Control Fringe Freakery
One of the strongest odours at Fringe Festivals, especially at Edinburgh, is the odour of wilfulness. Control is everywhere – the reek of scheming and sideways glances. Comedians looking like hunted animals as they search for an original strap line to get you to see their shows, or to stand out amongst the uber-throng. Control and “strategy” are often adopted as the default way to not sink under the mass of competing bodies on the Mile or in Bristow Square.
Yet, it often takes failure at the Fringe for some folk to realise that letting go is sometimes a better strategy. Going with the flow can take you to interesting places and new connections and it really doesn’t need to be fueled by booze. A state of calm relaxation is a very good zone to find yourself in in August in Edinburgh, or indeed at any Fringe. Gentleness with yourself and others can actually be quite a powerful place. You see the world around you more clearly and you can enjoy yourself more. It’s also more healthy than the stress of having your pants hitched up your bum like a control-corset. Loosen the belt and smile a bit. But the control freaks won’t even do that properly. Commanding yourself to let go is the ultimate and most horrific act of control.
I think it’s important to try to be objective about yourself, especially if you have put yourself under the pressure to succeed. It’s all very well being a frenzy of strategy and “doing”. But actually, taking time out in a decent cafe to reflect, a walk to the top of Arthur’s seat and a bit of breathing and gentle reflection – these can give us insights into what needs to be done. It may sound new agey, but as soon as we let go, power does seem to come to us, as long as the letting go isn’t just another form of grasping at something.
So hey – gentleness. Make some space around you, and breathe a bit. And allow things to happen, be open to surprise and the unexpected as you lay your plans and set tactics for the month of August, or for this Fringe or that.