carrot cake, hot chocolate and ice cream for lunch (the ice cream because I still have the cough and it has now gone chesty). Go shopping - buy a skirt. Rob Rouse at the next queue to me in BHS is buying socks.

My show for this evening is Richard Vranch's (see review). Know him a little so pause to say hello after the show, but I have to hurry to the Pleasance to flyer and bid my leave.

Take some more pictures - here is one of the Red Bull Mini - they are giving loads out so we are living on the gooey stuff.

Despite the rain Steve's show this evening has about 40 something and they are all lovely people - it's nice when they get so tuned into it they laugh at the lead-up instead of the punchline. He knocks one of his boxes over and everything inside gets jumbled so he is having to hunt for props, but the audience are so into it they allow him the extra seconds. The chap who does venue 8 (the back of a truck) is at the show and is keen to bring it to the Brighton Fringe so I tell him to keep in touch.

You get a lovely view of Arthur's Seat from the door to Steve's venue - tonight it is all misty.

We are onto our last few flyers - we are going to have to print some more "by popular demand". Alex is going to give out the last few at Craig Charles' gig tonight and get Stoneranger to do some more - my experience is they will take days to do this which we don't have, so I'm itching to do them myself but I don't want to seem pushy so we'll see how Stoneranger do first.

I was going to go to Peter Buckley-Hill's late show but I thought it was later than it was and missed it. Nice early night for a change. Some friends coming to stay tomorrow so need to tidy up a bit. Back to the page index

26th August - Homesick

Been a bit of a lonely day unfortunately - homesickness is beginning to set in and am missing husband, cats and Ch'a. Spend most of the day on my own as the friends who were going to come up for the weekend couldn't get a ferret-sitter. Steve has not called - bump into Alex to find that his Dad is visiting, which is probably why. So I am wandering around surplus to everyone's requirements today.

It's a bit of a pain coming up on your own because it means you have to hang around people who probably have better things to do.... sorry, I've always been a bit insecure and I tend to imagine the worst when people don't phone or visit when they say they will. Oh well, I have shows tonight so will be able to occupy myself. Go and see Ministry of Biscuits and Count Arthur Strong with Terry Titters (see Review Page). While sitting in the audience for one of these I am reading a Saucy Jack flyer which exclaims "Kill for a seat!" next to a four-star review, which begs the question, what are you expected to do for a ticket to a five-star show?

Have enough time to go to the Cafe Royal and catch most of the Big Value shows - not all so I haven't reviewed it. Nice to sit and chat with them - many are friends from the UK Comedy mailing list on the Net and we have arranged a little meet-up at Bannermans tomorrow. Back to the page index

27th August - Universal

Get up, read e-mail and do uploading. Craig Charles has signed Steve's guestbook, which was very nice of him and I link to his website in return. Buy some souveniers. Steve rings, and we and have tea (I have a nice pot of Keemun). Alex has to keep popping out as she does a bit of translating on the side and is doing some over the mobile.

I've been trying all day to get in touch with my friend Jayne who has my ticket to the Universal Award party with no success. Apparently they're being a bit strict about tickets this year. I'm not in a very good mood as I have toothache - my husband sent an e-mail saying how he needs 200 worth of dentistry done and one of my fillings has fallen out in sympathy.

Go and see Earl Okin's show - his music one, so no review. It was good if you're into jazz with a bit of history thrown in, but his piano is a creaky old dog. His mouth trumpet solos are fantastic though, and he has such a mellow voice I'm dropping off despite myself. I enjoyed it, but rush off to the Pleasance for some chips and flyering. Meet an online chum in the queue, Angie, who works for the BBC and is here in her professional capacity - she loves the show.

Still can't get hold of Jayne so go to Peter Buckley-Hill and Some Comedians - no point reviewing this as the lineup changes every night but go along because it's free and he always gets good acts. Tonight a very good Scot I hadn't seen before called Gordon Brunton I think it was, plus Big Value stalwarts Howard Read and Robin Ince - Can't remember if I mentioned it but Howard accidentally fractured Robin's elbow earlier in the festival.

Still can't get in touch with Jayne. Went along with Robin & Howard and just walk in like I did last year. I must have a nice face. I do have a ticket somewhere, but I don't know where.

Al Murray wins (he was my tip for this one) and of course dedicates it to new baby Scarlet and Mum Amber (all he needs now is green and he's got a set of traffic lights). He rushes off home to his little family of course, leaving the rest of the comedy circuit and assorted TV people, agents and hangers-on to get plastered. I'm not a big fan of these kind of things as I'm the rep of a relatively minor festival and therefore not worth talking to, and my cough is made much worse by the atmosphere. Say hello and chat to the various people I do know - Steve arrives and says he had a lot of trouble getting his wife Alex in, which is a mockery seeing how I got in despite not having my ticket at the time.

I can't breathe any more so go home at 2.30am and turn in. Doubtless will catch up on the gossip tomorrow.

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28th August - Nobility

Not feeling very well at all today - toothache and cough and ill. Festival Flu with a vengeance. Buy some cough mixture - see Rob Rouse in Boots this time. Really must stop meeting like this. It's a nice day so I sit in the park with sandwiches and a book for a bit. I've got my kite but it's not windy enough.

Steve got a 5 star review in the Edinburgh Evening News today, so after a while I get up and do a bit of plugging on the Royal Mile, but my heart's not in it as I feel rotten. I was supposed to be seeing a show this morning but I was still in bed.

Went to see Baby Wants Candy - fantastic as ever (see reviews).

Go to the Pleasance to give out website info to find that Steve has sold out! Yay! I can't hang around long after the show as I have a ticket to see Ross Noble which is always a treat.

Sit in the Cafe Royal backstage bit for a while to fester but now feel ill again and want to go home. Can't get in so go off to find the Perrier bash to get a key from Colin who I live with - go a bit too far and end up in Morningside. As I trudge my way back the right way this time he messages my phone - Al Murray the winner and Ben & Arn (I think it is) as Best Newcomer. Get home, get in, swig some more cough mixture, go to bed.

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29th August - Haze

Can't remember much of what happened - it's the Benylin I think. This cough started about six days ago and I think I'd better see the Doc when I get home.

What do I remember - went to see a production of a Pinter play about someone who was awakened from that illness I can't remember the name of - an interesting enough play but I didn't like the direction - all the intonation in the wrong places.

Raining so I didn't flyer - had a nice raspberry iced tea and sarnie in Common Ground - when I'd finally got them to remember that I'd ordered Turkey and Cranberry instead of Ham and Mustard.

This is where the hazy bit starts - I honestly can't remember anything between this and when I went to see Tim Vine (see review). Went to see Steve's show - yet more friends have arrived including Simon and Steve's Dad. We all see the show, and start traipsing around to look for somewhere to eat. I feel like a bit of a spare appendage to all of this, Captain Paranoia has been trying to convince me that they don't want me around - probably untrue, but I'm not feeling very well anyway, so home to bed.

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