Monday, 16 December 2019

Workshops and Festivals

Last night was my final live performance of the year and one that summarised the ups and downs of promoting nights. Following a decent little Anything Goes a couple of weeks ago, Clash of the Tight Tens brought together six acts (down two due to car trouble) from near and far to wait expectantly in a room for the substantial number of ticket holders who'd booked a freebie in advance.

Come 8.30 we were still waiting so it was into workshop mode as everyone took it in turns to demo their new material. Reserved for the fledgling comedian, a surprising (to the uninitiated) number of new act / new material nights go this way so to acts with the collective experience of this room it was a familiar but unexpected chance to settle in and take part in a real-life version of Gogglebox. There were one-liners about relationships, references to WWII, personal storytelling with the potential for a punchline and a song about budget supermarkets (mine.)

Anything Goes returns on the first Thursday of February whilst applications for The Glossop Festival (on the weekend of July 10th-12th) open on January 1st. Acts looking to bring 50 minutes to Glossop should send a press release, photo and video link to apply.

As for our own show, three tracks from First World Problems have now been re-worded and their musical arrangements revamped and improved whilst two brand new tracks are also complete. Two further new tracks are awaiting lyrics and once that's done it'll be on to scripting the links. It's shaping up to be a quite a show and very different to what we've been doing with FWP over the past few years. Exciting times. 

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Remember Remember the 4th of December

Last night Anything Goes Open Mic did itself proud with a lineup that spanned one-liner stand-up to surrealist monologues via musical mirth making. The audience, and yes there was an audience, enjoyed themselves throughout and we even recruited some new local performers.

Isaac's upstairs room is a small space which, when coupled with the angle-poise desk lamp lighting and floral wall paper, shelves of old photos and sofas for those watching, gives the impression of being someone's lounge. With a disco light. It's a friendly warm space and one which means you can easily slip from acts on their third or forth appearance to gig hopping pro's like tonight's de facto headliner, Dave Bawden - arriving fresh from a spot in Liverpool just in time to close the night.

The final Clash of the Tight Tens of 2019 is on Sunday December 15th at The Oakwood. Set to be a good one, many seats already reserved. You too can book a few for free here.

Away from running gigs, Anna and I are in the depths of preparing our new musical comedy show for 2020. Taking elements from First World Problems, it's otherwise looking to be an entirely new endeavour with character comedy at its core and a playlist of brand new tracks - give or take a couple of revamped and remixed tracks from previous shows. FWP isn't being retired entirely but for our own creative sanity it'll be taking a back seat for the forseeable future. The acoustic parodies continue as far as my solo club set is concerned - the new show possibly too quirky to translate well into a ten or even twenty minute set.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

The two minute audience couple.

It's Sunday night in Glossop and eight comedians are gathered in the function room of The Oakwood together with six audience members. It's nearly 8:30pm and I've played a song, two acts have brought chuckles from the assembled and Paul Campbell is about to come on stage.

A couple arrive and sit in the second row. I welcome them in and welcome the final act of the first half. The couple smile and sip their drinks. Paul literally rips the roof off (well, makes the windows shake a bit given the size of the audience). The audience are laughing a lot. Except for the new couple.

The new couple look at each other.

The new couple sip their drinks.

The couple look at each other again and one of them whispers to the other.

The other one whispers back.

The audience laugh very loudly. The couple miss the joke.

The couple get up and leave.

Incapable of laughing couple aside, the show went well - especially considering the diminished numbers. Glossop is proving hard work for audience despite flyers at the bar, posters in both the bar and local shops + a hefty does of social media / online listings activity but I'm not going anywhere (literally, I don't even want to think about how much we've spent on the house in the last year). The fun continues in December both with CotTT on the 15th and Anything Goes Open Mic on the 4th - message me for a spot at the latter, all are welcome to do what they please for 5 minutes.

Have I made new videos for the parody songs? Have I heck, I've been repairing a shower. However, it's on the to-do list so you never know. Tonight I'm in Chorlton at the trendy sounding Beechwood Tap House doing ten minutes. Official beard count to be announcedc when I write next.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

London: Gig and a Festival Meet and Greet at The Bill Murray

Last Thursday night I departed a rapidly submerging Glossop to London for a weekend of comedy antics.

