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)

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Edblog: Aug 15/16

Another couple of great shows over the past few days. August 16th's 99FWP was particularly special with a full room of happy people. 

Aug 15th
Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 18 (Total: 278)
Cash in the swing bin: £61 (Total: £661)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 20 (Total: 250)

Cash in the bag for life: £61 (Total: £576)

Aug 16th
Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 14 (Total: 292)
Cash in the swing bin: £44 (Total: £705)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 35 (Total: 285)
Cash in the bag for life: £120 (Total: £696)

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Edblog: Aug14th

Another nice day at the fringe with a decent turnout at Tight Tens and a not-bad-for-a-Wednesday group of ten in 99FWP. 

In between the two I met up with Andy Onions to take part in Alan Shed 7's Music Quiz. Using an interactive tablet we answered questions on music from decades and genres way beyond the hey day of the mighty shed. By the penultimate round we were in the third place but in the final round we got question after question wrong and slipped further and further down the leaderboard. However, with three questions to go we aced one no-one else got and gained a thoroughly unfair bonus boost to the top. The final question duly answered correctly and we were the winners!

Possibly the only award I'm likely to win this summer.

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 25 (Total: 260)
Cash in the swing bin: £58 (Total: £600)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 10 (Total: 230)
Cash in the bag for life: £19 (Total: £515)

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Edblog: Aug 12th (includes reviews)

Mondays are often busier than you'd think and this one didn't change the pattern. 

Clash of the Tight Tens presented another collection of thoroughly decent sets to a half full room and the audience left happy and reasonably generous. Considering its last minute change in location and the fact that its location resembles a sewer tunnel things have been going well here.

It was a second solo outing for myself with 99FWP as Anna's ankle injury had flared up again. With little time to flyer I figured I'd just see how it went and was pleasantly surprised to see a collection of families and students in the room for the start. With an audience of fourteen, some adjustments were necessary with lower volume for the music and a chattier interaction. I tried out my new interactive piece for next year again and it worked well again so it's almost certainly something we'll take forward to 2020.

Between the shows I've had the chance to see some other acts in action. The free fringe / festival is an unwieldy beast but I've felt lucky so far to only trip up on one truly terrible show. The best are below:

Lightfoot James - Aidan "Taco" Jones
I've known Taco for years, ever since the days of Bear Jokes in Hackney. Always ready with a story to tell, he starts the show with easy going chat with the assembled group in his tiny attic room. Tales from remote towns in Australia follow, punctuated with Facebook stalking and his biological origins. Interesting, funny and vivid. A very easy to watch afternoon show. 

Made in Spain 2 - Sonia Aste
Sonia's previous show continually filled its room last year and this time around not much has changed for the lady who mixes up her paella with puns. Over the course of an hour we learn about various aspects of Spanish life, presented as courses in an audience-selected tapas menu. Arming the front row with maracas and tambourines, as well as the whole audience with fans, the show is both informative and amusing with plenty of light humour building up the repore.

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 21 (Total: 235)
Cash in the swing bin: £65 (Total: £542)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 14 (Total: 220)
Cash in the bag for life: £35 (Total: £496)

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Edblog: Aug 11

A rainy Sunday confronted me this morning but it didn't dampen the spirits of Tight Tens' capacity crowd. As ever, the acts all did well - Tom Little putting in a particularly hectic set necessitated by booking his guest slots too closely together. The crowd were happy and the bin took its best feed so far.

The rain didn't affect turnout for 99FWP either with a close-to-full room greeting us on entry. Anna J was back in action and quizzing the crowd as usual whilst I urged them on during the tracks. The bucket take was a reflection of the age of the crowd - who were largely 18-22, apologetic and skint - so we didn't take anything negative from it.

Given our abject lack of reviews, tweets, insta's etc it appears that good old word of mouth is pushing our audience figures in the right direction.

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 40 (Total: 214)
Cash in the swing bin: £118 (Total: £477)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 35 (Total: 206)
Cash in the bag for life: £32 (Total: £461)

Edblog: Aug 10th

Edinburgh was busy today. Footfall around Cabaret Voltaire suggested that all would be well when it came to numbers at the shows but I didn't predict just good they would be.

