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It's time again for another lesson in English as a Fourth, Fifth or Sixth Language.
         This I generally do by offering you lots of different versions of one phrase, such as "I'm not feeling well", " I think I'll take the day off" or "I have to go to my granny's funeral again"...
         But a reader has now written to me suggesting that I should try something a bit more specialised, like teaching people lots of different phrases for something current like "I don't think I'll be going to the Edinburgh Festival this year". Phrases like "Edinburgh Festival? I'd rather suffocate on the Northern Line"
         No sooner said than done.
         Here are as many phrases as we can fit in meaning the same as, "What's the point of going north and paying through the nose to sit in cramped conditions and watch a comedian we can see in comfort any time in London?"

        
Edinburgh?
Been there, done that.
Last year I made a promise.
Never again.
Can't be arsed.
Hassle.
Going downhill.
Not what it was.
Stand-ups taken over.
Money men taken over.
London on the Forth.
Racket.
Avalon.
Queue for tickets.
Sold out.
Restricted view.
Gilded Balloon at midnight.
Just the one.
Just the one more.
OK, but this is the last....
Look, isn't that Billy Turner over there at the bar?
Who ?
Billy Turner.
Who's he?
You remember.
No, I don't.
He should have won the Perrier Prize in 1994.
Why didn't he?
Nobody voted for him.
I see.
But he got his own TV series.
Right.
Then he did a world tour.
Right.
And now he's back on the Fringe.
In the same old venue?
No. He's doing a one-night stand for two thousand people at the Playhouse.
Right.
But that's what the spirit of the Fringe is all about.
You mean...?
Starting as a young hopeful on the Fringe....
Making it big in London...
Coming back to Edinburgh to cash in...
And be buggered to all the new young hopefuls on The Fringe!
Right ... Another drink?
No thanks. I've got to get up in the morning, feeling dreadful.
Oh, ma heid.
Never again.
Six to a bed.
Empty fridge.
Smell of socks.
Who's got the milk?
Deja bu.
Never again.
I'll go out and get some soft rolls.
And The Scotsman.
For the reviews.
"The welcome return of Roger McGough..."
Jesus.
Not you again.
Deja vous.
Twenty years at the Fringe.
And never seen the Tattoo.
Arthur Smith.
Arthur's Seat.
Arthur's jokes.
Arthur's feet.
Water of Leith.
Harry Hill.
If he's no awa',
Then he's here still....
You know, I saw Frank Skinner's very first Fringe show!
He was crap.
The trouble with the Fringe is...
The trouble with the Perrier is...
The trouble with the Pleasance is ..
The trouble I'm having with my feet...
The cobbles.
Princes Street.
Nowhere to park.
It's trying to rain.
It's succeeding.
Beyond its wildest expectations.
I won't be sorry to leave.
Waverley Station.
Road to England.
See you next year?
You must be joking!

 

The Independent Wednesday Aug 8 2001

 

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© Caroline Kington