At this stage, how closely does your programme blurb match the content of your show?
Excellent question, boring answer I’m afraid. I’m an old hand at the blurb game, see, so kept it deliciously vague this year. As a result, I’d say we’re nearly a 100% match, apart from my use of the word ‘betrayal’. Try as I might I couldn’t find any actual betrayal to put in the story of the show, so I’ve opted instead for betraying the audience’s hopes that it will be funny.
Who are you sharing a flat with and how will you help each other survive the month?
For a second year, I shall be lodging with a charming family in the New Town and so my flatmates will be two trailhounds and a tortoise called Philip, whom I shall be feeding as part of the rental agreement. Philip’s always a great shoulder to cry on when the Fringe gets tough, and sets a fine example for how to cope with life’s problems: if you’re feeling sad, why not eat another bit of lettuce or sleep for 10 hours?
Any shows you’re excited about seeing?
I think it’s going to be a vintage year, so tons! There’s quite a lot I’ve had to catch in preview because we have a time clash, but what I’ve seen so far of Jordan Brookes, The Pin, Sheeps and Tessa Coates looks amazing. I’ve heard tremendous buzz about Lazy Susan, Stevie Martin’s debut show, Alex Kealy and Rory O’Keeffe. But the big one is going to be Nick Mohammed’s ‘Mr Swallow and the Vanishing Elephant’. Oh man I cannot wait to see that. The content’s all very hush-hush at the moment, but I’ve seen the cage….
Other than the great shows, what else are you looking forward to about your trip to Edinburgh this year?
I had a year off in 2017 so it’s just going to be nice re-acquainting myself with all the old haunts. I’ve still got a record of 7 Arthur’s Seat climbs to beat, so wish me luck with that. Then there’s a series of beloved cafés, pubs and vegetarian restaurants to visit and, finally, the resumption of a decade-old tennis rivalry with Sheeps’ Al Roberts. We’ve gone to 5 sets before but I’ve never beaten him, so maybe this is the year…
The Fringe’s tagline this year is ‘Into The Unknown’. What do people not know about you?
I love being confined in tiny spaces: cupboards, boots of cars etc. I’ve a secret desire to be on a tube train or Eurostar that breaks down meaning I have to walk to safety through miles of unlit tunnels. Freak!
I’m bored of all the podcasts I currently subscribe to. Can you recommend me a good one please?
I don’t use podcasts. I can recommend BBC Radio 3.
Here’s a space to write about anything you want. Go for it.
Ah, nice. What you’ve done there is to create, in microcosm, the entire idea of the Fringe, or perhaps even the entire idea of artistic creation. A space in which to create anything; boundless and bare and but the creator wanting. What to make? Where to begin? A lifetime could be spent in fruitless contemplation of this space, and therefore what is always intriguing is the moment at which the first key is pressed, the first pen-stroke struck. At that instant, the vast field of possibility, the thousand dreams you had for what your show might be, all are shorn down into the merest slice of their potential. All of a sudden the show is about that word or letter you just wrote, it is confined within a shape as a dare-gale skylark scanted in a dull cage, and you have to plough on now because the programme blurb deadline is coming up in a week. Then the greater challenge is to proceed fearlessly beyond that barrier between limitless and limited, not to seek a nostalgic return to the former but to wrestle on with the latter until the shape of what you have made, small and flawed as all reality is, works. As Gaffer Gamgee says in Lord of the Rings:’It’s the job that’s never started that takes longest to finish.’
That’s a bit much, isn’t it? Were you looking more for like a ‘I’m on at 8.15 at the Pleasance’ kind of thing?
Kieran Hodgson: ‘75
Aug 1-26, 8.15pm