There was one more thing to see: a free film supposed to start at ten past midnight. If that was no good, or something I just didn't want to see, I could still get to a couple of other things.
But the previous act – I'm not sure who it was, but it wasn't the person in the listings – over-ran and then was more interested in counting his collection than getting changed and out of there. There were also some technical issues which meant it was nearer 1am when the film started and was revealed to be the My Bloody Valentine remake.
I hadn't actually seen that one, despite having the DVD, and the opening thirty minutes is entertaining if you like splatter films. But then the noise from outside – which idiots think that the open door to a cinema is the place for a loud chat in a venue with more private corners than many parliaments? – and some remaining technical issues meant that I left for bed early. (I've since seen the rest of it, and the first half hour is better than the rest…)
So, what did I learn?
1. I really have missed the Fringe and it's been far too long since I was able to do it. I've had a wonderful few days here.
2. There are some remarkably good female comedians out there.. Of the twelve things I rated four or five out of five, one was a large ensemble, four were by men and seven by women.
3. .. but they get much less attention than male ones. Even if you look at the 'pick of the Fringe' shows, they're mostly men.
4. The 'free fringe', particularly the original genuinely free one founded by Peter Buckley Hill, is fabulous. The people making most money out of the Fringe are not the performers, but by not charging performers or venues the PBH Free Fringe makes them more than most promoters. You feel a lot better putting money in a bucket rattled by them, because it goes directly to them. Plus as well as enabling the cash-strapped me to see so many things, it also means that if something really is not to your taste, you can walk out without thinking you'd spent a tenner on that piece of…
5. You cannot see everything. Or even everything good. I knew that already, but it doesn't stop me regretting not being able to see dozens of things. Some weren't on yet, some were too expensive, and some just clashed with too many other good things. Plus had I not skipped most of one afternoon to do a museum with a date, one evening to see the TV debate, and had a long lunch with another friend, I'd have been able to see more than 30 shows. (OK, 28 shows and too much of two others!)
6. As an audience member, you will get much more out of the Fringe if you don't just sit there. Join in.
Oh, at one point, the free film was possibly going to be Terminator 2, so…
7. I'll be back.