Letter from Angela Barnes to the Angela Barnes of August 2014

It is August 2013. I am not at the Edinburgh fringe Festival. For the first year in a while, I am not partaking in any way in the event.

And it has been a revelation. A revelation that has caused me to write myself a letter. A letter to take with me to Edinburgh next year, to open when I am having my first, inevitable, breakdown of the Fringe. I mentioned on my Facebook page that I have done this, and people seem to think it is a good idea. So, I thought I would recreate the letter here, so that you may print your own copy to take with you to the Edinburgh Fringe. Or maybe you are there now, and this could be just what you need to hear. So, here it is…

Dear Angela 

Hello old bean. So, you’re up there and you’re doing it. Your first solo show at Edinburgh Fringe. Pretty exciting, well done you. Just in case you don’t remember me, I am you. You from 12 months ago. The you that decided not to go to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2013. Yes? Ah good, that could have been awkward if you couldn’t place me.

Anyway, I am writing because I can’t help feeling a bit worried for you up there, because I know what you are like. You’re a worrier, you let things get to you, and you blow things up to be bigger than they need to be. I am hoping that, by reading this letter, you will be able to reset yourself and get on with enjoying your Fringe.  Because lady, that is what you should be doing. Work hard? Yes. Give it your all? Yes. Have a nervous breakdown and fall out of love with the job you adore? No, definitely not.

So, I am here to remind you about something very important, something that you have to promise to keep in mind. And I am not just saying this to make you feel better. This is the absolute truth.  Ready?

NOBODY OUTSIDE OF EDINBURGH GIVES A FLYING FUCK WHAT IS HAPPENING IN EDINBURGH.  Now, Angela of 2014. You might find this hard to believe right now. Right now when all you can see when you close your eyes is flyers and flashes and stars. Right now when you haven’t had a single conversation in as long as you can remember that doesn’t involve the questions “how is your show going?”, or “Have the judges been in?” or “How are you doing for numbers?”.

The last few years I have been in Edinburgh, the outside world ceases to exist. That is understandable, when you are doing multiple shows everyday, you only have so much capacity. BUT, the world DOES still exist, it keeps turning, people have birthdays, people die, people argue, people go to the cinema, people do their jobs, they might go on holiday, they get parking tickets, they feed their cats, they accidentally put a red sock in the white wash. And, while they are doing this, A STUPIDLY TEENY TINY AND INCONSEQUENTIAL amount of them are thinking about you, your show, other peoples’ shows and what people think of them. NOBODY CARES.

Most people don’t know what a Pleasance Courtyard is, what a Loft Bar pass is, what a street team is, what “but it reads like a 4” means, or who Steve Bennett is.

I have been doing regular gigs all over the country this August, and, now Angela of 2014, this may come as a surprise, nobody I have seen during this time, who is involved in comedy, is even talking about Edinburgh and what’s happening up there. Even comedians, yes EVEN COMEDIANS, are just getting on with living their lives and doing their jobs. It is like the Fringe isn’t even happening. It barely crosses their mind that you are up there. And, you know what. THEY DON’T HAVE TIME TO READ YOUR REVIEWS – SO THEY DON’T!  I KNOW!

So Angela, here’s the thing. I know you are feeling stressed, and some child just out of nappies has written something that has made you cry, but it doesn’t matter. You are there, and you are doing it. Five years ago you wouldn’t have even entertained such a notion. How far have you come?!  And, you know what, if no one likes the show, it’s not because you haven’t worked hard on it. So, don’t look at your reviews. Do your show the best you can. And for Chrissakes try to enjoy it. What sort of masochist spends all that money to drive themselves to an early grave?  IT ISN’T WORTH IT.  Really proper shit is happening in the world. Your shit doesn’t matter. Screw it up in a ball, throw it away, go to MUM’S for some Haggis and get over yourself.

You’re doing a bloody Edinburgh Fringe show. That should be enough to be proud of to get you through.

REMEMBER – YOU ONLY HAVE TO GO A FEW MILES TO FIND WHERE THE GIVING A FUCK ABOUT IT ALL ENDS.

Now, go and enjoy your Fringe you silly bint. And treat yourself to a new frock, you deserve it

Lots of love 

Angela of 2013 xx