On Friday night I joined Sonia Aste for Comedy at the Castle in Aldgate East. The original home to Clash of the Tight Tens, I handed the reigns over to everyone's favourite exuberant Spaniard in the run up to departing the capital. Now a buzzing new act night, I put in a quick ten at the start of the show with my guitar and a couple of Parodies from the Peak District songs. As a tester for what a Southern crowd would make of a song full of northern references I was pleasantly surprised with the reception for "I Will Eat", but the big laughs came with "My Ex". A while later I was down in the main bar with the ever brilliant Andy Onions having a drink and a pint.

Saturday was a day of friends and family but on Sunday it was comedy time again with a festival meet and greet at The Bill Murray organised by Simon Caine. Attending both as an act and as founder of The Glossop Comedy Festival (formerly The Oakwood Fringe) I was shown to my group of chairs with my logo on a little sign for what turned out to be a session of comedy speed dating with acts moving around the room. I met plenty of interesting people with a range of different shows to offer and ended the afternoon with a pile of flyers and postcards (pictured.) I also got chatting to other promoters in the room and now have a shortlist of festivals to which "Andy Quirk and Anna J Have Issues" may be visiting. Largely guided by locations where we know people who live there!


If you're wondering why the Parodies From The Peak District Youtube channel hasn't updated for a while it's because I've been away a lot. More will be coming soon. For the while, check out the channel here.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Blackpool and the final Newsjack jokes no-one wanted

I have never been to Blackpool.

There's a first time for everything though so, following the postponement of a gig in North Wales, I buzzed the Micra north to the home of lights, a tower and - as it turned out - a pier that came out quite epic on my camera during my wander around the town before the gig.

The Comedy Station is a proper comedy club sitting pretty much opposite Blackpool Tower's entrance and attracted a neat little group of 30 or so adventurous individuals looking to sample the new act night. Host and club owner, Ryan eased them in after ejecting a man who was on the wrong side of eight pints and a seasoned pro called Chris stepped up to try out some new material, notepad in hand. The response was good and I hopped up next.

Things started well with the intro track booming out but as it dropped into the verse something was missing. The something turned out to be all the instruments except the drums and I realised we had a stereo-input-going-into-a-mono-jack situation on our hands. Something that through exceptional bad luck hadn't been picked up in soundcheck on account of the first eight bars of said track somehow all miraculously being audible.

Somewhat thrown, I had a chat with the audience and hoped the next track would somehow be okay. The intro to Shake It sounding like interference on an AM radio suggested otherwise. However, a quick change of scenery for the FWP iPad from the stage to an input at the mixing desk meant the show could go on and both Shake It and Meal Deal got their North-West seaside debut.

The acts that followed were all strong, including Keith Wild who yet again crossed paths with me and brought the house down with some familiar and not-so-familiar guitar-based mirth making. I headed off in the final break unsure of how well my set had gone down after my tech-related false start but received a much appreciated ego boost by a group of audience members at the entrance stopping me to say how much they enjoyed it.

And now for those Newsjack jokes I submitted this week that didn't make the show. Thumbs up to Tom Little though, who I heard credited at the end of this week's episode.


1. Extinction Rebellion protestors learned on Monday that their demonstrations in London had been officially banned. Thanks to their tactic of gluing themselves to objects, police predict a sticky end. 

2. This week it was reported that churches are using social media to improve links with their congregations. The next step is a brand new platform that will also host Christian music, called Hymn Book. 

3. Due to what they refer to as a “technical error,” Vodaphone customers in Europe this week were shocked to receive texts informing them that they had racked up roaming charges close to five thousand pounds. Needless to say, it wasn’t the 4G they’d been expecting.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

The Something New Show - Wigan

On a wet and windy Thursday Anna and I headed off around the Manchester ring road to Wigan for Something New - a mixed genre night with featured acts (us and a rather good "rave poet") plus an improv troupe on hosting duties and an open mic section.

Taking place at The Old Courts, this multi-room arts hub is pretty slick and doing well. Whilst we were performing in a little "black box" type theatre room neighbouring the bar, upstairs in a much larger space Sean Ryder was chatting about his life in music and, no doubt, chemical experimentation to a sold out crowd (also the setting for many of the scenes in World On Fire I learned.)

