During my time on the bike I was lucky enough to fall in league with various circles, the police, the council wardens and the street performers all accepted me as one of their own, I was Kal, the paramedic on the bike.
The performers in particular adopted me, making jokes about me as I pedalled past their acts, nodding a greeting in passing. The fact that I patched a few of them up through the month probably helped as well.
Ringleader of the lot of them is Todd Various, a ginger bearded American with a wickedly friendly attitude to his audience. Whip-smart and one of the fastest improvisers I’ve ever met, I stopped to watch his show on at least a dozen times.
In the first week of September, once the Fringe had closed down and the streets were a little quieter, I was strolling up the Mile when I spotted Todd in suit and tie.
“You’re all dolled up today?”
“Oh man,” he began with trademark enthusiasm, “This guy wants to propose to his fiancee this morning and he’s asked me to hide the ring under one of the cups. It’s gonna be amazing.”
The news spread like SARS through the crowd and, by the time show time rolled around, every regular on the street: the performers, cops, wardens, stallholders and me knew what was going to happen.
We watched Todd flip balls in and out from under the cups until he lifted one.
A little green velvet box sat where, a second later, any spectator would swear we saw a tennis ball sitting.
“Does this belong to anyone?”
The proposer stepped forward, led his girl forward and knelt in front of a whooping, howling crowd.
(And she said yes!)
So was qualified my Moment of the Fringe.