Taking Notes: Failing to flirt myself freebies on the Fringe.

Today, just in case you have been in a coma and have thus far failed to realise, is the first official day of the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Of course it has actually been running for two days already (can anyone explain to me why they plan the event to run for minus days?), but the 6th is what is listed on the front of my Fringe Bible so who am I to disagree!

Predictably, I am already close to filing for bankruptcy, so on the two main preview days I set myself the task of trying to flirt myself some free tickets. It worked well enough last year – I flashed a quick smile at a boy giving out flyers and before I knew it I was sat in a cosy theatre watching a musical that wasn’t half bad for nothing. I thought it would be a similar doddle this year, as the Royal Mile is always awash with theatre groups giving out comps to bolster early audiences and generate that valuable needed word of mouth. How wrong I was.

I do not like failure. Almost as much as I do not like feeling that I am an unattractive or undesirable audience member. But my recent experiences have made me feel all of the above. I have tried everything to get myself a free ticket – smiling at men with flyers, smiling at women with flyers, taking every sodding flyer handed to me in the hope that one would lead to a complimentary ticket. I have loitered aimlessly in the sun and the rain and I have watched in despair as countless other people have been given free tickets all around me. I thought about taking matters into my own hands and just going along to one of the many free shows at the Fringe, but my pride was already dented and anyway it’s not exciting going for free if everyone else has done the same. The only thing I haven’t done is asked someone for a free ticket. I’m English: I may be broke but I still have my dignity.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Maybe fewer companies are giving out free tickets this year, because apparently there’s a recession on. Maybe I have a look about me that screams unapproachable or, worst, critic. Anyway, I planned to tell you all about how I flirted my way into a fabulous show and how you can all do the same, so I’m sorry for letting you down. If anyone else has had more luck than I have then kindly share your secrets – it might be the only way I can re-build my self-esteem.

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