The giant bar of Galaxy was more difficult to justify.

A much quieter day, a sort of non-day.

Woke up at 11:00 which I thought at the time was a kind of bonus (I’d thought I wouldn’t get conscious until the afternoon). Every action seemed to be negated somehow: I found that Peter Rowan had left a message with his real number (which I later tried and had obviously written it down wrong), went to a nearby cyber cafe to ask whether I could plug my powerbook into their phone socket, and was told yes (but when I went back later some snooty guy told me no I definitely couldn’t in a tone of voice that suggested he thought I’d asked to have sex with one of their PCs). No e-mail then. Went to the Cafe Royal to see if I could track down the keys to the flat, but Ian, the owner had only just come back from holiday (for which read “no”). Pete phoned to tell me I could have access to the flat. Tomorrow. Probably.

So maybe I should have stayed in bed after all.

After the e-mail debacle, I gave up and got more unhealthy food (Doner and chips – it’s a bad sign when the people providing you with the stuff look at you as though you are mad).

Actually, that’s what I’ve had most of – incredulous stares. Meanwhile, I’m getting grubbier and grubbier. I really need access to that shower.

Speaking of which (ish) I did have my first whiff of that authentic Edinburgh malty smell today (or thought I did) – I’m staying at Fountainbridge, near a brewery (and where Sean Connery came from, I seem to remember), and sometimes the smell sweeps over the city. It was a couple of years before I got the courage together to ask what that smell was. I mean, you don’t, do you?

I noticed shops have closed down since last year when I was perambulating this afternoon, and saw the first signs of people setting up the venues (people with wood and hammers outside Bedlam, at least), and checked out the new neighbourhood. We’re near a KFC and Holland and Barratt, for a real battle between junk and nutrition.

I justified tonight’s kebab to myself on the grounds that it contained salad, and thus vitamins, if you were wondering.

The giant bar of Galaxy was more difficult to justify.

Well, adonish.

Day one for me, day minus two for the fringe.

I estimate that I had three and a half hours of sleep last night. That sort of thing always lends a slightly surrealist edge to the day. Then I had to pack (there is a part of my brain that finds it difficult to accept that packing doesn’t just happen by itself – I should have been born aristocratic, I’m sure. I was kept awake last night by the conviction that if I didn’t get everything done right in the two hours after waking up the whole affair would be a disaster that I would never live down). As it is, I’ve only forgotten the fliers and mailing list cards, which Laura will hopefully post to me.

Ellie suddenly appeared at King’s Cross to give me keys, money to get the electricity going (enough, as it turned out, to get the main circuits on but provide no hot water) and instructions on how to do it. And then was gone again.

Four and a half hours on the train and then I fetch up in Ellie’s kitchen, watching some appalling game shows (such as one where the extended family play stupid games to win trips to theme parks for children) and the national lottery. Which I failed to win. Again. I noticed that every time the machine spews out a ping pong ball and the number is announced, the audience cheers. It struck me that these people are applauding numbers – “OK, ladies and gentlemen .. a warm welcome to TWENTY-THREE! Please give it up for… THIRTY-SEVEN!”. I assume that the next month won’t consist entirely of watching bad tv on a fuzzy black and white set, but right now time seems to stretch curiously – the train journey itself took about a week. By next Thursday it will seem like I’ve always lived here. I think Thursday is the preview for the Jeays extravaganza, and my first gig is on Tuesday (I had thought that the 29th was a Sunday).

Time, eh? It’s a bugger.

I got my commitment to healthy living off to a good start by looking for health clubs / gyms / leisure centres in the yellow pages (The gym around from here has been turned into a LazerQuest, which is an interesting social development, albeit one that helps me not a jot) and eating a pepperoni pizza, a large bar of Galaxy and a packet of chocolate digestives with caramel filling. Where those sprung from, I have no idea – is it a Scottish thing? Are they new (and if so, has anyone told NTK)? Am I (oh no!) eating experimental biscuits?

Are they safe?

(They’re caramel chocolate biscuits – of course they’re not safe.)

I did look around a health food shop – poked my head in the door and then decided to give it a miss. When I have relocated, I’ll get a giant bottle of vitamin pills as my initial contribution to The Flat (although I’m sure that Dave eschews vitamin pills in favour of actually eating nutritious food, which is dangerous, radical thinking if you ask me). I have also thought of renting a bicycle.

I’m not obsessed with health, you understand.

When I came up to Edinburgh the first time a few years ago, I was still drinking, and so entranced by the apparant lack of licensing hours. But that was only for three days. The following year, I came up for two three-day stretches, but this time I was dry and taken with the notion that I was the only sober person in a three-mile radius. Last time I was here for the whole fringe (August 4th to 29th, at least) and realised that, were I to still have that initial enthusiasm for inebriation, I would have been dead by Fringe Sunday. This time I come up during July to find the sun shining (thus confirming my suspicion that the Edinburghians suspend summer for the duration of the festival – I haven’t been here in such fine weather since 1977) and stay for exactly a month. By next year I’ll probably be living here (actually not, I think that would be A Dreadful Mistake – you occasionally meet people seduced by the festival into thinking that Edinburgh was a year-long laff-riot. It gets cold enough in August – God only knows what February’s like). I want to stay fit this year – or at least, as close to fit as I get.

If I had exercised as hard in my early twenties as hard as I do in my mid-thirties in order to hopefully stay only mildly chubby, I’d have been an adonis. Well, adonish.

When Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome finishes (or when I become bored with it, whichever is the sooner), I’ll go to bed. I have an appointment with unconsciousness I’d like to keep.