The night was busy, mainly due to the large number of first year drama students who were all looking for 3 minutes to deliver their poetry, someone else's poetry or - strangely - to sing Creep acapella slightly off key. As an ardent fan of open mic I was happy to spend the first section watching this and the improvisers.

Come the second section and our rave poet delivered 20 minutes of engaging spoken word. Sometimes funny, sometimes earnest, an interesting act to come on after and one I'd recommend. His reflections on still going to raves in his forties certainly struck a chord.

Our set was twenty minutes long and typically anarchic. With one mic between us it was a miracle I only came close to injuring Anna once during a mic exchange worthy of constant replay and scrutiny had it been a baton pass in an Olympic relay. The crowd were more than up for it and joined in with total abandon - also happily chatting to Anna between tracks in the setups. We look forward to returning.


My Sunday night was supposed to be spent near Rhyl but the gig's been postponed. Instead I'm now off to Blackpool to perform at the Comedy Station. A night I have heard many great things about and would hope to be pretty warm to some interactive rap action.


Have you seen the latest parody video? Thought not. It's here

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Newsjack Jokes that didn't make it

Another week sails by as my Newsjack submission ignores the lighthouse and crashes onto the rocks of the BBC. The search for a punchline that works continues...



In the U.S. this week it’s been reported that American Cheese is in decline as millennials refuse to eat the pre-sliced foodstuff in favour of less processed alternatives, such as Cheddar. It’s the only time you’ll hear this woke generation support Donald Trump’s call to “Make America grate again.”

It has been recently reported that twenty-two student housing projects in the UK are currently unfinished, leaving students in temporary accommodation. The developers have been awarded a degree of incompetence.


It’s been a bad week for a quarter of the world’s mammals as a report from the State of Nature has revealed that they are facing imminent extinction due to climate change. It’s been a good week for the other three quarters as one of those predicted to die out is Donald Trump.


In other news, we're off to Wigan on Thursday for rapping at "Something New" at The Old Courts and then on Sunday I'm back in North Wales, this time with my guitar, at Ty Fry, Bodelwyddan.


The latest Youtube video parody has less than 30 views. Which isn't a lot. If you'd like to join this exclusive clique click here.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Clash of the Tight Tens at The Oakwood

The cliche, "a game of two halves," is usually reserved for football matches but this evening's comedy kick-about at The Oakwood could certainly have been described as such.

In the first half the audience were subdued, the acts got laughs where they could but the atmosphere never really electrified. My songs got some approving smiles and a nice round of applause but something didn't quite click. Come the break a few bodies shuffled off into the night and I braced for more of the same.

That was until a group of lads rocked up, beers in hands, looking for something to round off their weekend. Without even planning to, I opened with what some might actually call, "banter," ribbing one guy for being a potential shoplifter and another for presenting ever so slightly as a Made In Chelsea extra. Later I called another guy's choice of lager a "bit basic", eliciting a lot more laughter than it probably deserved. This good humour encompassed the whole second half - with all three acts getting well deserved appreciation from the whole audience.

Come the conclusion it was smiles all round and a decent start to Clash of the Tight Tens in its new home.

Meanwhile, in the world of Youtube this has gained 23 views, 3 thumbs up and 1 thumbs down following a fistful of retweets. If this incredible success continues I'll sure find myself on Strictly as a "celeb vlogger" next season... 

Friday, 11 October 2019

Accrington and Song 4

Accrington is a place only known to me from an advert in the eighties which you'll either remember fondly or wonder what on earth I'm talking about. Since my visit last night, however, it's now more than a crap football team.

Battling the elements, I parked up near The Arden Inn and said hi to various familiar faces at the door. Inside a group of older locals huddled around the bar and yet more comics I knew had positioned themselves at tables around the corner of this traditional boozer. 

The show got underway with some tentative MCing which, considering the minimal engagement from the "real" audience, held up pretty well. Keith Wild then opened with a triple bill of hummable, and occasionally filthy, songs. Sarah Lloyd then brought her middle class Welsh ways to the stage and was taught how to swear authentically Accrington by a local. The Mighty Swob then brought us some old-school vibes with his 1970's dinner-shirt and left field take on reality. 

It then fell to me to close the first half with a couple of songs and an open discussion on what makes a local. The audience laughed in all the right places, which is about all any comic can ever ask for, and I improvised a line in "My Ex" for a job suggested by an audience member (or, if we're being honest, another act. But it still counts!)

