Week 32: Never Meet Your Heroes

Friday 10th August 2018

Reading time 3 minutes 27 seconds 

Never Meet your heroes

I’m currently performing at the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Fringe. The scale is enormous as there are 3000+ performances that run each day, throughout August, and you can immerse yourself in the talent between 9am until 2am should you desire. I adore this festival but worryingly I have spent the first 5 days hunched over a laptop in my rented bedroom.

The reason. CrossFit. 

CrossFit is an American exercise phenomenon. Not a reaction to crucifixion. You will find numerous documentaries on Netflix and you won’t find a bigger fan than me. 

I don’t partake in the actual exercise, the so called CrossFitting, but I do like to watch those that do, and I also like to eat chocolate whilst doing it. Both are my guilty pleasure. The CrossFit games, the sports equivalent of the World Cup, is a yearly event that takes place at the beginning of August and last Sunday when I’d finished performing my Comedy show I was rushing home to my bedroom, and chocolate, as the final day of the games was on.

As I was set to leave one of all my all-time heroes walked into the venue, the comedian Mark Thomas.

I’ve seen him live more than any other performer and I’ve been a fan of his since his show ‘The Mark Thomas comedy product’ was on TV in the 90’s. I used to watch it with my girlfriend (at the time) but regrettably we inevitably split up but I’ve never left Mark.

I made a bold leap and nodded in his direction as he walked past me. When he nodded back I had to steady myself on a nearby chair as I think I may have swooned. As I’d been on stage 10 minutes before hand (it went well) I was still feeling that sweet adrenalin rush and when he walked past again I decided to be bold once more and I said “Hello Mark”.

The most amazing thing then happened, Mark Thomas spoke to me. The chair stopped my legs from buckling as I felt another swoon coming on.

He came over, formerly introduced himself and asked me my name. My mouth said “Mat” although my eyes said “I love you” but Mark was not fazed by this and as he stood there looking cool with the most amazing shirt, I may have let out a little bit of wee. 

We conversed about creativity, the festival, his loves (sadly one of which wasn’t me), what he was up to and what shows he should take the time to see (Spring Day’s Strong Independent Woman @ City Café 21:15 every day). I even took the mickey out of him and his crazy South London ways. We really were having a conversation. Me and Mark Thomas. THE Mark Thomas. The performer, activist, snappy dresser and most brilliant man I’d admired for over 30 years and the person I dreamed of emulating.

Whilst my brain was processing this amazing experience it suddenly screamed at me “CROSSFIT!” My brain knew I was mid conversation with my hero but it also knew the CrossFit Games final would be starting in 20 minutes. However I was 30 minutes away from my rented bedroom and chocolate. Dilemma.

Damn that Mark Thomas. Of all the bars in all of Edinburgh why did he have to walk into mine? This festival goes on for a month, couldn’t he have waited until tomorrow once the CrossFit games had finished? There was only one choice to make. I had to remove myself from the conversation immediately. Mark knew this as he could tell my brain had disengaged from the conversation. I then became a bit weird and needed to get away from him. He must have thought me strange because as I ran away he shouted out to me that he was going to take me up on my recommendations of shows to watch.

It was shameful. I had turned into Road Runner and had left Mark Thomas standing helplessly like Wiley E. Coyote with an Acme bag. Beep Beep.

Mark Thomas my hero. I should have never have met him and he most certainly should never have met me.

I now believe the leading quote was probably created by a hero who met a fan rather than the other way round.

Picture: My first 5 days in Edinburgh looked like this