There's only one thing worse than going to the Edinburgh Fringe and that's coming back from the Edinburgh Fringe. It just all ends too harshly. Half the festival should be sent home at the beginning of the last week, then half the remaining lot should be sent home two days later, all the posters should be burned to death on the last Friday and all flyerers who are on stilts, are dressed in their stage clothes or are happy should be arrested and decked. We should be eased into the comedown of Edinburgh but we're not. It's very cruel. For a month we drink heavily, lounge around looking fabulous, bitching about awful shows and shout about not being Dave Gorman for at least an hour a day. And then, suddenly and brutally, it's over.
The train journey back from Edinburgh to London is the most miserable experience you'll ever go through. It's mournful, lonely and scenic. The beauty of the Scottish coast and countryside does not match the ugliness oozing throughout my insides on this unholy journey to reality. For weeks before the Fringe every shiny, happy fuckwit on the internet was cheerily posting their fucking embarrassing "Guide to Surviving Edinburgh" unfunny and pointless blogs full of spiteful tips such as "Drink plenty of water" and "blow your own dad for a Kitson ticket", but where are those smiling, optimistic pricks now? That's right, they're curled up in that cupboard under the sink with a gun to their head, crying and eating their Claudia O'Doherty ticket stubs. So, where's the survival guide to coming back from the Edinburgh Fringe? I don't know but here's some stuff you can try if you're still alive.
As soon as I arrived at Waverley Station yesterday my survival instincts kicked in. It's a long and heartbreaking journey ahead; I need champagne. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS TRAIN JOURNEY SOBER. If you do you will remember happy things and you'll burst into tears. Constantly. Also, travel First Class. Don't even think about travelling with the other performers in Shit Class. It's more expensive but you CAN earn your money back if you work hard enough during the journey. Firstly, you get free wifi which means you can go online anonymously and criticise Craig Hill's poster (an important part of any relaxing train ride) plus you'll see tweets and Facebook posts from hundreds of other performers who are emotionally destroyed by the end of the festival and there is NOTHING cheerier than reading about another depressed performer. Really perks me right up. Secondly, a bottle of champagne doesn't last long and First Class gives you FREE BOOZE. I reckon I easily got another bottle and a half of wine out of them and that really helped a lot especially as I ended up having a 25 minute chat with the improviser Deborah Francis White and, thanks to FREE BOOZE, I can't remember any of the things I must have had to listen to.
So that's the journey home taken care of but what happens when you get home? Easy. Sure you can go out for a meal and discuss your exciting month with your loved ones, family and friends but that means your missing out in one of the major Fringe experiences: Talking to yourself. What I like to do is come back to an empty house and open and close every cupboard 35 times and then stand by the living room window for an hour just staring. After an hour, I open the curtains and stare for another hour. Then I close the curtains and agree with myself that staring this way is much better. It's time to pour yourself another drink but don't forget to forget to buy any more alcohol so that you can waste more time scrambling around the house looking for any booze at all that you can find. After relaxing with a refreshing glass of Baileys, Fanta Lemon and Mead, it's time to turn the telly on. Why not wind down from the Edinburgh Fringe by watching lots of people who didn't need to go this year because they've already made it big? That'll put you in the right mood. But don't actually watch anything. Concentrating on anything is not part of the Edinburgh comedown experience. Just flick through all the channels. Then do it again but this time, time yourself. Then do it again but this time try to break your record. When you stop crying, have another brandy and veggie gravy.
Look, that's just one way of passing the time. There are lots of things to do (and I have actually done some of these): Read all your takeaway menus and then throw them in the bin, realise you've never lied facedown on your living room floor before and then do that for a destructive amount of time, walk to the back of the garden just to touch the shed and then walk back again, realise that there aren't that many friends that live near you, get excited about next year's show before remembering that your idea has already been done by Reginald D. Hunter and people would think you doing it would be a bit racist anyway, alphabetise your problems, scream, watch The Twin Dilemma, curl up on the sofa and, through the streaming tears rolling down your face, say your show out loud to your dog.
What I'm trying to say is, the day it's all over is crap. And somehow we forget all that in time for next year. For the last month I've had a brilliant time showing off and partying. Today I'm cleaning my whole house and spraying all the furniture because Jerk has fleas. Is it right to come back from the Edinburgh Fringe to spend time dealing with irritating parasites that you can't avoid? Aw, it's like I'm still there. Thanks, Jerk!
Thanks to the brilliant Stand Comedy Club for being so good to me this year. They're the best comedy club in the country and it's baffling to me why anyone would go anywhere else during the Fringe. I love them. And thanks to Diane for the lovely flat (can I stay there next year, please?). If you came to my show then I'm incredibly grateful. It was a fun year. Now to try to get through the next few days. A glass of pernod and water?
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