Come the break I managed a quick chat with most of the assembled before bundling everything back in the car and powering through the torrential rain back to Glossop. Would I do it again, certainly. Props to Adam Anwar for organising a great, if unusual, night!

New song time. My Friday nights aren't what they used to be. Find out how here.

Monday, 7 October 2019

The Newsjack Rejects + Accrington this Thursday

This Thursday I'm performing in Accrington (see poster.) It's free and a rather wonderful lineup so if you're in the area please do come!

If you can't then you could do worse than look at my most recent parody video upload here. Another one will be online this Friday, all about how my Friday nights have changed in recent years.

And finally, it's what you've no doubt been waiting for. 3 more liners that BBC Newsjack didn't want last week.

Lucky you:

1. The Chairwoman of the Headmasters and Headmistresses Conference, Fiona Boulton, has said Labour’s proposal to close private schools was based on ‘ignorance and the desire to damage’ – part of the core curriculum at Eton.

2. Forever 21 has revealed it is close to bankruptcy this week, a perfect reflection of the financial position of its graduating millennial customers.

3. Google turned 21 this week, making it officially old enough to view the majority of the content its users search for.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Anything Goes Open the Mic in Glossop

Last night saw the monthly outing for comedy and music open mic at Isaac's in Glossop. With 9 acts signed up it was a real whirlwind of variety from local talent plus visitors from New Mills, Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds. 

Some of the highlights included Tom Short re-enacting famous film genres slapstick-style selected at random by the sort of turning wheel usually found at village fetes, some sharp observational comic material from Ciaran Mullins opening proceedings and Ellie Pollard's song about an awkward family dinner. All acts, however, kept the energy high and the audience enjoying themselves.

As usual, I opened each half with a song. One of which features in my latest Youtube series, Parodies from the Peak. For a tune about terrible hotels click here.

As ever, the next show will be on the first Wednesday of next month, November 6th. Sign up starts now if you'd like 5 minutes / 2 songs.

Monday, 30 September 2019

News Jack - The Rejects

For the uninitiated, News Jack is a current affairs comedy show on BBC Radio 4 Extra which broadcasts one liners and sketches emailed in by its listeners. It's a good show and one I'd been meaning to start contributing to last season before I realised it had already ended its run before I got a single joke in.

This time around I'm more on it. But still unpublished. Except here.

So here's the three from last week the BBC didn't want:

Breaking News:

Gatwick Airport has confirmed it is installing user- operated facial recognition cameras for ID checks before passengers board planes. Similar devices used when disembarking will be called Selfie-Service Checkouts.

Attacks from unmanned aircraft and missiles in Saudi Arabia have been traced to Iran. Meanwhile, in the UK, Boris Johnson has continued to defend his own drone strike. Or, as it’s more widely known, the proroguing of parliament.

Greta Thunberg has told US politicians they are not working hard enough to tackle climate change. Republican representatives misunderstood her speech though, thinking she’d graded their efforts “C+” when she highlighted their, "rising sea levels."


In other news, I brought 'I Will Eat' and 'My Ex' to Giggle Gang Comedy last night in Manchester. A solidly brilliant lineup and a good time had by all. The latest parody is sitting on twenty-something views here.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Morecambe and have a go if you think you're funny enough...

Morecambe is turning out to be quite a hotbed of comedy happenings. Yesterday, Anna and I took our raps back to Alt Space for Intergalactic Comedy Stylings alongside a host of other adventurous acts. Having known one of the hosts (Randy Be) from my time in London, when he ran nights in nearby Rochester, I knew it would be suitably anarchic.

Whilst the acts were bold the audience were bolder. An extended family occupied the centre rows armed with all forms of bring-you-own-booze and a need to contribute to every act's performance in their own 'unique' way. Attempts to finish punchlines, random words and, at one point, one of the group briefly pulling his shorts (yes, shorts on a dark cold rainy night) down - we got through more of our set than most thanks to our ability to turn the volume up on the backing tracks and blow their minds by not standing up and telling jokes.

The chaos crescendoed with an unannounced improv game involving Tony Slattery (of Whose Line Is It Anyway and many other TV shows fame) closing the night. Quite a thing to see.

Show complete we made our ninety minute way back to the Peak and left the hardcore to drink it up some in this bewilderingly brilliant town.

