A Sort of Homecoming

In too deep and not to be moved. Photo: Robert JohnsonThe Munich Eye's intrepid reporter Robert Johnson was in Edinburgh to attend and cover the biggest English Language Theatre Festival in the world. Follow him here exclusively at the Eye.

Gentle reader, thank you very much for tuning in to this last dispatch of what was hopefully a successful run of columns, interviews, and on the spot updates from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoyed doing it. Here follows the last update from the Fringe. Rather than editing it for clarity, we have left it as is-a stream of consciousness. This is a testament to the mental duress one experiences at the end of a month at the Fringe. For those capable of multitasking, this article has been written with U2's "A Sort of Homecoming" running on repeat for 48 hours. If you can, listen while you read for the fully immersive experience.

 

And you know it's time to go...

These things move so fast. As soon as it started, it seems the Fringe 2012 is over. For this participant it was a month of extreme highs and lows. The Eye met Prince Phillip, the consort of Queen Elizabeth II, only to be hastily rebuffed and bundled out of the Coach J by polite but vaguely threatening security services personnel. David Hasselhoff gave greetings to Munich and the Eye, only to withdraw his promised interview at the last minute due to scheduling conflicts.

Those were the journalist lows. The highs made it all worthwhile. We have interviews in the bag with Christian Schulte-Loh, Otto Kuhnle, Henning Wehn, Alice Frick, The Berlin English Comedy Scene, Swiss based German Magician Tom Lauri, and last, but certainly not least, the ineffable Paco Erhardt. These will be coming to you in print starting next month. And to make matters even better, it's a possibility that the Eye might be able to talk to Michael Mittermeier to finish off an interview series with literally the finest comedy that the German speaking world has to offer. Regardless of the Prince Phillip's rebuff and the Hoff's impenetrable wall of petrified press and PR protection, we have brought back the goods. And the Eye will offer all of these interviews in print, nationwide, come September. Stay tuned folks. It's going to be a great interview series.

Great view. This train and I need a hot shower. Me more than the train. Photo: Robert JohnsonAcross the fields of mourning to a light that's in the distance...

The artistic side you may ask? That is an entirely different ball of wax. We took two shows to the Fringe Festival. They were both good shows, albeit wildly different. Dachau Guide never failed to move the people who came to see it. Those few, those happy few... Unfortunately, there were not many of them. The show was plagued by a very poor location choice on the part of the production company's selection committee and a lack of any kind of press support from the Spoken Word arm of that same organization. It was, in the words of fellow participant Billy McGuire, "Behind an obstacle course, past a construction site, over a wall and down in a pit, next to a decrepit gay bar. How was anyone supposed to find it?" How indeed? But, the show was reviewed. At present, we are waiting for final score. A good review might make the lack of audience response worth all the trouble.

And you hunger for the time...

Doom! the Musical has slightly better crowds and far better reactions. The bucket was not always full, but the show made enough to pay the fee to the production company. On the last night, the show ran twice, as the brilliant Vancouverite Byron Bertram had to bow out of his final slot to accompany his girlfriend to the hospital. Thankfully it was nothing but a little exhaustion. This left an open spot and Doom! filled the gap. It was truly a shame. Bertram's show has been called "brilliant" by no less than Dame Judy Dench. This reporter has also seen Bertram's show, and Judy is right. If it's still a free show next year, it would be a scandal. Maybe Bertram can bring that show to Munich someday. Speaking of which, we will be organizing at least a one off viewing of Doom! here in Munich. Stay tuned for Doom!.

And your earth moves beneath your own dream landscape...

