Room for a Laugh with Tom Taylor: Festival time in Edinburgh

Harrogate's Tom Taylor is performing at the Edinburgh Fringe. Picture by Steve Ullathorne
Harrogate's Tom Taylor is performing at the Edinburgh Fringe. Picture by Steve Ullathorne

I am currently writing to you from the weathery city of Edinburgh. I say ‘weathery’ because ‘rainy’ would be misleading. A Scottish summer consists of every weather condition doing its thing at some point every hour.

This makes forecasting redundant. Monday will not be rainy, Tuesday will not be dry with sunny spells and Wednesday will not be snowing. On Monday it will be weathery. Tuesday, also weathery. Wednesday? Yes, weathery. Tomorrow’s forecast? There will be weather so make sure you pack snow boots, galoshes and flip flops.

I am up here for all of August, for the festival, staying in a flat which has cost me the same as a lengthy cruise around the Bahamas. Additionally, the flat is barely in Edinburgh.

But this is festival time where we adopt a football monetary system and discard sense, reason and logic. Hmm? What’s that? Our budget hotel rooms are usually £25 a night. Not in August mate, this is the festival. £219 please. For four nights? No, no, no. Check out is tomorrow at 9am.

I must not grumble though for the flat’s accommodation is a major improvement on the living arrangements at my first Fringe when I stayed in a hostel come B&B where everything was nailed down but for the sheets and biscuits.

There were, however, no ladders for the bunk beds - as obviously these were deemed too tricky to nail down – so any available body part recumbent on the lower bunk was fair game with the contours of the face making pretty nifty footholds.

In my second year I stayed in a three (double!) bedroomed flat with twenty-one other budding comedians, improvisers, actors and drifters from my university’s comedy society.

My spot was on the kitchen floor which prevented me from going to sleep until people had finished eating their deep-fried dinners around 2am before being awoken at 6.30am when the one healthy guy made his pre-jog celery smoothie using what sounded like a chainsaw.

He continued this routine even after I had suggested that he would surely get as much nutritional content from a glass of water. And a good deal more enjoyment.

I am performing two shows this year - The Game’s a Foot, Try the Fish, my one-man murder mystery, alongside a stand-up compilation show in a small DIY sauna at the back of a pub/fire risk.

There is only one very small door in and out of this incredibly hot wooden box which is inconveniently situated at the furthest point from the stage.

I mean, I say stage; performance area would be the more accurate term, small performance area or area of wooden floor not haphazardly packed with wooden chairs. Seriously, why is everything made from wood in this room? My fire science is a bit rusty – I remember something about a triangle – but I’m convinced that if I sneeze too violently the whole place is going to go up in flames.

I have suggested to the venue that they reorientate the room and place the stage next to the door so I am in a strong position to safely oversee any necessary evacuation.

They haven’t taken me up on the idea yet – I even drew plans – and, oddly, they seem to run out of performers’ free drink tokens as soon as I arrive.

l Tom Taylor’s one-man murder mystery ‘The Game’s a Foot, Try the Fish’ is on everyday until Saturday, August 27 at theSpace @ Surgeons’ Hall, Edinburgh.

Gag Reflex Presents also takes place everyday until Sunday, August 28 at the White Horse.

Sitting Room Comedy Club returns to the St George Hotel, Harrogate from its summer break on Wednesday, September 14 with a headline set from Sitting Room favourite Nathan Caton (Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week) and strong support from Angela Barnes, Jonny Pelham and MC Alex Boardman.

Tickets and more information are available from the venue or

Tom Taylor tweets at