afvs, another fucking variety show, burlesque, cabaret, edfringe, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Fringe, Fringe, glamour, lindy, Pleasance Dome, swing, the Fringe, Tom Barnes, variety
So the Fringe is done and dusted for another year. Edinburgh’s cobbled streets are returned paperless to her residents. Venues are stripped bare, blacks folded and stored and flight cases packed. The Fringe ‘family’ created over the month return to the real world, each of us a man alone.
Now is the time when one finds out whether those amazing friendships, love affairs and chance meetings are something more or simply smoke and mirrors veiled in misty rain.
I had, quite simply, the most wonderful Edinburgh Fringe. A Fringe quite unlike any other.
Another F*cking Variety Show was an epic, joyous and chaotic marathon of variety. We had around sixty acts in over the month, acts of all kinds from the weird and wonderful, to the strange and beautiful, to the uproariously hilarious and mad.
I loved every single second. I had the pleasure of taking my audiences on a rollercoaster journey every night, introducing them to people they had never met or maybe even people they knew very well. We had performance art icons, stars from the fetish scene, many a musical genius, some of the biggest names on the comedy scene and intenational burlesquers who left everyone feeling steamy!
You throw it all together, with a room full of smoke, some wonky sparkly letters, five costume changes, the most divine piano player Tom Barnes and my ‘Girls Friday’ Anna Newton and Sophie Mason and you have ‘Another F*cking Variety Show’; but it couldn’t happen without the audience.
Dave the Bear, Me, Jaz Delorean and Mr B – The Gentleman Rhymer
The audience, that night after night gave us their energy and their applause and sending us out to the bar on a high and often very late! The team at the Pleasance Dome were superb, professional and very understanding of our cabaret cons (glitter, candle wax and champagne…you get the picture!) Let’s hope that they’ll have us back next year!
Outside of the show, life in Edinburgh was really busy, for the first two weeks we had Rafferty up with us so life revolved somewhat around him. The odd kids show, my favourite being ‘Funz and Gamez’ (Rafferty even received a Copstick review in the Scotsman for his cameo). Swing dance Flash Mobs organised by the wonderful Tricity Vogue made me smile.
There were nights of drinking and dancing, those ‘Dixey’ boys are diamonds and one particular afternoon of ‘Ripping Tweed’ for Walker Slater which will remain with me for many memories to come. Gin, dancing and tweed, what could be nicer? I mean, it might have been better if it hadn’t rained but doesn’t that add to the charm? A private courtyard with dripping moss walls, a hidden tweed paradise in the very heart of the Old Town, it was a delight to share a stage with the ever-elegant Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer for an audience of beautifully attired people sipping cocktails. Getting ‘steamy’ with Tigger and Jett Adore and the conversations that went with meant the world to me, just that hour out of the Fringe madness is so very necessary. I found time to visit Studio XIII, my favourite place to get tattooed and had a pirate tattoo on my thigh done by the amazing Jack Peppiette for my JackJack. It’s not quite finished, we need to get more colour in there, but my pain threshold gave up after three hours! I’ll need to go back to Edinburgh next week, (oh how dreadful!)
So now, I find myself at home. How does one decompress from the Fringe experience? Be kind to yourself. Hole up, allow yourself to be a bit down, relive those happy memories, treasure and build on those new friendships. Keep in touch with your friends, let them reach out to you and don’t be afraid to reach out to them. Remember that you are not alone, there are thousands of people feeling exactly like you right now.
If all else fails, just remember that it is less than 365 days until it all starts again. See you there?
All photos: Melanie Smith, Jack Peppiette, Lili la Scala & Clive Holland