Good news, I arrived safely and am now in the middle of the most exciting jet lag of all time! I'm so happy to be here! This city is gorgeous! Why does my body hate me?
The 36 hour trip to London was exactly as much fun as the latest Superman movie (make of that what you will). I would like to give a special mention to Hong Kong Airport, for making an 11-hour overnight layover in an airport as nice as it possibly could be.
Fun fact: Hong Kong airport was voted the Best Airport To Sleep In, which means it just scrapes in near the bottom of the list for the 17 Million Best Places To Sleep (Number one on that list is "a bed").
After a quick night in London, where I saw and talked exclusively with other New Zealanders, because that's what we do in the UK, I made my way up to Edinburgh for the eagerly anticipated reunion with my FanFiction friends.
I was bright eyed and bushy tailed, while they matched my enthusiasm with their lethargy and impressively thorough exhaustion.
They are 1½ weeks deep into the festival, so they know what's up.
I, on the other hand, am like a shiny new country boy arriving in the big city with a song in my heart and youthful naivety that has not yet been touched by the crushing reality that is Flyering.
Oh Flyering, the necessary evil.
On my first day, three hours before my first show, I was handed a stack of Flyers to pass out to punters. Which seems easy enough, right? An enjoyable amble through the streets of the city, charming strangers as you go, maybe even making some new friends along the way.
But then you quickly realise there are about 1000 other people doing exactly the same thing in your immediate vicinity. And it's a battle. Like packs of hungry wolves sniffing out potential meals, we move through the masses of hypothetical audience members, shilling our wares, pleading our cases, smiling, always smiling, so much smiling, through the almost constant rejection.
Then you do it again the next day. And the next. And every day til the end.
Flyering is an essential part of taking an unknown show to Edinburgh, because it's one of the few ways you can directly control people finding out about you. Everything else is up to chance, word of mouth, and reviews. Reviews help. Especially five star reviews. Did I mention that we got one of those? Well we did.
As soon as that review was printed, the audience numbers started to increase. For the very first show of the festival, my friends performed to five people. Now we are consistently getting near full houses (it's a 70-seat venue). That's a remarkable thing, and I feel like I'm cheating a bit by jumping in right when it's starting to get good. We can't rest on our laurels though, because everyday is a new skirmish, and you can't afford to take your foot off the accelerator.
Or at least that's what we tell ourselves at the start of each day's Flyering shift.
Now that I'm settled in the city, and the show has found it's feet, I can look around with more clarity (my room exists! It wasn't a scam, which is great. However I am sharing the flat with a large, attention hungry Husky named Tiberius). I can start seeing sights, shows, and the inside of bars. Because that's what this festival is about: being completely taken over by the city.
I won't touch the outside world again until September, and I am more than okay with that. It's easy to be devoted to something when it makes you feel so good.
Yes, even you, Flyering. I will learn to love you, too.