In just one week’s time I’ll be back in Edinburgh for another kick at the Edinburgh Fringe. You may remember last year’s encounter with the fringe as a thoroughly exhausting, and deeply rewarding experience.

And so, as August draws close yet again, I prepare to make another assault on the festival. Although there are some key differences in this year’s strategy.

Two shows
It’s not quite madness, but doubling the number of shows I’ll be doing might be silly, or it might just be brilliant. We’ll find out soon.

I didn’t want to abandon Roman Around. It’s a quality show, it got some good press, and I love doing it, so I’ve been polishing it up in preparation for another trip north for the Edinburgh Fringe. Due to the fact I’ve already done a bunch of previews I opted to go virtually preview-less this summer, save one excursion to Bedford this Saturday, for their Bedfringe.

I’ll also be doing Marbles, my two-man improvised comedy show. (It’ll actually be three-man, as we’ll be joined by our Funk Overlord Rob Grundel). I can’t say enough about how much I love working with these guys, and love the unpredictable nature of our show. It’s both relaxed and slick, and always thrilling to perform. We prostrate ourselves before the comedy gods, and the show goes wherever we’re blown. It’s pretty special.

Last year I was a lone wolf. I met people of course, and knew some people up there. But I went alone, performed alone, flyered alone, often ate alone, and went home alone every night to a bubble outside of Fringe mania. And to be honest, it was great. But this year us Marbles will all be rooming together. I expect our flat will be a hotbed of us doing bits, writing, rapping, cooking and generally hanging out having fun. Even though we’ve had a busy year getting Marbles to this point (regular monthly shows in London, gigs at other comedy events, an Edinburgh run…) the three of us don’t get to hang out all that much. So we’re all very much looking forward to that. What will result from rooming together for ten days? I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out.

Last year I was on the fringe hustle from June. This year, I’m slightly less so. I’m more ‘quietly confident’ instead of ‘giddily nervous’. Unfortunately, with thousands of shows seeking media and audience attention, quiet confidence won’t go far. Of course, I’ve sent out some press releases and have tried to get some people interested. But one show is a re-tread, and the other, well, people have no idea what a Marbles show is like, so it’s a tough sell to journalists. That means that while we’re in Edinburgh we’ll be pounding pavement and flyering incessantly. The question is: will that be enough? Let’s just say that I’m quietly confident that it will be.

Guest spots
Last year I did my 12:30 Roman Around slot and then had the rest of the day to myself. It usually involved a fair amont of flyering, a few shows, and possibly a nap. This year I’ll be doing a few ‘guest spots’ in addition to the regularly scheduled programming. Already I’ve got a guest improv spot lined up at Fingers on Buzzards – a global pub quiz/improv mash-up, a couple of slots (improv/stand-up) at Late, Live & Loud at the Electric Circus. There’s also a mad rap battle planned, where Marbles will attempt to verbally dismember Sanity Valve and the Beta Males. Shit’s gonna be real.

Whether other opportunities arrive or not, it’s always nice to have the opportunity to collab with other performers up in Edinburgh. I mean there’ll be like 15,000 comedians and performers, so why not?

Shows to see
Last year, I performed like a raconteur and meandered like a flaneur. This year, I’ve got an agenda. As I don’t usually go out in London unless I’m performing, there are a lot of shows of friends, acquaintances and friends of friends that I am quite excited about and want to see while they’re all lined up for me in Edinburgh. Such as Music Box, Max & Ivan, Cariad Lloyd, Fraser Millward, Casual Violence, Alex Horne, the Pappy’s trio, Cabaret Whore, Late Night Gimp Fight, The School of Night, Baby Wants Candy, Jingo & Butterfield, Delete the Banjax, Mr B. The Gentleman Rhymer, Lady Garden, Robin & Partridge. And many more. Will I be able to see all those shows as well as hang out and relax and flyer and stuff. No. Will I try? Yes. And I’ll also try to see some other shows from people I don’t know, or haven’t met yet. Setting comedy dials to ‘overload’…

It’s going to be a mad, mad time. Not unhinged fear and loathing, but a seething cauldron of creativity, comedy, inspiration, baked potatoes and beer. And it’s just one week away(!) If you want to stay regularly up to date on what’s happening, I suggest getting your Like button-clicking finger ready and go to Facebook (for Marbles and Roman Around). Or follow Marbles and/or me on Twitter.

Let it commence.