My Edinburgh: Dave Gorman, comedian

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The Independent Culture

Something odd happens to performers during the Fringe. They lose any sense of perspective. For three weeks they become even more self-obsessed than normal. When you understand what they're putting themselves through it's easy to see why. The financial commitment alone is scary. In order to bring up a show many comics take on debts that would scare Greece. (Maybe that's why they call it the Athens of the North). No wonder we think it's all about us.

You plough your life savings into staging a show and then your venue tells you they can't focus a spotlight where you want it because there's a puppet show on at 11am that needs it for their bit with the drainpipe. No wonder tempers fray.

When I was a teenager I used to come to the Fringe with my mate, Paul. We could afford to stay for five days and we'd see five shows a day. It was a cultural feast for two West Midlands boys who were starved of it the rest of the year. But seeing 25 shows doesn't scratch the surface. It's less than one per cent of the available fare.

My tips for a healthy state of mind: remind yourself that the rest of the world exists by reading a newspaper daily. Properly. Not just the reviews. Eat at Susie's Wholefood Diner. Climb Arthur's Seat once. See at least one show by someone you've never heard of in a genre you wouldn't normally dip into. It's good for you.

Dave Gorman's PowerPoint Presentation, Assembly George Square (0131 623 3030) to 28 August

Dave Gorman's must-see

I'm a bit of a geek for magic and there seems to be more of it at the Fringe than ever before. I'll be seeking out Ali Cook (30% comedian/70% magician), Pete Firman (80% comedian to 20% magician), Morgan & West (50% time travellers, 50% magicians) and, of course, Paul Daniels (who is 100% Paul Daniels and yet, somehow, still 10% Debbie McGee).