I AM breaking off from a different type of furious, frantic writing to pen this column for you, beloved reader. It’s mid-July; August bellows and beckons its imminent approach. In an over-lit, non-air-conditioned room for 28 of those 31 days, at a quarter past five, I will spend the ensuing hour wearing a suit, a tie and a freshly-tied turban. For those 60 minutes, those 3,600 seconds, I will endeavour to effortlessly entertain a motley and marvellous miscellany of ticket-buying punters who (for some reason) have bestowed their hard-earned cash and precious Fringe time upon me.

My show, Alternative, Fact will mark my ninth year at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. I’ve never really regarded myself as a true stand-up. (I’m sure there are a few disgruntled punters that might feel the same!) Growing up on an undiluted diet of Billy Connolly, the greatest living storyteller of our time, I was always more inclined towards the shaggy dog than the crafted punchline. For the first five years, I delivered various versions of a curry, cooking and comedy show. Latterly I have eschewed the cocoon of the kitchen and exposed myself completely as just a man, a mic and his mind.

Having attempted to regale the paying public with shows about falling in love in middle age (Hardeep Is Your Love), my inability to keep my gob shut (Bigmouth Strikes Again) and last year’s Mixtape: My Life Through Music, I've chosen a subeject for this year’s show that was as self-evident as it was inescapable. How could I stand on stage in 2017 and not address the state of world politics?

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Not only was this an inexorable expression of what has consumed me since I was a boy, my lifelong fascination transformed into an all-consuming obsession since the Scottish referendum; I am compelled to address the myriad mess, the shocking shambles, the profound pandemonium underpinning our politics. I also thought it was a rather canny marketing ploy; I mean, how many Fringe acts dedicate their entire Edinburgh run to politics? Next to none. The competition is bound to be negligible. And then …

Last week it was announced that former First Minister, Alex Salmond, would be unleashed at the Fringe for the first time. Alex Salmond Unleashed is billed as a mix of comedy, music and political reminiscence, including chats with celebrities from the world of politics, sport and show business. (Rather pointedly, I have yet to be asked. He must have my old email address.)

I have to confess that rather than feel the heat of competition I welcome the presence of the bonnet of bonnie big Eck. In many ways his presence epitomises all that the Fringe is about.

For many, the Fringe is a comedy festival and nothing more. Yet that couldn’t be further from the Fringe spirit. The founding fundament of the Fringe was to be an open festival to celebrate all the performing arts. This was in sharp contrast to the official Festival, a cultured and carefully curated collection of the world’s very finest artistic output. The Fringe was always meant to be the renegade, anarchic wee sister, the wee sister that took risks, embraced failure and discovered brilliance.

Doubtless, comedy and stand-up have come to dominate the Fringe; I’ve witnessed some amazing shows. But the joyous gems, the discovered delights are often theatre pieces, experimental dance works or hour-long extravaganzas that defy formal definition. And our former First Minister is the perfect candidate to exude that spirit, that energy.

There is another point I have alluded to on these august pages in the past. I could not be prouder of the fact that the world’s biggest arts festival alights annually on our capital city. The population swells to double its size as the world comes to the most beautiful city on the planet (the bonus being that it is but a 48-minute train journey to the greatest city on the planet).

Much as I love this cosmopolitan cavalcade of culture, this multinational meeting of minds, I do often feel that the host country, Scotland, isn’t always as well-represented as perhaps it should be. Love him or loathe him (and it seems no-one holds the middle ground with the big man) I am very excited about someone of the stature of Salmond being part of the Fringe. Even though he hasn’t invited me on ...