Arts: EDINBURGH FESTIVAL '99: Diary: Geraldine McNulty, comedian

THIS YEAR I decided to make Edinburgh a challenge. I view myself as a dynamic, self-assured and positive character and so, one day in spring (after a counselling session) the voices in my head told me to take on not one, but two shows. I arrived in Edinburgh full of the miraculous confidence exhibited by Julie Andrews as she arrived at the gates of the Von Trapp mansion!

It's all come unstuck. As I write I am huddled in the corner of a studio and you, dear reader, are now my counsellor. Where else am I to turn? I thought I knew myself but sadly all I know now are the characters who have taken over my life. I emerge in public only to regale audiences with the comic creations that are now so real to me. I no longer know myself. Edinburgh is as confusing to most people as it is at times to me. So much to do, so little time, so many people telling you where to go. There is fun, adrenaline, long-lost friends. There are predators, tears, exhaustion. But nothing will stop me achieving what I set out to do. Thank you, dear reader! You took time to listen, and I now know I can deal with this wonderful mixed-up madness.

`Betty', Gilded Balloon 2 (3.45pm) and Greatest Hits at Gilded Balloon Studio (7pm) until 30 Aug

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