Clash of the Tight Tens played to a capacity crowd and the acts all did well whether it was stand-up from John Pendal, Megan Shandley or Ali Woods; sketch for Bad Clowns or surreal music from Hugo Hamlet. The donations bucket was just shy of three figures as the assembled departed.

A quick chat over a sandwich with Simon Caine later and I headed over to Paul Richard's "Complete History of Pop" show at The Globe Bar. This was also full and he had plenty of acts in to be his choir. My solo spot (the result of Anna busting her ankle the night before) raised the roof and I handed out the few flyers I had to hand - having given out more than expected at the end of Tight Tens.

Then it was up to Sofi's for 99FWP. With Anna absent I had needed to quickly think of a new mid-set feature to break up the songs and came armed with a fistful of cards. I won't explain further as it turns out it worked really well and will probably be part of next year's show. Having not done any street flyering I wasn't expecting the room to fill but fill it did and people had to bring in stools at the back to fit in. A warm (in both senses) show littered with minor errors due to the lack of my backup dancer, we had a really good time. The bag for life took £115 at the end to back this up. More of the same would be great! 

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 40 (Total: 174)
Cash in the swing bin: £99 (Total: £359)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 40 (Total: 171)
Cash in the bag for life: £115 (Total: £439)

Friday, 9 August 2019

Edblog: Aug 9th

A definite day of two halves. The rain was hammering down when Tight Tens kicked off and the audience of four were outnumbered by the acts. The sets were solid though and those in attendance experienced exactly what it was like to be at a weeknight new act show in any UK city outside of the fringe. The bucket was exceptional for the numbers and I even finally used the card reader.

99 (First World) Problems, on the other hand, benefitted from sunny weather and word of mouth and accommodated a decent crowd. The second mic cable turned out to be broken today so we were back down to one mic with our own lead but shared well for the most part. The assembled could have been louder but the bucket was decent and the compliments were forthcoming.

Given the #99FWP theme of our show it does seem somewhat ironic to not have received a single tweet yet.

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 4 (Total: 134)
Cash in the swing bin: £13 (Total: £260)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 14 (Total: 131)
Cash in the bag for life: £42 (Total: £324)

Edblog: Aug 8th

Just a quick update for this one. Another great Tight Tens, albeit with reduced audience numbers, and a successful 99 (First World) Problems despite crackling mic cables.

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 9 (Total: 130)
Cash in the swing bin: £25 (Total: £247)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 16 (Total: 117)
Cash in the bag for life: £38 (Total: £282)

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Edblog: Aug 7th

It was another quality selection of lunchtime comedy at Clash of the Tight Tens today with solid sets from all involved, including a surprise appearance by Francis Boulle (of Made In Chelsea fame) - standing in for a last minute drop out. The numbers were good too, especially for a Wednesday.

I had a few hours to spare before 99FWP so after some cheese and chips for lunch I chanced my arm on a Free Fringe show in Bar Bados. For the sake of the show it'll remain nameless as it was possibly the worst five minutes I'd ever endured before I walked out. How anyone can present a show with no introduction and no acknowledgement of the audience - then launch into a barely audible, baffling, sketch with no jokes is almost beyond my comprehension. Someone should have told them this before they brought it to an actual audience.

Duly bewildered, I was back on the street and decided to get some flyering done. The skies darkened but the rain didn't break until we had 15 people singing along with Shake It in our little room. My mic lead was popping, I misgendered someone and on several occasions a word or two slipped my mind mid-song but - surprisingly - it still went pretty well.

Straight after the show we headed over to The Place to do a spot at Laughing Horse Pick of the Fringe. The rain had done it's job and the audience was small but we still had a good time in the hotel's back garden shed. After that it was off to Wahaca for midweek tortillas with Andy Onions.

