ED2010 BEST BITS: ”Help! I’m experiencing Fringe overload, I can’t do any more shows / see any more shows / tech any more shows / sell any more shows / falsely promise to buy tickets for any more shows without a moment to chill”. Fear not, Tom Allen is on hand with some tips on how to relax in the Festival City.
1. Take tea at the Balmoral Hotel. There’s something so soothing about nibbling scones underneath a potted palm while some old cow plays ancient songs on a harp (Gershwin, Cole Porter, The Prodigy), and the Balmoral does all those strange teas which are so more fun to say than to drink – Lapsang Souchong is my favourite. And it’s not just about what you’re consuming, it’s about the message you’re sending to yourself: “I am worth taking time over, I am worth a treat!” Because my loves, as Cheryl has taught us, “you are worth it”: Isn’t that wonderful? As soon as you walk in you’re immediately swooshed away from the hustle bustle of the fest and the people playing panpipes outside the hotel and sent back in time – it feels like stepping into an Agatha Christie novel (hopefully without the murder).
2. Go round the John Lewis towel department. Colour co-ordinated pastel shaded fluffy towels! What could be more calming?! Go on, lay your face against them when no one’s looking, I won’t tell. Don’t it feel nice hmm? And the staff are so knowledgeable and nice (you must’ve seen the documentary, it is a co-op after all!). I think that sometimes, in the midst of the mania of running from show to show – from chip shop to gin palace – it’s nice to be reminded of the real world – and what an ordered world it is with John Lewis in it. Kitchen appliances can be very calming too, the very pinacle of human achievement is that we no longer have to chop herbs. Oh and the lighting department – such a rare thing to see electricity celebrated in tastefully simple lamp shades. The store’s also useful if it rains, apart from providing shelter, you’ll need those towels just to dry your barnet fair!
3. Buy a trampoline. It feels like swimming, but in the air! And you can keep your clothes on. It’s the nicest most jubilant thing ever (unless near the edge of a cliff). It’s a great way to let off steam and great exercise too, for burning off all those chips you’ve been stuffing in your gob. It’s just bouncing! In an ideal world I’d do it somewhere very scenic like the shore at Portobello. The sea air will put the colour back into your cheeks (facial cheeks) and you’ll feel all refreshed. And you’ll be surprised at how strangely pensive it can be, flying through the air seeing farther afield than anyone else. You’ll be able to reflect on everything you’ve seen and how it’s made you feel, before you plunge yourself back into the Festival and the emotional bounce of my show, 7.30pm at the Gilded Balloon. Towels are not provided.
Tom Allen’s show ‘Toughens Up!’ was performed at Gilded Balloon Teviot during Fringe 2010.