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Edinburgh Moment: From Comedian to Banker - & Back

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After I last took a show to Edinburgh in 2007 I was exhausted. I’d done 27 nights in a row at the Fringe followed by a short run in London; on top of that I’d got married the month before and was moving house directly after the Festival. All of that persuaded me that a normal 9-to-5 might be nice for a while, so I gave up comedy and got a job as a project manager at a bank.

Shortly after I started, the pain of the financial crisis began to hit and my day job became anything but 9 to 5. For a while I convinced myself I was loving the challenge and proving I could cut it in the City, but slowly I began to realise something was missing.

I thought back to Edinburgh, and to one of the last things I’d seen leaving in 2007: a wall where someone had sprayed STOP CLIMATE CHANGE. Underneath, in chalk, someone had written ‘Spray paints have CFCs in them’. This made me remember how a couple of years ago, everyone had been obsessed with climate change, but the media frenzy over the financial crisis had overshadowed it.

I went on a little journey through all the things I’ve been obsessed with in my life and all of the obsessions around me; I started to fill my time with little challenges to take my mind off my increasingly difficult day job. My family had started to notice that I was tense and stressed, and in the end my wife told me my job was affecting my personality.

It was just the wakeup call I needed. I quit the bank and went full circle back to comedy and back to Edinburgh, more relaxed and happy than ever. My show is a little journey through obsession; there’s a jazz vanilla ice moment, mug collections, a stuffed cat called Bernard – and how it guided me back to where I’d come from.

Jim Bowes' show Obsession plays at the Free Festival @ Jekyll & Hyde, from 13 to 29 August at 13.15.


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