Today was the last of my midweek shows. From tomorrow we move in to the territory of the final weekend.
It’s been a strange few days in one way, as I’ve had a lot less contact with people. For over two weeks I was sharing a house with the ComedySportz guys, and that meant constant company, including going to shows with people.
Since Saturday I’ve been in new accommodation, having my own room with an en suite bathroom. It’s been nice to have my own space, of course, but I’m starting to feel a bit more cut off. I had a clear idea of how the run was going to end, but that’s not the case now.
But still, I do have a routine to follow each day. Flyer for the show, then do my show. After that, my time is my own. I’m now in to day 22 of doing this.
My flyerer was not able to make it today, so I was flyering for my show by myself. Since Saturday I have had full rooms each day, but today I only had 20.
That is still a good number for a Thursday, especially when compared to other shows, but it’s a shame to lose out on the run I was having.
The show itself was really nice. The people who came brought a great energy, and I really enjoyed it.
Attila the Stockbroker
My friend Tony, who had come to see me earlier in the run, had recommended Attila the Stockbroker to me.
An old standing, left wing activist and punk poet, I knew of Attila, but I had never actually seen him before. That’s the great thing about the Fringe, and about free shows in particular, that you can see so many people!
He spoke about how he first came to the Fringe in the early 80s. Back then he played the Pleasance, and the performers got 75% of the door takings. Tickets were 75p each.
Boy, has that changed. When they started charging acts for the rooms, beginning the model that made tons of money for venues and promoters whilst even sell-out artists could expect to make a loss, he stopped coming.
That changed a few years ago when he heard of the PBH Free Fringe. A model that suits him, as it’s fair.
The show was great. In the ramshackle Bar Bados, he seemed to enjoy the DIY ethos of the place. Poems and songs were performed. Many deeply political, as expected, but also many deeply personal. Poems talking about his relationship to his Father, and his step-Father, were very moving.
I bought a copy of his autobiography on the way out.
How best to describe them? With difficulty, frankly.
They are essentially a three man sketch group that present a film style show. All the stage effects are produced by themselves, with hilarious effect.
I understand why they have hype around them, as this was a great show. Certainly recommended.
Only minor annoyance was with the audience, with various members nipping out to the toilet. This is the curse of a later evening show – you get a more energetic crowd, but also one who have been filling their bladders for hours.
Finally, I’ve just seen that Brian, the manager of the venue I’m in, the Counting House, has been given the ‘best person’ award for this years Fringe!
Congratulations to the free Fringe Fest's Brian, manager at @CountingHouseEd, @Pear_Tree_House & @32Below for winning the @BritishComedy Best Person award at this years #edfringe. Someone who's work really does #makeyourfringe in August, and all year in #edinburgh #celebrate pic.twitter.com/TmsSPVr5I9
— Free Fringe Festival (@freefringefest) August 22, 2019
It’s definitely deserved. The setup at the venues he manages has been superb. There is a proper professional system in place with a member of staff at the front door (often Brian) directing folk to the different shows.
Ear pieces in place, different staff operate throughout the building, directing the queuing system for the different rooms. This does not feel like a free venue at all.
To have this kind of setup is genuinely a privilege for performers. All I can say is, if I go back next year, I just hope I can work with them again.
My show, Shit Socialist, is on 3.15pm, 1-25 Aug, at The Counting House (Attic). Free entry, PWYW.