Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Edinburgh 2013 - Halfway Through Week Two

I am sitting in a lovely bar in which I was once dumped. Back then I was crying so hard I could only see the fuzzy outline of the coffee cup and the wilting froth within. They didn't charge me for my drink, and I'm still grateful for that touch of humanity.

Nearly ten years have passed since that moment, and here I am tapping away like the Apple Mac twat I have become in the intervening decade. I have walked up here after my performance today, to do a bit of tapping and thinking. I thought it would be nice to come back here, to re-live that moment and think about how far I've come since I came up to Edinburgh in my early, mid and then late twenties. Last year I was performing an excerpt on the Free Fringe, and six years ago I was flyering for cash during the days and spending my nights at the Jazz Bar waiting until four in the morning for the chance to sing a single song (read about it here, if you like). Now I wake up and gather my self and my stuff, hoist my heavy rucksack onto my back and trek out into the day. Flyers fanned, I take the first deep breath of many and approach the "punter".

This hurdle successfully negotiated, I chat away with everyone I meet. "Oh yeah!" I realize. "I like talking to people! This is OK."

People react in different ways. Some are happy to take the flyer but feel that eye contact is too much of a commitment. Some smile indulgently, as though I'm an errant but well-intentioned puppy. Others refuse, which I don't mind, especially when they are nice about it. Sometimes they stop and look intently at the flyer, which I take as a cue to begin talking about the show until I notice an expression of fear and bafflement begin to creep across their features and realize they aren't understanding a word I'm saying.

Some people are morons about it, taking the opportunity to enjoy the brief flash of power they feel as the potential consumer of something I'm trying to sell.

"I can't come to the show because I'm going home now" said one such delight. "But sell it to me anyway!"

In automatic sell-mode, I began, much to his amusement. I trailed off and he laughed imperiously.

"Well, good luck with that!" he sneered, and wandered off.

I approached two elderly gentleman.

"Can I give you a flyer?"

"Yes!" one replied "But only if I can take your picture. Pretty girl like you!"

So I dutifully smiled with my flyers as he fumbled with his ancient camera, pressing wrong buttons and eventually thanking me and tottering off.

I spent a long time talking to two Irish women about the festival and the nature of fame and sexism in the media.

"So" one of them leaned in. "What happened when you tried to make it in the music industry?"

"Ah ha! You'll have to come to the show and find out!"

She slapped me gently on the hand. "Oh, you!"

At the end of our chat they promised to come to the show, and one of them hugged me.

"Well done. You're doing so well. We are so proud of you."

Everyday I go into the dressing room about twenty minutes before the show before me finishes. I have begun to take their cues for my getting ready process. When I hear a little shriek I know it is time for me to turn my computer on, and in the first moments of the music that whispers the end of the play my stomach does a flip. Perhaps for the rest of my life, when I hear those notes, I will have a Pavlovian response and nerves will scratch at the door. I hope so.

Bright Lights is going very well. I have had another review, which was very nice! I won't bore you with them here (FOUR STARS) but if you want you can read them here and here. I think the hour that I am actually performing is the simplest bit, because by now I know exactly how that goes. Everything else is a weird mix of adrenaline, sweat and trudging.

In other news: my EP CDs have been dispatched so I will be selling them at my music gigs, the first of which is tomorrow. My lovely flatmate Fi and I have been having wine-fuelled jam sessions in our kitchen, with her on guitar and vocals and me on cello and backing vocals. I am hoping that Fi will be able to come with me to some of my solo gigs and we can perform together. We've been trying to think of a name for our band. So far we have come up with Fi-lé, but are unsure of it due to the inevitable fish associations.

(Side note: Fi's Mum has been known to read this blog, so if you are reading this, Fi's Mum: Hello! Thanks for reading! Your daughter is great!)

I have eeked out this coffee for as long as is reasonable. Due to not having been dumped in the last ten minutes (as far as I am aware) I will almost certainly have to pay for this one.

I am still knackered and can't remember what a vitamin looks like. The spot on my chin is still clinging on (although Ben says it brings out my eyes) and I am covered in inexplicable bruises. But I love it (not the spot). I adore my flatmates so much it's unseemly, and am making new friends everyday. Later on I am going to a seance! I hope it's like Charmed (bagsy being Alyssa Milano). Then later I am going to see Luisa Omelan's epic What Would Beyoncé Do?, which I have seen one and a bit times (I performed just before and after her, with Eggs Collective at Latitude).

I like sitting here, the scene of ancient heartbreak. No longer heartbroken. Maybe the tinest bit bodybroken, but I reckon I can just about deal with that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Leonie. I miss your flat-mate too.....but I can see that she is in fun and creative company. Wish I could come to your show. One day maybe. (hugs) and best wishes.
Barbara (aka Fi's Mum)

3:47 a.m.

Anonymous Malcolm & Carole said...

Hey Leonie, came to see you Weds with my wife. You were brilliant. How could we resist your smiley approach on the mile! What a great voice - people dont know what they're missing!. Thanks for a brilliant performance......... :-)

1:35 a.m.

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Blogger Ellie said...

You are so charming ... Even just thru the Internet, how could people be jerks when you're handing out flyers ... They must b miserable jerks! X

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