On the train back from Edinburgh, the scenery flying past me backwards through the window of the train, and I think ‘what the hell even happened in Edinburgh?’ I know I was there to do a job, but seriously what even happened? There was a lot of running around, jumping in to shows and out of rain, running under shelter and wolfing down pizza, catching Zs and big bang fireworks, men dressed as women and laughter, laughter, laughter. I arrived on the Wednesday to work on the Yahoo! Comedy Gala. It was held at The Stand III and a builder actually helped me carry the boxes of heavy flyers around the construction site that was blocking off the venue from the road. He, an Edinburgh builder called Dean, was the epitome of gallant and god the people outside of London are nice.
‘Tickets sir, tickets, tickets ma’am-‘
‘Ticket to London’
We went out that first night. I went to the Comedy Zone (which this year is of a high calibre) with Sophia and the Street Team plus others from my company. You’ve got Lucy Beaumont a rising star, who has won over the hearts of radio listeners with her Hull accent and odd sense of humour. She has a USP, as my boss told me on the walk back from the Gala in the rain.
‘What’s a USP?’
‘Unique Selling Point’
He’s a brilliant marketeer with silver hair – not grey - and a little stout. I also think he looks distinctly South African, which I have mentioned to him and he has confirmed that his grandparents lived in Drakensburg. If readers want to imagine my boss in Zorro-style mask wielding a foil then go for it. Tris (Digital), Sophia (Sales) and Chris (The Boss) up in Edinburgh representing the Marketing Dept. living it up as the Three Marketeers. On guard!
N.B. It is nothing like this.
We went to the Brooks Bar after seeing the Zone, which is sort of an exclusive bar on top of one of the larger venues called the Pleasance Dome. Brooks is open to anyone who works for or at the Pleasance, but there’s nothing particularly anything about it, just a warm vibe. Saw people I recognised and drank drinks with Company until a friend made the truly irate statement that he needed to go home.
‘It’s 3 AM! And I have to take care of myself!’
I conceded and we called it a night and walked back through the meadows to the shared accommodation we were to inhabit for the next few days. Edinburgh is and always will be a beautiful city.
10 AM every day of the festival The Company have a morning meeting. Managers discuss concerns over particular acts, Sophia expounds sales figures whilst the twelve Street Team murmurs, and the Head of Live stands behind a makeshift lectern dishing out orders. The Big Dogs just nod and look silently at one another. Press are always quietly and sternly smiling. I help out here and there, my main aim to encourage morale in the Street Team. They’re me last year. They’re working because this is an opportunity to gain a foothold in the Entertainment Industry; it’s a hard one to enter and even harder to fathom why you’d want to work in it once you’re in, but it is in the end alluring. Being in the Street Team is a boot camp. Yet stories are often quoted and passed down like legend through the ranks that Managers and even Company Directors started out as Street Team. So dream big. Or, quit early if you don’t have the mustard.
I paid my dues and said hello to a few comedians and friends of the company too, making a conscious attempt to remain professional yet friendly, containing any desperate desires to leap at those who I’m a fan of and tackling them to the ground with explicit questions about their gags. I didn’t do that to Tony Law or Gemma Wheelan or Lucy Beaumont. There was a hairy moment however at the Yahoo! Comedy Gala where I almost had a verbal fight with a Scottish woman outside, who had showed up late to the record and I wouldn’t let in because the audience was already full and Production were ready to start. After multiple shouts and excuses thrown from her side and me not backing down,
‘I was in a car crash! And I haven’t seen my son in over one year!’
‘I’m sorry but that’s irrelevant. I still can’t let you in.’
She tells me she is in fact the Producer’s mother. Fuuuuuck. I scramble about and get some bar stools and shove them at the side of the audience and let them in.