Friday, August 25, 2023

Fun at the Fringe


The Edinburgh festival was everything I expected and more.

I went with a bunch of mates with the core aim of having a laugh.

I guess if you go to a comedy festival for three days you should expect to.

I also came away with the shock revelation that local Tameside MP Angela Rayner likes music, dancing, vaping and having a drink on holiday with her mates.

I was literally there in the room when she said this to one of my favourite comedians, Matt Forde, in a live recording of his Political Party podcast. 

“You've got to go with the music, the vibes. You've got to be in the moment and it takes you.” 

Naturally, the Daily Mail presented this as a gotcha. 

While the Conservative supporting paper was willing to accept the explanation that Boris Johnson was ‘ambushed by a cake’ and hard working Downing Street staff only partied during the long dark days of lockdown because of the pressure of running the country, the coverage of Angela’s holiday story was dripping with judgement and finger wagging. 

It also triggered all the worst people on social media.  

You want your politicians to be serious and capable and willing to address the challenges of passing laws to make our lives better. She did all of that, but unsurprisingly it didn’t make the cut of the article in the Mail. 

It did trigger over 4000 people to add comments. Some of them saying ‘good for her’ but most just joining the pile on.

But I think for the most part it made her come across as human, as she always does. I’ve known her for over 8 years when she was a trade union rep in Stockport and I have seen her grow in confidence and stature.

But she’s also the same Ange in many ways. Good for her.

We didn’t go to the festival to be outraged by this, and we weren’t, but to be entertained.

The highlight for me was seeing Failsworth born comic Josh Jones, the brother of one of my best mates Sam and the butt of much of his material.

As well as loads of hilariously filthy revelations that I couldn’t possibly share in a family newspaper, Josh also ripped through stories of growing up in Manchester as Sam’s younger brother.

His whole act is a celebration of being gay and Mancunian and it was a riot. More of this please, I can thoroughly recommend seeing him when he next goes on tour.

The best thing about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival though is the moments of chance.

We played a game called “Fringe Chicken” where you randomly pick something high risk and just go with the flow, possibly the next flyer you get handed. 

The joke amongst our group was that last year they’d been to see North Korean wrestling, and it was as weird as you’d expect. Some of them hated it. Some just embraced the oddity.

This year we saw The Dark Room, a bizarre one-man show with John Robertson and the world's only live-action, text-based adventure game. I know, sounds insane, but it worked. 

We also ran into so-called comedian Stewart Lee, who I had seen in Buxton last year. I am terrible at making conversation with celebrities and mumbled something about looking forward to seeing him in Buxton again next year. 

He said it wouldn’t be for a couple of years as he was there in March. 

I had to correct him and tell him his own schedule and that he’s starring there on Friday the 24th of February 2024. A bit cringe, but we’ll be there.

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