Portrait of the autist


I have a line in one of the poems from my show about how I score high on the Autistic Spectrum, which I’m aware sounds like an eighties computer that refuses to network with other computers.  Doing an Edinburgh show can be pretty challenging for those who are of a Geekier persuasion. Reviews unfailingly mention my warmth and friendliness on stage but the bits of my brain that mean I can rhyme quickly and make poetic connections when doing topical news poems for Radio 4 (and Fest Magazine) seem to short circuit in some social areas. I am terrible at recognising faces. (A condition called Prosopagnosia, fact fans). This turns out to be not very useful for flyering. A couple can wander round a corner after I’ve flyered them, then come back towards me and I’ll immediately try flyer them again. I recognise most people by their hair or clothes or walks.  People in uniforms are not good. I’ve found this in schools, and also a bit with Gilded Balloon staff in identical T shirts. I tend to greet everybody as if they’re my long lost sibling- in case they are. Today I thought a man in my audience looked like Nicholas Parsons- this turned out to be because he was Nicholas Parsons.

I like socialising to a degree, but then also need alot of quiet so have become adept at finding Edinburgh’s gentler places. An afternoon trip to the pathology museum off Nicolson Road was very relaxing today- there was a large willy pickled in a jar and an exhibition on the patron saint of Aspergic people- Sherlock Holmes. I drink lots of quiet teas and have been recharging my batteries by watching Masterchef.  Still, I’m gathering data for my next Edinburgh show, which this year’s experience has confirmed should be called; “A Portrait of the Autist As a Young Woman”

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