The Edinburgh Diaries 2011 – Day 2 – Tuesday 16 August


I woke up. I was waking in Edinburgh for the first time this year. And it was raining. A grey rainy Edinburgh day of the sort any tourist to Scotland should experience. Good.

Robin Buckland rang to say he and a host of other comics were going for lunch. Did we want to join them? I thought about it. This was exactly the sort of networking opportunity that going to Edinburgh is all about!

I said we were staying in and watching The Wire.

Well, we were on holiday. And it was raining. My main concern was that we were rapidly reaching a point where we would finish watching the last series of The Wire and then there would be no more The Wire to watch.

We ate the Haggis flavoured crisps. Nice.

Eventually, I braved the rain to get a bottle of wine. Robin rang again to say he was going for a drink in the pub next door to our flat so if we managed to move at all we could join him. I said alright. But after I hung up I made a discovery.

There are these things called ‘Empire Biscuits’ and they are AMAZING. They are two shortbread biscuits sandwiched together with jam, covered in white chocolate, with a sugared jelly sweet on top. Britain may not have an Empire anymore. But we can still have a jolly nice biscuit.

So I did. There were several other unique Scottish cakes available but, somehow, I resisted.

Having taken the remnants of Empire back to the flat, Kerry and I went to the Peartree pub and I got a round in. Saw Phil Kay noodling round with a couple of guys with guitars on the open air stage, but it started to piss it down so they started packing up. Kerry offered him our awning to keep his drums dry, but he cheerfully told us to fuck off. He was very nice about it, though.

Me and Kerry sat and chatted about comedy. A couple behind us had obviously been to the BBC Comedy area. I think they had done a workshop on script writing, and possibly one on stand up. Kerry asked if she could look at the girl’s “How to do stand up comedy” booklet. It was full of salient and useful information encouraging the beginner comic. There was a nice quote from Stewart Lee. But I’ve forgotten it. It was something about being able to do anything on stage. Not, “Keep going for twenty years and you might just get somewhere” which he could have said.

I texted Robin to see where he was and he was at the Gilded Balloon garden with a posse of Brighton people. So we finished our drinks and I nipped back to the flat to grab our hats. On the way, I overheard the best conversation ever:

Flyerer: Are you looking for a comedy show to see?
Punter: Yeah!
Flyerer: Well we’re doing sketch comedy at…
Punter: Nah.

In the Gilded Balloon garden we found Robin and posse and squeezed onto a bench under an awning with Aidan, Nicky, Robin, Eden, and Jill.

I chatted to Robin about how it was going. He had his “Three blokes tell jokes” umbrella with him. Or “Blokes tell three jokes!” as I humorously refer to it. Or “Three blokes on umbrella spokes!” as no one refers to it because that would be rubbish.

Lots of chatting later, we all went for a curry at the lovely curry place under our flat. I had my usual chicken jalfrezi. Robin had a lamb handi.

AND he had a CURRY as well! Ey!? EY!?

Sorry. A lamb handi IS a curry. It just sounds like he had a lamb “handy” i.e. he had a lamb about his person.

Also it sounds like “hand shandy”. But that material is too blue for me.



It was about 10pm when we left and I had an open spot at the Beehive, so Kerry and I headed to the Grassmarket.

I was looking forward to doing some actual comedy at the festival. We waited downstairs whilst the previous show finished. Then I went upstairs to sign in. Upstairs at the Beehive is quite a nice box-shape room with a dozen rows of chairs and a small stage. I had to sit on a short row of chairs at the side so the audience could stare at me before I got on. Manos the Greek turned up. He was doing an opening ten before rushing over to Espionage to do a spot there.

We had an audience of about twenty and only two acts.

Eventually, the others turned up and we got on with it. I did my bit. It went well. A couple of people from the audience said nice things afterwards.

Ego satiated.

We wandered back to Bristo Square and got talking to a couple of blokes in the Library Bar who were actual Edinburgh citizens. They were funny and very positive about the festival. We ended up having a long chat about the brilliant Jerry Sadowitz. After they left we did more chatting with Brighton posse.

We got back about 4am and found there was a “Celebrity Interview” on TV. But this being Scottish Television, it was Michelle McManus interviewing…


This was the best holiday ever! Rain, Empire biscuits, the Krankies… what more could a holidaymaker want?

Now, there’s a slogan for the Scottish Tourist Board.



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