Sometimes the best things come unlooked for. The best parts of the festival for this reporter were the people. Not just the interviewees, but most of the people who stopped to talk, even for a moment. We flyered the Archbishop of Canterbury who was very kind, although in a hurry. We met Geophysicists from NASA who study volcanoes in outer space and "homeless" students from Nottingham University who were following in the steps of George Orwell. We were insulted in the worst way from the stage of the Itsy cabaret by good friends who went too far. A final tribute before a final parting without goodbye. Paul Langton taught the Eye the meaning of reliability. Squaddies on the street stopped to have a lightsaber battle during flyering. Our landlady was an absolute peach who baked her own bread. There was so much. We met a stand up comic from Tipperary named O'Mahoney who will surely be at the top of his field, as well as Byron Bertram who cannot stay an ingénue forever. Demitris Deech (review pending) showed the Eye how to properly belly dance in true Greek style. Yep. It was the people who made it special.

Dislocated, suffocated, the land grows weary of its own...

A return to Itsy Cabaret was most welcome. Thrice, this reporter took the stage and battled through. A permanent break with James from Fat Kitten Improv has become necessary after insults of a most profane and unnecessary nature were hurled from the stage. But some things can simply not be allowed, even with proper attempted amelioration. After show drinks with trusted sources revealed that it is very possible that PBH's Free Fringe may well disallow Burlesque in the future. Who knows what may come? Free Fringe sans Burlesque? A post feminist nightmare if there ever was one.

A very sad umbrella. Reminds me of my own little girl. Great to be home. Photo: Robert JohnsonAnd still we run, we run and don't look back...

Professionally, this performer managed not just one but two shows at the world famous Underbelly. Spank! is a place of legendary comic showcasing. It's also the closest thing to the inside of the Thunderdome that you will ever see. Twice, this reporter took to the stage and literally destroyed the opposition. Once, completely naked (video pending). For this Grecian feat of Frei Körper Kulture, this reporter has been named a "Spank Legend." Legend is fine for a title if it brings more paid work. But we'll take it. The second show came late and with very little notice. Afterwards there were final pints with Mr. James Nisbet, as fine a pub owner and patron of the arts as has ever existed. But the train leaves at 9 a.m. and it's 5 a.m. and we haven't packed yet...

I'll be there, I'll be there tonight, tonight...

Twenty one hours on the train before this reporter is home. And no sleep for the previous 48. It's going to be a challenge. Oh British Rail, if only you worked. Even occasionally would be sufficient, but the train breaks down in Doncaster. It takes 45 minutes to realize that the front suspension is not reparable. Perhaps the flames and smoke would have been a hint?

There was a 50-minute window to make the connection at St. Pancras. Why Lord, why? No matter, stiff upper lip and make the best of it and "Run, Forrest, Run." The Eye literally made the train with one minute to spare. It was a hike up the stairs, but three weeks in Edinburgh have turned me into the king of the hill people. I literally sprang up the steps with 70 pounds of gear. Please pardon a brief use of the personal pronoun. Why the rush? My daughter is waiting. My Frau is waiting. I.AM.GOING.TO.MAKE.THIS.TRAIN. Did I mention that I can't sleep on trains...

On the side of a hill as the valleys explode...

And now back to Munich, and lo and behold, this reporter's apartment is 70 some odd metres from a recently discovered bomb from the Second World War. As if the loss of the nastiest dive bar in the city to luxury apartments wasn't bad enough, the Schwabinger 7 was sitting on a 500-pound bomb with a booby trapped chemical fuse. So welcome home favoured son! We're evacuated for the duration...

Last night, the 28th of August, while my apartment was still empty, my child was safe but unable to leave her grandparents' apartment and my Frau and I took shelter behind a concrete barrier while a post script from the World War arrived on our doorstep and roared into the night sky. Afterwards, people cheered, and the city returned to peace, the direct opposite effect of the bombings of 70 some odd years prior. And now we get to go home. All of us. Together.

Monday's arrival was only a sort of homecoming, and today will be the real thing. And now, gentle reader, we come to the end of this chapter. Whether you have been here since the beginning or are just joining, thank you for reading these updates. Stay tuned for the print interviews. It will be so good to see you all.

Oh don't sorrow, no don't weep...

For tonight at last I am coming home.


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