Tomorrow I'm at The Binary Bar (Manchester) for Giggle Gang Comedy with my guitar. The third instalment of Parodies from the Peak District is online now. 

For a tribute to bad hotels set to the tune of Erasure's greatest hit click here.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Oh Beehive!

This weekend I hosted my second comedy night at The Beehive in New Mills as part of the town's festival running throughout September. The first show a few months back had been half full but tonight our grand capacity of 25ish was reached and the atmosphere was therefore warm, friendly and up for a good time.

Billed as "The Best of the Peak" there was a degree of poetic license with acts coming in from Manchester as well as areas with substantially more hills and less chicken shops. Keith Wild's headline set topped off what was an all-round quality night and I kicked off each half with a tune on my guitar and a chat with the assembled. More dates will certainly follow, more news on that as it arrives.

Otherwise, my comedy endeavours this week included uploading the second acoustic parody video in my ongoing vlog series here and crafting three one-liners for BBC 4 Extra's Newsjack show. With submissions no doubt running into the hundreds the chance of being broadcast is undoubtably slim but should my jokes not be performed to the literally hundreds of people who listen to this fantastically niche station then I'll post them here a whole week after they're relevant.

This week I take my guitar (or rap iPad, depending on Anna J's availability) to Morecambe on Friday for Intergalactic at Alt-Space and then on Sunday I'm in Manchester at The Binary Bar with Giggle Gang Comedy.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Performing to Parents

Yesterday I headed out of Glossop to Liverpool for 'Early Risers', a comedy night with an earlier-than-most finish time specifically aimed at those who would otherwise be clock watching for the baby sitter.

A night that really knew what it was and who it was for, MC Hannah linked between acts with a "Back to School" theme, supported by an on-stage nursery blackboard and an actual 'nature table' as found in most KS1 classrooms. The night concluded with cards completed by the audience in response to the question, "what was the naughtiest thing you did at school?" and a goodbye song that the crowd seemed to know well.

Before this point two comedy course graduate mothers had fired off their first five minutes on parenting themes, a thirteen year old stepped up to tell three minutes of jokes and Jinder Singh opened with an extended set. The penultimate act and first on after the break, I opened with the Edinburgh intro track and then went into Shake It followed by Meal Deal.

The response was warm and was certainly enough to erase memories of my first appearance in Liverpool three years ago at Hot Water when I baffled a huge crowd on a Sunday night repeatedly shouting about an erroneous coffee order over sub-karaoke machine beats. Win.

Sam Avery closed the night's proceedings. He was very good. If you get the chance to see him then do.

In other events this week, Anna and I successfully ran our first improvised drama session for home ed kids. The worlds of education and comedy finally colliding neatly.

Have you sung along to my ode to moving to the north yet? Some people have. Quite a lot of them clicked thumbs up, which is very nice of them. CLICK HERE AND SHARE!

Friday, 6 September 2019

Parodies from the Peak District

Since returning from Edinburgh we've been recharging our comedy rap batteries and slowly but surely we're developing ideas and concepts for future tracks to take to Edinburgh 2020.

In the meantime, however, I've got back on my guitar with a new parody project inspired by our move to the north. I've written a few over the years but now seemed like the right time to put together a proper set and take them to the clubs around here - possibly also leading to a second festival show next year to accompany whatever we call the follow-up to '99 (First World) Problems)'.

I'll be uploading a different song to Youtube every fortnight for the foreseeable future as a lo-fi vlog-style video complete with sing-a-long captions for the karaoke minded.

The link to the first one is below. Keep following the blog for updates or subscribe to my channel. Comments welcome. Bookings too.

I Will Eat...

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

The Edinburgh Fringe Run, 2019

This year we headed to Edinburgh, complete with our cat, excited to be there with our full-run show for the third time. We had new venues and new timings and were unsure what to expect.

In 2018 both Clash of the Tight Tens and First World Problems were based in Espionage, a very central nightclub location that never struggled to attract both passing trade and those who'd sort out the shows specifically. It was also a hub of four rooms with audience often moving from one to another throughout the day, with overspills seeking alternative shows if a room was full. Espionage also had its own guide handed out by staff throughout the run (a creation of the people who owned both it, Cabaret Voltaire and The Three Sisters) which was highly effective.

