Saturday, 23 August 2014

The Edinburgh Pony.

It's around five am and David and I are listening to the back catalogue of his favourite songs from the beginning of time to the almost present day (mid 90's).
'And of course this one,' he says. 'From A Star is Born.'
'Judy Garland.'
'Oh. Never seen it.'
There's an unwanted pregnancy of a pause.
'What the fuck are you saying to me?'
I glance up nervously.
'I – I've never seen it.'
He stares at me balefully.
'You are the shittest fag hag ever. I'm telling Christeene.'
Ah, Christeene.
I had been introduced to the way of life that is Christeene a few months previously via the gift of youtube. David and John are producing her show and David sent me a link which I clicked on as I sipped my first coffee of the day. Five minutes later I finally blinked and wondered whether I was crying tears or blood.
I won't spoil the experience for you. Look her up. I recommend 'Fix My Dick' for your first viewing experience. Better still though would be to see her live as I did some hours before the 'shittest fag hag' recriminations.
Initially she looks a little like the love child of Marilyn Manson and a crack whore but she grows on you alarmingly quickly and before long you'll see that she has a strange and compelling beauty. She is the most seductive creature. It's impossible not to fall for her. You'd have to be dead inside. A word to the wise though, do not under any circumstances accept the balloons she offers you during the show.
Let her in and she'll teach you how to release your inner pony, the courage that keeps you from safe places, the one that lives in your gut, wild and untameable.
After the show we met and were left alone for a couple of hours to chat, smoke and drink. As I stared in to her electric blue contact lenses I fell a little in love. I plan to be her life long friend irrespective of any feelings she may have on the subject. The great thing about obsession is that it focuses you.
I'm at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a few days, the guest of David and John, two friends and Producers who are the just about the most fun as you can have with or without lashings of vodka. And there is always vodka. They have that wonderful gift of making you feel treasured. As I type this John has emptied my ashtray and placed a bowl of cheesy biscuits within easy reach, right next to my gin.
It's lovely being a bit part player in their world of shows and drinks and anecdotes. They have five acts on in conjunction with Soho Theatre, all of which I've seen and enjoyed immensely. David tells me that some years ago they had twenty five acts on simultaneously and it was madness.
It's my first time here and I'm aware that I've been spoiled horribly and for ever more. I don't pay to see anything and I have a number of plastic passes to get in various places. There is always a drink in my hand and a cigarette at regulation height.
Every time I try to pay for something John tells me to 'Put your cash away, we might need it later.' Later has never arrived.
The first show they took me to was Fascinating Aida. I've been a fan of Dillie and Adele since I was sixteen and first saw them perform on Hysteria (A show that David produced, serendipity's a sneaky minx) They are two of the greatest comic lyricists and like all clever people they make it look effortless. Watching the trio perform together is hilarious and nostalgic. I had the pleasure of finally meeting them after the show and barged in with my camera demanding a picture before they'd barely had a sip of wine. It's what you do isn't it. Despite the self loathing.
I'd tell you about Kim Noble's show 'You're Not Alone' but I'm still a bit speechless really. There's a moment where you see some footage of his elderly father. Kim has gone to visit him in his care home and he sees his son and says; 'Kim, Kim, my blessed boy.' With everything that comes before and after it just makes you cry. There are also bits that make you want to claw your way through the wall behind you to get away.
I'm aware that I haven't a bad word to say about anyone or anything, I'd make a terrible critic, thank fuck. If you ever have the opportunity to see his show, go. Cancel all your plans and go. Once seen it can't be unseen which is both a curse and a blessing. He won an award. So did Christeene. Though hers was a brick with a plaque on it which she's rightly concerned about taking through customs; “I'm gonna give it to Soho Theatre and get them to ship that fucker to me.”
I haven't been properly sober for at least two days.
Everyone I've met is either in a show or working on a show and I have had the luxury of absolutely no responsibility. The most taxing activity has been putting the kettle on.
The days are long and fizzing with excitement. The drinks are relentless and I can't tire of it.
John tells great anecdotes and it has become second nature to roll a cigarette and share it with him because apparently he doesn't smoke anymore. I'll be passing my cigarette to thin air for days to come.
The two of them have known each other forever which is evident in their banter. We were in a taxi yesterday and in response to some quip of John's, David said:
'If I die young you'll be sorry you said that.'
John raised an eyebrow.
'David, we're too old to die young.'
They both sit there giggling for the next two minutes.
But one of the nicest things is lounging opposite David at five am as he plays me songs whilst scrolling through his endless emails, which never stop, not even at half six when I finally drag myself off to bed. John who lies down, closes his eyes and sleeps immediately, dreamlessly and for up to nine hours, staggered through last night for a piss and just rolled his eyes.
'Go to bed for fuck's sake.'
David doesn't seem to require sleep. From what I can gather he takes a restorative nap between about seven and ten before starting all over again.
He wakes me at eleven with a cup of tea and tells me to get up because 'we're going for a lovely lunch somewhere proper'. He's full of beans and I'm bouncing off the walls so it takes me a moment to realise the soundtrack to 'A Star is Born' is playing loudly and pointedly just outside my door.
As I sit on the train heading back south a montage of the last few days shimmer around my head.
Christeene talking about the secrets kids tell each other in the woods, where no grown ups are allowed to go. Kim riding in to the night on the back of a white horse, wearing a sparkling red evening gown. Dillie rolling her eyes as she explains the finer points of dogging. Adele's perfect red lipstick and warm smile. A puppet of Gabriel Byrne telling fellas that it's okay to fuck fellas. David roaring with laughter. John handing me yet another margarita as the rain thunders down. And I think of that pony in the gut, wild and untameable.