Robin Ince returns to the Edinburgh Fringe with two brand new shows, “Chaos of Delight” and “The Satanic Rites of Robin Ince”

This Sony award winning comedian is renowned for his fast paced, smart and funny shows where he packs so much into an hour long show the audience comes out exhilarated and slightly reeling. His two new shows are bound to be similarly frantic.

He told me about his upbeat and optimistic fringe show ‘Chaos of Delight’ : “The show is inspired by Darwin’s comment that his mind was ‘a chaos of delight’ when observing the previously unseen creatures and flowers of the rain forest, but then we go off on tangents as usual. It has bits of physics, psychology and plenty of stupid stories from my own life and others.

It is an attempt at a celebration of human possibilities and a shirking of the melancholy and terror which surrounds us when we tap into the media. It is partly inspired by the book Factfulness and Hans Rosling’s word – Possibilism – he wrote that he was not an optimist but a possibilist, evidence of advances showed that a better world for human beings really is possible and we have been progressing towards it, let’s not slip back. “

Ince is well known for being a bridge between art and science. I asked him if the popular belief that we are science people or arts people and have formed two separate cultural camps is an entirely artificial construct?

“I think some people think there are different forms of brains, science-y or arty, but in the end, we are all curious if given the right tools and the right inspirations.“

Generally of an upbeat disposition despite the current political climate, I ask if his latest show will encourage us to remain optimistic and curious about the world around us.
“We have to make sure we haven’t given up” He continues “All the time, I meet inspiring people changing people’s lives for the better, how dull to be the pessimist who sits at home, does nothing and proudly states, “see, I told you we were going to hell in a handcart”

Ince’s second fringe show is the Satanic Rites of Robin Ince , which he describes as “celebrating the horror films and stories that were my solace as a misfit child.”

Concerned for the safety of Fringe-goers I ask if there will be actual human sacrifices? Ince reassures me “There will be no sacrifice during the show, the volunteers for the satanic altar will be taken to Greyfriars Kirkyard some time later. “ Good to know.

Intrigued by this youthful fascination with the spooky I asked him why horror stories caught his imagination as a child. He explains “I bought my first book of horror when I was eight – Alan Frank’s Horror Movies – a core text for The League of Gentlemen too. It was full of images of frozen Nazis, skeletal zombies, screaming vampires and Boris Karloff. It was how I learned left from right. I knew my Lugosi from my Karloff before I knew which shoe was which, so if the book said “left, Karloff in The Isle of the Dead” I realised which was which. “

He continues “The written word will undoubtedly create the most spooky and I think helps prick the imagination and make it breed and grow.“

Clearly something about this early foray into the world of the spooky and supernatural did foster his imagination. This may go some way to explain his choice to spend his life creating and performing comedy rather than a more conventional career. “Most of the horror nuts I know were the outsider kids, rarely was horror something that appealed to those who were picked first for games and the alpha males of the playground. There is something about strange turns of imagination that appeal to children who don’t fit in the world as it is. Our fears of death and what may lurk in the shadowy corners of the cellar are all part of the excitement of human imagination, a fun game of “I know it is a pigeon trapped in the attic…I think I know…but what it could it be?”

Still taken by this arguably morbid interest at a young age I wonder if he would you let his young son read the horror stories that fascinated him as a child? It seems like this is a moot point, as he explains:

“For my birthday, I bought a boxed set of the Tales from the Crypt comic books, before I got a chance to open one, he had read all five volumes and loved them. I wouldn’t let him watch things like it, but I think reading, whether comics or stories, means you are still in some control of the imagination. All the best marks for my stories at school were when I was liberally inspired/thieved from magazines like Sinister Tales, I think he language has grown lovingly more lurid since he met “The Cryptkeeper”

Chaos of Delight, Gilded Balloon at the Museum 15th-26th August 13.30

Satanic Rites of Robin Ince Stand Comedy club 2, 14th-26th August 19.35