Magazine article The Spectator

Culture Notes: Surviving the Edinburgh Fringe

Magazine article The Spectator

Culture Notes: Surviving the Edinburgh Fringe

Article excerpt

And they're off. The mighty caravan of romantic desperadoes, radical egoists, stadium wannabes, struggling superstars and vanity crackheads is on its way to Edinburgh. This year's Fringe sponsor is Virgin Money, which must be some kind of in-joke because most performers spend August watching their life savings being ritually despoiled by landlords, press agents and venue owners. Five years back the Fringe was ready for a gastric band when it grew to more than 2,000 productions. This year it glides past the 3,000 mark and it seems determined to maintain its place as the most cluttered congregation of twits and pipe-dreamers on the planet.

It's also, of course, the world's greatest arts festival and because there are no barriers to entry there's no quality control. Every year fresh loons arrive who give themselves zero chance of finding a crowd because they think the crowd is desperate to find them. …

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