My god, nine months since I wrote a blog? I could have had a baby in that time. I haven’t, of course, I’ve been ridiculously busy trying to juggle six cats, a husband, a toddler and a career! It’s not the easiest thing I’ve ever done.
So I find myself at home after an amazing season in Edinburgh. A season of really hard work but good hard not bad hard. The sort of work that leaves your muscles aching when you finally slip into bed, buoyed by gin, and surrender yourself to the bone numbing fatigue and, (ignoring your million mile an hour monkey mind!) finally the oblivion of sleep, only to wake up the next day to do it all again. AFVS was a joy to do – an amazing venue staff, sold out houses, hilarious and generous guests and the best team I could ask for.
Edinburgh is a city seemingly built uphill. It doesn’t matter which way you go, you always seem to be going uphill but it is the soundness of one’s mind which goes downhill in Edinburgh! Gradually as the month progresses, your body clock changes, your ability to cook like an adult disappears. I think I ate more chips in this last month than in the rest of my life, put together! You begin to drink more, laugh more, cry more. You become, in equal measure, desensitised and uber-sensitised which leads to the threat of tears which glower behind your eyes like ominous storm clouds! You begin to see your own Fringe madness reflected in the faces of your friends. You treasure the moments of respite when you find yourself away from the Fringe. For me, it was an afternoon leafing through the archives at my tailors. Three hundred years of tailoring history crammed into books, rammed with swatches, drawings and letters. It was heaven. Thank you, Dan Fearn at Stewart Christie, it was more beneficial than you can know. It was an afternoon singing old songs around a piano with dear friends and glorious cocktails. It was sifting through vintage in Armstrong’s.
So then you find yourself at the end, with the sudden and bitter anticlimax that the finale of your final show brings. You chuck out your left over flyers, de-rig your Fringe life, stuff it into bags and wend your weary way home.
And then what?
It’s quiet. There aren’t teenagers howling ‘A Very Happy Un-Birthday’ beneath your bedroom window at an ungodly hour of the early afternoon. There aren’t ticket sales to check, running orders to send out, costumes to fix (who am I kidding? In this house the mending pile is a veritable Everest!), cast and crew to wrangle. There’s a stack of over-stuffed suitcases silently watching me and trying to trip me up as I stumble around, half asleep. They can bloody wait.
First morning home I wake early and alone. I lay in bed watching the grey fingers of the early dawn seep through gaps in my curtains. The crushing, and irrational, post-Fringe loneliness comes scratching at my heart’s door. “What now?” it whispers. “Who are you now?” I lay there, as the fear and depression seeps into my bones. I know it is only a temporary cloud. A week or two at most before real life rhythm is remembered like a familiar tune. Though for those two weeks, every mundane chore in my life is like a personal affront. Washing up? Laundry? Cat litter trays? Nappies? Unpacking? “I’m made for the stage and the glamour and wine and song” my mind thunders like a petulant child. I can’t find my clothes, I don’t remember where I packed them and frankly I don’t care. I find a pair of old harem pants and a discoloured baseball tee. They’ll do, for now.
I reason that I’m not the only one feeling the apres-Fringe blues. Thousands of other people are waking up feeling the same way. Happy to be home, sad to leave; that odd contradictory conundrum. I’m happy to indulge that dusky canine for a while.
I fill my days with work and child. I record an important new track for the Siren album, attend the weddings of several dear friends. The return of a favourite show in London at the weekend. I throw out clothes I don’t like. I spend time with my boys and my menagerie of creatures, all of whom are apparently thrilled to see me.
I ignore the unpacking – maybe I could just leave it packed for next August?