This year 99 First World Problems was allocated Sofi's Southside, a really nice venue on the edge of town a short walk from Laughing Horse's Counting House complex and the paid fringe on Bristo Sqaure and Georges Gardens. However, being almost entirely without passing trade and a function room above a bar, we'd be warned off from going there by several acts who'd experienced very low numbers.

Clash of the Tight Tens had been allocated Espionage but the venue experienced structural issues when a hotel started to be built next to it. As a result all shows in the venue had to move and the show ended up in an adopted storage room at Cabaret Voltaire.  The guide had already gone to print so the address was wrong in there but the app was updated so I crossed my fingers it wouldn't matter too much.

The Numbers

Compared to 2018, both shows attracted less people. In 99FWP case this can be put down to the location and the fact we took 3 Tuesdays off (compared to no days off last year). With CotTT it can be attributed to the change in venue and fierce competition on a short street with no less than 10 other rooms running at the same time (PBH's Carnivore, two Monkey Barrel rooms, Just The Tonic's new space, 3 rooms at Laughing Horse's City Cafe and the other 3 rooms in Cabaret Voltaire).

The money didn't follow the same trend for our main show though. First World Problems at Espionage last year made  £1,217 from 628 people (£1.94 per person) whilst 99 First World Problems at Sofi's Southside made £1,232.50 from 477 people (£2.58 per person.) The 2018 show attracted an average attendance of 25 whilst the 2019 show averaged 22. The difference being though that this year everyone there had planned to come and were committed from the start, there was no element of passing trade - unlike Espionage. This was further proven by the fact we didn't have a single walk-out the entire run. We made more money with less people across less days - which we'll certainly take as a positive.

Clash of the Tight Tens fared worse. In 2018, 749 people watched the show and donated a total of £1,476 (an average of £1.97 per person). In 2019 this went down to 517 people donating £1,186 (an average of £2.29). Per person this is obviously an improvement but it didn't compensate for the reduced numbers. In this case I'd suggest per-person donations were better because there were less people in the room and therefore the feeling of responsibility to donate was higher.  


As far as 99FWP was concerned, flyering was utterly pointless. Having asked people everyday what had made them come to the show the main answers were, in this order:

1. Found it on the guide/app when looking for a musical comedy show.
2. Found it on the guide/app when looking for something suitable for 12+ / clean.
3. Saw us last year and looked us up.
4. Using the app, found it to be right time / right place relating to other shows.
5. Recommended by a friend.

Next year, depending on the location, there's a good argument for us to print 1,000 flyers (to give out mainly at guest spots) and 20 posters for our main show - rather than the 5,000 / 100 that is standard.

Clash of the Tight Tens did benefit from flyering but the majority of people still came because they'd seen it in the app and it fitted their plans and/or it was rated 12+.

What we gained

We enjoy doing Edinburgh because we love performing to audiences who are on our wavelength. The Fringe is an exciting place to be and we saw plenty of good shows and caught up with plenty of people we hadn't seen for ages. We received a couple of reviews from which we can pick out a few good quotes for the future and had plenty of lovely feedback from those who watched us. I got to try out a few new ideas during the run which we'll integrate into next year's show and I've also been inspired to write and perform a second, more intimate, show to complement FWP (or whatever, we choose to rename it in these woke times) - possibly in preference to a showcase.

Lessons learned

A unique selling point and/or a catchy title is far more important than flyering. Clean musical comedy you interact with is our niche. If that doesn't sound like your kind of thing that's fine - we've found that there are plenty of others who do. 

Accommodation pricing is eye-watering and the earlier you can book, the better. Consider staying further out. We were over 2 miles from the centre of the city but the Just Eat bicycles (similar to London's Boris Bikes) made it a quick and easy journey.

Reviews aren't as important as reviewers would like to think they are - but if you get a good one it's always nice to have.


We'd like to thank Alex and the rest of the crew at Laughing Horse, particularly for their efforts in finding Tight Tens a new home when Espionage when kaputt. The staff at Sofi's Southside and Cabaret Voltaire, who were always happy and helpful. All the acts who did spots at Clash of the Tight Tens and consistently made it a quality hour. All the acts who I either had a beer, coffee or sandwich with at some point. Dave Nattris, Peter Merritt, Tom Short, Paul Richards (apologies for not making it twice) and Aaron Levene for the guest spots. Andy Onions for being an all round superstar buddy to both of us and Marvin McCarthy for being the only act aside from Onions to come and watch our show!

