Edinburgh, the Fringe, why bother?
Many, many reasons… For a punter, I’d bother because – as the biggest and greatest arts festival in the world – it represents the pinnacle of human evolution.
We’ve come a long way as a bunch of particles since the Big Bang, and I think if you were to rewind to cave-dwelling times and show those Neaderthals some video footage of the singing, dancing, fancy dress and morethattakes place over the month of August then it would be a case of minds blown!.
For me, this year, I am ‘bothering’ because I feel dutybound to remind people of the intrinsic divinity that exists on multiple levels within each of us as human beings.
What have been the nuggets of inspiration behind your show this year?
I was reading a book about the human body a couple of years ago and looked at what occurs within the digestive with absolute awe. Then I realised that ‘I’ was doing that, and truly felt the miracle of the human body. I was drinking a lot of green juice at the time [apple, celery, lime, spinach, ginger].
Then I started seeing miracles every time I saw another person, then anmals, then flowers and trees etc.
This mindset caused me to leave The Sun newspaper [where I’d worked on-and-off for 10 year] and run for Parliament for The Peace Party in 2015, before moving to the Portuguese mountains to live as a healer a year later.
After yoga one day, while meditating, I felt an utterly overwhelming feeling of gratitude that caused me to ‘leave’ my body.
I knew in that moment that I had to return to the Fringe – after two summers off – to talk about the miracle of life and expose the utter madness of doubt, insecurity and self-consciousness, because, when you see what I see, it becomes very difficult to feel anything other than immense gratitude for every breath.
I know, beyond any doubt, that my mission on this planet involves reminding people about the intrinsically miraculous nature of their entire being.
Stand-out Fringe moment to date?
On a personal level, it was the culmination of a chat show called Tommy Talks at the Gilded Balloon four years ago.
For the final show I had Al Murray as the headline guest. A year prior to this I had been filming the extra features for his DVD, in which I produced a spoof French documentary Alastair Murray: Sous Le Veston [which translates as ‘underneath the jacket] that centred around the real Al’s turmoil in not receiving recognition for his own being, while people continue to believe the Landlord is real.
The spoof documentary was then shown during our live interview and we pretended it had been done for a French arts TV channel.
The incredibly niche and somewhat childishly deceptive in joke that was enjoyed in the above tale gets the nod for me. Plus it occurred during the last show of my run, so much stress could be let go of in that moment!
Aside from one’s own on stage experiences, I think seeing Terry Alderton’s solo show five years ago was my favourite. He was just staggering. I mean, not literally, he was actually walking perfectly adeptly.
When you wished a hole had opened up in the ground and swallowed you up?
Probably during said podcast chatshow about 4 years ago. I had to try and fill a 130-seater room at 11.45am. NOT an easy sell, but managed to get about 50 people in on the first Saturday morning to see an interview with Michael Winslow (the Police Academy sound effects guy) who was amazing, charming, funny, vocal… It was only afterwards that I realised I hadn’t hit the record button beforehand.
Your unsung heroes in the industry at current?
I would say Tim Renkow is one. He is a comedian with Cerebral Palsy who I shared a venue with the last time I was at Edinburgh. He is very insightful and has a lot to say. His show this year is called King Of The Tramps.
Bob Slayer has done wonderful things with his Heroes venture that has revamped some aspects of the festival.
Three shows you must see this Fringe?
Mark Smith: Old Smudge, Jack Barry: You Don’t Know Jack, Annie McGrath: The 7 Ages Of An
The one person you’d love to see your show and why?
I’d love Rupert Murdoch to come and see my show because I could show him a form of unconditional love that he may not have previously experienced during his time on this planet.
The reason why one should come and see your show?
I am a motivational speaker and stress management consultant who ran for Parliament last year after a decade working at The Sun newspaper.
For the past 6 months I lived on the side of a mountain in Portugal living in a wellness community, teaching Tai Chi, dispensing massage and training as a Crystal Healer.
In the show, I try to explain the above path, while continually reminding you that you are an absolute MIRACLE.
You will leave the show literally feeling amazing, thanks to breathing techniques, affirmations and mantras that you can take away with you to put in your ‘toolbox of wellness’.
I love you so much and while it may seem difficult to believe that through the written word and in the context of a comedy show Q&A, you will know it’s true when you experience the show itself.
The one thing in Edinburgh you must do?
Come to The Meadows [close to bit at the bottom of the road near Sainsburys] and join me for Tai Chi workouts on weekday mornings. I’ll aim to be there for 10am.
Ah sorry, you’re dead. But least you can have that dinner party you’ve always wanted. Who are you inviting?
First of all, no need to be sorry, it was probably my fault and came about through some heroic act like saving a cat from a burning building.
The dinner party would probably feature Archangels Raphael, Zaphkiel, Metatron and Michael, as I have a right old laugh when I’m with the four of them.
Michael is really good at ballet, has a fine singing voice and an infectious laugh. Great to have round the dinner table and makes a cracking series of healthy vegan cakes.
Metatron has strong will, is very encouraging and usually carries glow sticks in preparation for a health rave afterwards. Handy really, as Zaphkiel – typically regarded as an angel of compassion – is also a mobile DJ so brings the tunes for aftewards.
Raphael is the angel of healing and usually has a satchel full of ginger, which not only harbours anti-inflammatory properties but is also great for digestion, and would help Michael’s wonderful-yet-rich homemade bannoffee cheesecake go down.
Tommy Holgate: Man In the Middle at the Moriarty’s Bar Laughing Horse Free Festival 4th – 28th August 1.45pm.