My Edinburgh: A L Kennedy, novelist

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The Independent Culture

I hate to say this, but bananas – the whole Edinburgh Festival revolves around bananas. (And after the first three or four days of gigging, that sentence makes as much sense as any – "Wilberforce Birmingham clamp nigh", for example, will sound like poetry.)

Never mind the hyper-caffeinated drinks – my heart won't stand them. Never mind the drugs – my body is a crumbly temple, the last thing it needs is interior explosives. Bananas are the key: they contain potassium and vitamins and food... I think... and tennis players eat them and orang-utans – they seem healthy... endangered but healthy...

Number of bananas to get you through show – three. Number of bananas to get you up the road to show – another three. Number of bananas to get you home – yet another three, plus a cab and someone to carry you downstairs.

Your state of pitiful exhaustion and show-focusedness will begin to clear into something like tense normality only when you have just two shows to go – and yet the bananas will continue, just in case.

In fact, I am barely gigging in Edinburgh this year and so will miss the lovely audiences, the odd audiences, the meeting people you haven't seen in 30 years, the dressing-room camaraderie, the dressing-room gossip, the increasingly vile dressing-room smells, the alarmed sports masseurs who mend my back, the endless ironing, and having the attention span of a boiled kitten. I'll also miss what amounts to a soul-melting holiday from my usual round of typing and more typing and badly planned travel. I won't miss the bananas. I don't even like bananas.

'Words' with A L Kennedy is at Highland Park Spiegeltent, 23 August, 9pm