Monday, 26 August 2019

Edblog: Aug 25th

The final day of the Free Festival is usually a busy one and so, for the final time, I hopped onto my Just Eat bicycle and pedalled into the centre to don my laurel wreathe and host Clash of the Tight Tens.

As shows go it was a slightly odd one. The audience were a lovely but very diverse group of 18 all with their own distinct taste. The acts presentation ranged from the comparatively fresh faced Nathan Cassidy (concluding his one-week run) to the close-to-death Ollie Horn (no doubt on his 2 billionth spot of the month) but they all gave it everything they had. The bucket wasn't bad but I hoped for better at 99FWP.

99FWP didn't disappoint. The room filled close to capacity, the audience were more than up for it and the space stayed just the right side of boiling hot. We danced, we chatted, we cheered a newly married couple and then laughed along with a wife identifying her husband as a first world problem because, "he can be irritating at times." The bag for life had plenty of money in it and people swore they'd be back next year. A great way to finish things.

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 18 (Total: 477)
Cash in the swing bin: £39 (Total: £1149)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 34 (Total: 477)
Cash in the bag for life: £88 (Total: £1223)

And yes, that means both shows had EXACTLY the same attendance, with 99FWP beating CotTT in the bucket by £74!

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Edblog: Aug 23rd/24th

August 23rd started slightly ominously when Tight Tens took its lowest bucket for the run despite solidly brilliant sets from acts who got the room laughing throughout. I put it down to poverty and meanness and crossed my fingers we didn't have a repeat at 99FWP. The finger crossing clearly worked as the show rallied with a similar attendance but a much improved bucket. We had photos taken with one of the younger audience members and a couple of familiar faces from London also put in an appearance.

Today things improved further with the city busy at midday and Tight Tens following suit. A near-full room thoroughly enjoyed themselves throughout and the cash-per-person ratio approached £4. At 99FWP it was a similar story with a very much up-for-it crowd singing along to the tracks and laughing along with the segues. A few more familiar faces were in the near capacity room from both old uni friends and those in comedy and a lot of enthusiastic comments came our way afterwards. It only seemed fitting to round things off with an ice cream on The Meadows. 

Aug 23rd:
Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 17 (Total: 427)
Cash in the swing bin: £22 (Total: £994)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 18 (Total: 408)
Cash in the bag for life: £71 (Total: £1050)

Aug 24th:
Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 32 (Total: 459)
Cash in the swing bin: £116 (Total: £1110)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 35 (Total: 443)

Cash in the bag for life: £85 (Total: £1135)

Friday, 23 August 2019

Edblog: Aug 22nd

Things began to pick up today after the early week lull. Clash of the Tight Tens gave the audience solidly brilliant laughs for an hour. Ash Preston's debut went down a treat with the younger teenagers - who he encouraged to share their favourite swear word, much to the amusement of their parents.

99FWP was a solo show due to Anna losing her voice so I tested my ideas for next year again with the audience and they happily went with it. After one crew member shared her self-checkout horror story with us I dug out Tales of the Unexpected for an encore. Altogether, a great gig.

Between the two shows Andy Onions and I watched Saskia Preston at the Underbelly. A story with a twist, Saskia packed the hour full of jokes and callbacks whilst also taking us on what felt like a real trip down memory lane with her family. Well worth sitting in another of the weird little black boxes at the top end of town for. 

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 20 (Total: 410)
Cash in the swing bin: £51 (Total: £972)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 18 (Total: 390)
Cash in the bag for life: £66 (Total: £979)

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Edblog: Aug 21st

A quiet day on the fringe still came with its highlights as Clash of the Tight Tens minimal audience enjoyed the sets delivered if to ten times the number whilst 99FWP hosted a truly international audience of Germans, Chinese, Irish and Brits. Though the three Chinese members struggled with the language barrier they joined in with enthusiasm and the tell tale constant scribbling in a notepad by a man at the back suggested a reviewer was in town.

Post-shows, we caught Jollyboat at The Liquid Rooms for some raucous musical comedy and then headed up town to see John Long perform Planet Killing Machine with his trademark very small guitar. Old favourites such as "You Can't Recycle That" were joined by new songs and a poignant tribute to, musical comedian, the late Chris Joyce. A thoughtful counterpart to the previous show, it was well worth the ticket.

