My Edinburgh: Richard Herring, comedian

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The Independent Culture

It was the first Saturday of the Edinburgh Fringe. I'd just finished my show and I was back in my flat drinking herbal tea on my own. What has become of me? I have become old. And I am attempting to get through the entire festival without a single drink of alcohol. What madness is this? Alcohol is all that has got me through my previous 18 Fringes.

The me of six years ago would be aghast at this fogey-ism, but then he probably spent the first Saturday of the Fringe sitting in the Pleasance courtyard, drinking beer on his own, desperately hoping he might meet a friendly lady, then going home, drunker and alone.

So maybe I have not just become old. Maybe I am content too. This is an unusual emotion to be experiencing up here. Most of my Fringe memories are tinged with unhappiness and regret or hedonistic excess. Six years ago I was struggling to get people into see my shows and I was being written off as a spent force. Now I am in a big room, people are coming and laughing, reviews are good and part of me wants to travel backand tell the 2004 Richard Herring it will be alright.

I wonder what message the 2016 me would have if he came back to see me watching Mickey Blue Eyes. Would he tell me to go out and enjoy myself while I still could? Or would he explain this was my high point? That I might get more successful but I would never be as happy as this. Whatever. I hope I am still doing this in six years, content or ravaged with self-doubt and impotent fury.

Richard Herring's 'Christ on a Bike: The Second Coming', to 30 August; 'As It Occurs to Me', 17 August, Assembly Rooms (0131 623 3030)

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