Tuesday, July 31, 2018

FRINGEQUEST, Day 1: I'm OK, You're UK

So here's the deal:

This is a blog on which I used to post stuff. Like, a lot. Then less so, then barely ever. And since 2014...tumbleweeds. I'm currently in Edinburgh, performing my solo show MY GOODNESS at the International Fringe Festival. It's quite a slog--26 shows in 27 days. I'm not sure I'll ever do something this immersive again, and my wife isn't here to remember stuff for me, so I want to document the experience. I thought, "Is Blogger still, like, a thing?" Apparently it is!

That brings us pretty much up to date.

I'm writing this for myself, but maybe you'll get something out of it as well. I make no promises about the literary merit of the posts to follow. TALK ABOUT SALESMANSHIP!

And with that, here are some random thoughts about my first day:

I took a red-eye from JFK, arriving in Manchester at what was, to my brain, 5am. My sleep patterns have always been wonky, so I've been semi immune to jet lag...until now. Part of it is that I'm not doing the road as much lately, so I've settled into a more "traditional" schedule--not one befitting a responsible adult, but relatively consistent. The rest I just chalk up to my steadily decaying mortal body. It didn't help that my seat mate was a dude of comparable size. I got about 90 minutes of sleep on the plane, spread out over 3 restless hours. Then I watched Paddington 2 which was, in a word, delightful. Keep in mind, "delightful" is not a word I use on a regular basis. But man oh man, watch that movie and try to find a more apt description. You can't! Forget what I just said--don't even try!

I was bleary-eyed when I got to Manchester, but nothing too tragic. And the timing was such that, by the time I got to the terminal for my connecting flight, I only had ten minutes to kill until boarding. Perfect, right? Yeah, not so much. Two hour delay (which actually ended up being closer to three). I should count myself lucky--whilst waiting, I heard two separate announcements for flights that had been summarily cancelled. Who'd have thunk that a company called "Flybe" might not be the most professional outfit? More like FlyD-minus, amiright?

I slept on a bench in the shithole terminal for another 90 minutes or so. It was one of those desolate airport wings for puddle-jumpers, so no restaurants or shops. Of course, my gate changed at the last minute so I had to haul ass through the "nice" part of the airport anyway. I somehow managed to forget to buy pack of gum, so my mouth felt like a dried up sewer.

By the way, I'm basing this only on the airport, but Morrissey oversold Manchester.

Moving on! I finally got to Edinburgh around 4pm (11am, me-time), where I met up with my hero, Graham. I'm staying in a flat with Myq Kaplan (Google him!). Myq hooked us up with lodging via an old friend, who's father (Graham) seems hellbent on making sure we get the most out of our time here. Just an unbelievably kind fellow. Fuck that--he's a "good bloke". I'm not sure why, but you get over here and the word "bloke" finally makes sense. Graham is not a "guy" or a "dude", he's a bloke. The word nicely implies low-maintenance affability. He's semi-retired, but works two days a week as an art tutor for the disabled. Right?? I mean, COME ON. Graham and I made chit chat from the airport and I have decided that he and my dad are going to be best friends--no doubt about it. My dad is coming here for the final week of the festival and I'm going to Parent Trap them and they're going to get friend-married and then Graham will by my new step-dad-friend.

The flat is simple and clean. It has that barebones "air b'n'b" feel to it, but that's actually perfect for our needs. If it was covered in personal knickknacks, I doubt I'd be able to settle in. I'm taking the one bedroom and Myq is taking the living room/kitchen area, which includes a comfortable (according to myq) pullout bed. It's kind of an even split, in that I have the nicer bed and more privacy, but Myq can go to the fridge whenever he wants without having to disturb someone. The street is a goddamn postcard, but then again, EVERYTHING here is a postcard. I'm already suffering Quaintness Overload. And yes, I am aware that's a very condescending American attitude, but...well, I am what I am.

I unpacked and made the bed (ADULT!) and then managed to drag myself to a pub for dinner. It was all I could do not to collapse then and there. But the flat doesn't have wifi and I had important work to do (read: aimless Twitter scrolling). I headed back to the flat and allowed myself entry into Sleepyland around 10:30pm, sore throat already setting in. A slog of a first day, but...I am here.

Let the onslaught begin.