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 10 (Total: 390)
Cash in the swing bin: £21 (Total: £921)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 10 (Total: 372)
Cash in the bag for life: £28 (Total: £913)

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Edblog August 19th/20th

Week 3 Monday is always slow as Scottish families send their kids back to school and the big weekend presents its hangover.

Clash of the Tight Tens was noticeably more subdued despite reasonable numbers but solid sets came from all involved and flyers were willingly taken from all acts on exit. I caught up with Andy Onions and Dylan Dodds over a beer and chips before making my way to Sofi's to collect flyers and stand about in the rather quiet thoroughfare around George's Square.

99FWP was down to ten people but they gave it their all and we had a great time. The last of the key rings were handed out and the bucket was respectable for the numbers.

Later on I performed guest spots at Comedy Shorts at The Newsroom and a late night hour at City Cafe alongside Peter Merriment, Joe Bains and Rhodders which resembled a good natured hostage situation featuring eight students in a tiny room.

We also saw a few more shows. Katie Pritchard's Storm Stud was an anarchic musical comedy show full of gloriously homemade costumes and bubbling enthusiasm whilst All Aboard with Dragos showcased a Romanian talent of the old school music hall variety to much mirth from the small but captivated audience.

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 18 (Total: 380)*
Cash in the swing bin: £30 (Total: £900)*

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 10 (Total: 362)
Cash in the bag for life: £31 (Total: £885)

*Includes an additional 27 people and bucket money for Tuesday's show hosted by Sonia Aste (99FWP has the day off.)

Monday, 19 August 2019

Edblog: Aug 18th

After a couple of very busy days, normality resumed on Sunday with more usual numbers at both shows and a city which you could walk across at more than a shuffle. Clash of the Tight Tens welcomed returning groups from Saturday keen for another lunchtime comedy fix whilst 99FWP was busy without being squashy. A lengthy soundcheck ensured everything sounded ten times better than the previous day and we did our best to ignore the intense stare of a single man at the back of the room who kept tapping his phone. Reviewer or stalker, we'll soon find out I'm sure.

In between all this comedy-ing I've seen a few more shows and have a whole list to attend this week before it's too late. For the record, Zahra Barri's, "Special", at Cabaret Voltaire is way more fluid than its "work in progress" tag suggests and is an enjoyable hour of personal storytelling. Ashley Haden's, "Fuck You and Fuck Your Beliefs", at Sofi's Southside is a sardonic sixty minute polemic on modern politics and wider society. The Sacrifice at Opium is a strangely brilliant forty minutes of clowning based on the unlikely relationship between a viking and a vampire preparing for a blood ritual. And finally, Trainspotting Live brings Irvine Welsh's best known novel to life in a tunnel where the audience sit along the sides and watch Renton and co hurtle up and down to collapse on sofas, go cold turkey on mattresses and splash around frantically in a toilet bowl.

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 21 (Total: 353)
Cash in the swing bin: £42 (Total: £847)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 22 (Total: 352)
Cash in the bag for life: £48 (Total: £854)

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Edblog: Aug 17th

Today was utterly frantic in town with huge numbers of people treading the Royal Mile and beyond. 

After a brief spot of flyering for Tight Tens (and it's twice-changed lineup due to drop-outs) I was in the room chatting to a capacity crowd and doing my best with Shake It and a sore throat. The assembled thoroughly enjoyed the whole show and a little old lady enquired if 99FWP had any rude words in it as, "I liked all the acts but I'm too old to hear swearing and things about sex." She took my flyer and promised to come the next day. A recent show also got a user review on the Edfringe site:

After a spot of shopping and eating I made my way to Sofi's confident that it would fill with no flyering. Which it did, ridiculously so. Despite some full rooms in the past, none of them compared to this audience. People were sat in the window bays, on extra stools brought in from the other rooms and peering in through the doorway. The show itself went well though the PA started to show its limitations when turned up to a volume to cope with the numbers, distorting the vocals at times. We used this as part of our bucket speech to buy bigger speakers.

A full soundcheck with be happening today before the show commences.

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 40 (Total: 332)
Cash in the swing bin: £100 (Total: £805)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 45 (Total: 330)
Cash in the bag for life: £110 (Total: £806)