Here I am, at home at 1.46am on Thursday morning with work beginning at 9.45am. What I will now attempt to do is convey and express my thoughts and feelings of this rather tumultuous evening. Tumultuous to none outside my head no doubt, but inside there lay chaos.
It was the 5th anniversary of the Edinburgh Revue this year and we had a show to celebrate, a collection of sketches and stand up from years past, split into two sections, roughly correlating to the first three years and the last two. Now in actual point of fact I have been a member of the Edinburgh Revue (Comedy and That to those who were there) since September 2006. Four and a half years. One half year less than it’s entire existence.
Unfortunately when I say member, that term is rather loose. I discovered the Revue at Fresher’s Week 2006 with a flyer on the back of the comedy watching society (which I never attended…) and met with what seemed like incredibly scary people (who now include some very good friends of mine) in Dagda Bar at some point shortly after that. I was at the first show where the audience comprised mostly drunk homeless men someone had brought along and I think there was a very racist Asian stand up (called Tommy perhaps?). I did some sketches, some of which I wrote, not too long after that but then my gran died and the long term relationship I was in fell apart almost completely, which it had been threatening for a long time. So clearly I was in no mood for comedy. Hence I retreated.
I ended up behind the bar in the Canon’s Gait (the setting for tonight’s show, apt but heartwrenching in associations for me), filming from the sidelines, supremely jealous of those on stage, wishing to explore what I could do with them. But rarely talking to those people. Running away.
Come September 2008, having escaped from aforementioned long term relationship and meeting a new breed of Revue members (who now certainly include my closest friends) I began to perform sketches. And stand up. And go to Sheffield Comedy Festival. And be in A Big Egg at the Fringe 2009. And feel part of something.
Many wonderful things have happened since then. Who is Jean?, headlining the Revue, compering the Revue, We Happy Few and much more. All of this is because of that society and these people. And yet I cannot escape how sad tonight made me. Missed opportunities. Regret of who I should have been back then. Obsessively wondering why I rarely talked to those I admired on that stage in the Canon’s Gait, even when the material they performed was not to my taste, at least they were up there, they were doing it. And I wasn’t.
I have no legacy with the Revue. I have never served a committee position and never will. I have never given back what I owe. And that is everything to do with my comedy career, such as it is. And all of that was going on while I was trying to remember lines for sketches I was in tonight, while wonderful people were checking I was ok, hugging me, singing Disney songs with me.
I cannot truly express my regret at having to leave the celebrations to come home and sleep before work tomorrow. Leaving is all I ever used to do and it tore my heart to pieces doing that tonight. But I left with the feeling that those I said goodbye to knew me. And wanted me to stay. So perhaps that is the difference now. I’d better go before these tears make me write more. I am raw but open. Not closed. With friends but at home alone. A mess but neatly wrapped up in a blog post.
Thank you Edinburgh Revue for making and forming a me I can almost be proud of.