But today I find myself in the happy position of being able to do both, because this week I gave a lift back from Edinburgh to a travelling man who told me a long ballad about a chap who goes to work on the Edinburgh Fringe when he is young and impressionable, and then makes the mistake of going back when he is grown-up. It's sad and touching, I think, but ultimately hopeful. It also has quite an ambitious rhyme scheme for a ballad.
When I was only 22
I went to the Fringe with a revue
From a drama college in Crewe
- I'd never been north before.
We stayed in a flat where fungi grew
And tried to live on tinned Irish stew
While the beetles marched past two by two
As they came across the floor.
Yes, when I was young and little knew
I went to the Fringe in a revue
Which went on stage at midnight 02,
And we all got late to bed.
Our script was good if somewhat blue
Our audience was very few
(Our venue was somewhere near the Zoo)
And we all went home in the red.
I was known as the technical crew
Which mean that everything nasty to do
Was always left to you-know-who,
Whether small or large;
When amps broke down or fuses blew
Or the stage was totally covered in goo
Or someone had to unblock the loo
I was the bloke in charge.
So, when I was only 22,
I slept in a room with a lovely view
Of piles of discarded tiramisu
From the Italian joint next door.
Every time the east wind blew
The smell of pizza came right through
And this was true of the west wind too;
It was very hard to ignore
Yes, when I was only 22
And went to the Fringe in a revue
I met my future wife called Sue
In a pile of student bedding.
And I didn't really know what to do
And then she said, I'm pregnant too
And the doctor said, I'm afraid it's true
So we had an unscheduled wedding.
And now that I'm over 42
We've come back to the Fringe with deja vu
And there's nothing left of the old venue
- It's now a snooker hall.
And we really don't know what to do
For the Fringe is a monster which grew and grew
And everywhere you have to queue
Even if you're going to the loo.
And tourists throng from Kalamazoo
And Venezuela and Peru.
It's not the Fringe that once we knew
So we finally went to the Tattoo -
At least THAT's still quite small!Reuse content