It's not just my imagination, is it? This year it's harder than usual to find accommodation for the Edinburgh Fringe.
For the last few years I've happily trolled along to edfringe.com, and they've had a fantastic message board onto which locals would list their flats, and we hungry tourists would get in touch, agree to pay a ridiculous amount of money, and everybody would be happy. There'd be new flats added on their every day, as word spread to Edinburghians who had never previously dreamed that they could ask £600 a week for their one bedroomed dungeon under a pub toilet backing onto a crack alley and some idiot from England would pay it, and all flats would be snapped up in a day or so.
As the recession has bitten, has there's been less money sloshing about, this vital service became even more so as margins got tighter, and cutting out the middle man became all the more sensible.
Whereas once upon a time, in the days before the internet (yes children, such days did exist) I used to book our Edinburgh accommodation through an agency, with a brochure, using forms and phone calls, in a process than necessitated getting our flat pinned down by the end of February, or ideally a year in advance, now thanks to edfringe.com and its easily accessible message boards, I would be able to spend a few days in April putting my bid in for places, keep a few potential landlords on hold in my email tray, and by the end of the week we'd have everything sorted, usually with the best price and the best location in the bag.
Now the edfringe website proudly displays a banner saying "new website on the way" and the message boards are gone. In their place, a system seems to have been set up whereby landlords submit their properties to the edfringe organisers, and we performers are then sent a list. I assume more than one list will be coming.
I hope so. Cos from the first list that we've received, there have only been two flats that were appropriate for our needs, neither in anything like the locations we've had in the past, and they've no doubt already been snapped up as I've left it a few days to come back from touring to get onto the emailing. I can't help thinking this isn't going to work as well as last year.
But am I the only person finding this, and is everyone else managing fine? Do let us know.
And if you have a flat for rent, sleeping a couple, from August 3rd to 30th, ideally in the Old Town, email email@example.com
Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre
(possibly sleeping in a box behind the Gilded Balloon this August)