BODY COUNT IN EDINBURGH

Chuquai Billy

We ran into town on a rail,

Comedian grunts humping George Street like a Scottish Vietnam highland,

Eager and determined and fresh from home town preview shows like Marine Corps basic training

Teaching ourselves to survive in the competitive warzone that is the Edinburgh Fringe;

Dropping show bill leaflets to tourists caught inside a city-wide DMZ

Performers caught in the battle of hearts and minds

We fight the odds, and sweltering summer heat and unimpressed spectators

Praying to be noticed by the rivalling powers that be: TV network god of war execs camouflaged as fans

Meanwhile we watch our buddies get wasted one by one by amateur journalists,

Ambushed by Charlie Heckler in the second row, and witnessed by a student know-it-all word-sniper- record and send; nevertheless you bungee jump into the spotlight;

Egos and careers laying crushed and bleeding by the Royal Mile like rotting corpses in a Killing Field of self-esteem;

Three Weeks of Hell.

So we wear multiple necklaces of venue badges and VIP bracelets like ranks of fame as we collectively drink ourselves stupid networking with our peers.

We watch and laugh at the FNGs, fucking-newcomer-guys; you know the ones who are still counting the number of open mic gigs they do as they plead for a three minute spot like a crack addict begging for credit;

Looking to storm every gig, counting audience laughter like confirmed kills;

Rattling off material like M60 machine guns

Dropping jokes like napalm,

Believing they will be the next big discovery, but 3 or 4 shows a day now too exhausted to think, to be as funny as they should,

Hot monsoon showers soaking discarded flyers in the cobbled streets

Ink running like blood

Still they come, hoping to be hard-ass veteran celebrities after doing one or two or three tours of soul-crushing comedy in the North;

Then going back home to tell the tales of survival,

Tales of dying on your ass on stage,

Tales of colleagues, performers and former comedians obliterated by the reality of show-biz and now confused about what to do next.

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