The Edinburgh Fringe Festival: a month wherein an entire city is transformed into a performer’s playground. Any and every free space in which an audience can be squeezed, will be squeezed. Magic, performance art, circus acts, dance, music, theatre, comedy… basically, much like Rule 34, if something exists, there will be somewhere to see it in Edinburgh.
Besides being the biggest arts festival in the world, it is also the festival of needless accessories, vibrant hairstyles and one too many piercings. If you’ve ever tried to spot an arts student on a university campus, you’ll know the kind of fashion choices I mean. It’s the kind of fashion choice that screams “I’m quirky, deal with it! And I don’t care that my interesting accessory is by all counts more of a hindrance to everyday life than it is visually appealing!” (NB: I am in no way exempting myself from this. I love a good hat.) The Fringe represents the height of individualism, collected and concentrated into a few hundred square miles of incredibly uneven ground. Seriously, there are hills everywhere and, by the end of the Fringe, your calves will be toned to perfection.
However, a word of advice: the Fringe is not a holiday, it is an expedition into virgin territory.
- More often than not, it’s an uphill struggle.(These are the Playfair Steps, but I assure you, they do not.)
- You’ll experience every weather condition known to man.
- It has its own cuisine and music.
- It has its own social rules
- …and wildlife. Don’t expect to get time for yourself at the Ed Fringe either. Do expect complete strangers – I might even say “weirdoes” – to wonder up to you and wave a flyer in your face. Everyone needs to rustle up an audience, and you could be it. You will be flyered. There is no No-Flyer Zone. Don’t resist it, embrace it. Flyerers embody the spirit of the Fringe as much as the performers. And don’t even try to avoid us, or oppose us, for we are many. The methods with which you will be harassed are multifarious, all of them geared in the hope of persuading you to take a flyer:
- The Flirt
- A classic approach for sales and advertising – sex sells. The flirty flyerer will casually sidle up to you as you walk along, act cool and confident and will wait up to 5 minutes before revealing their true intentions.
- Hit them with Happy
- My personal approach to flyering is most akin to this: attempting to be each individual’s Joy Bringer. This might involve offering a free hug, a compliment, a little song and dance and generally making a fool of yourself as long as it brings a smile to someone’s face. Some even offer free sweets to seal the deal.
- The Pretentious Poser
- Take an acoustic guitar, a flamboyant costume and strike an excessively sincere pose – a flyer in one hand, your wrinkled brow in the other. This method seemed to gain popularity in the early days of the Fringe, I speculate because it is an approach that appeals to the pretentious, the posy and the lazy (three prominent characteristics of the arts community).
- The Nutter (ultimate confidence required)
- For those who don’t give a flyering fringe… Definitely trying too hard with that pun.
- Lost the Will to Leaflet
- Already been stood out on the Royal Mile every day for over a week, trying to palm off the same bloody pile of flyers that doesn’t seem to get any smaller? Then this is the method for you. Be lack-lustre, dull, uninspiring and don’t you dare think about picking up a thesaurus.
- The Onomatopoeic Opener
- This is my personal favourite, and a method that successfully captured my attention. Simply present your flyer and, as you do so, make a whimsical yet intriguing noise. Silliness with a hint of genius – which should be the tagline for the festival.
Talking of taglines:
“Unboring. That’s the word you’ll find splashed over the front cover of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe programme … It’s not actually a word at all, of course. You’ll find it in the Urban Dictionary – ‘a word used by people with no vocabulary’ … Unboring is unsightly, ungrammatical and uninspiring; utterly unworthy of the Edinburgh Fringe.” (Matt Trueman, The Stage, June 26th 2014)
Unboring? No. Exhilarating, yes. Exhausting, yes. Exaggerated? Certainly not.
You should go.
Ps. Go see my production – A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Two Tired! Shakespeare plus Scooby Doors equals an hour of hilarity you won’t want to miss!
Get tickets by clicking HERE!
…. Once a flyerer, always a flyerer.