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 27 (Total: 121)
Cash in the swing bin: £53 (Total: £222)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 15 (Total: 101)
Cash in the bag for life: £38 (Total: £244)

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Edblog: Aug 6th

Today was the first of our days off. Based on turnouts in previous years I concluded that Tuesdays were the slowest day and therefore the best to take off and go and support other acts. Due to a late night I saw less than I had planned to but I at least dented my monolithic list of shows to see.

Last night I saw Wingman: My Brother The Top Gun Pilot featuring JB Carter  at the multi-storey squat that is Bar Bados. A neat tale drawing parallels between the film and JB's brother's airforce-based incidents, it was a diverting hour with some nice jokes and a genuine personal story.

This lunchtime I joined a long queue for David McIver's Teleport at The Banshee Labyrinth (Cinema Room.) Some people thought it was a magic show but those of us who had read the blurb knew it to be a character comedy based hour recalling David's own personal experience of growing up immersed in online fantasy quest games. Exceptionally funny takes on adventurers, magical items and everything in-between followed with a healthy dose of audience interaction and a powerful emotional twist towards the end. One to see this year before it inevitably ends up somewhere bigger and more expensive in 2020.

Following this I was at The Mash House (Snifter Room) for Andy Storey's Still (Awkward) Life. With his softly spoken delivery, the show was as much a quiet chat with friends as it was a series of amusing anecdotal stories about awkwardness and anxiety. Addressing and equally engaging a front row featuring an age range of about 4 decades - Andy's ability to capture the attention of the assembled was delivered with understated confidence. The bombastic (for Andy) twist at the end is well worth waiting for.

The final show of the day was again at The Mash House but this time I was up and down from the audience at regular intervals as I was MCing The Musical Comedy Guide Showcase. After introducing the show and a couple of songs it was simply a case of getting up and clapping on the next act every ten minutes. The acts were great and the audience thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Definitely one for those who like their mirth with a tempo and melody.

Stats unchanged from yesterday

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 13 (Total: 91)
Cash in the swing bin: £40 (Total: £159)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 15 (Total: 86)
Cash in the bag for life: £61 (Total: £206)

Monday, 5 August 2019

Edblog: Aug 5th

They call it "Black Monday" apparently but there was no sign of a let-up when it came to our shows. Clash of the Tight Tens may have been a lot quieter than the day before but the audience enjoyed the acts to the tune of an average £3 a person whilst at 99FWP we went one better with £4 per person on a turnout of 15 - 5 of which were a theatre group performing nearby.

These stats follow a trend I've previously noticed where large audience don't necessarily equal large buckets. Whilst larger audiences assume that everyone else will put in and therefore adjust their donation accordingly, smaller audiences express their more personal experience in quite the opposite direction. 

Tomorrow we're taking the day off. Originally this was to see shows but we've somehow ended up hosting the Musical Comedy Guide show in the middle of them so it's "work" as usual.

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 13 (Total: 91)
Cash in the swing bin: £40 (Total: £159)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 15 (Total: 86)
Cash in the bag for life: £61 (Total: £206)

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Edblog: Aug 4th

Things just got better today with increased turnouts at both shows threatening to hit their respective room capacities. 

Over at Cabaret Voltaire things started unpromisingly with little footfall down the street and the Royal Mile full of pedestrians utilising their best leave-me-alone glares. However, as showtime approached people began to stream in - all apparently drawn by the fringe guide (note to self, stay in bed later.) The acts then absolutely smashed the room. Superb sets from Lenny Sherman, Aidan "Taco" Jones, The Bristol Revunions, Stevie Gray and Tom Little repeatedly hit the funny bone and the cave reverberated to the call of, "Meal De-al!" A special mention goes to Stevie's extra special guest, his 9 month old son who he held throughout his ten minutes.

Following an hour of hit and miss flyering in the pay venue powerhouse zone of Georges Square (choice quote from a retired lady, "I saw some comedy at The Pleasance last night but it was awful so I don't think I want to watch any more"), it was time to head to Sofi's Southside for 99 (First World) Problems. The street was, as usual, quiet and the show previous to us had about 5 people in it. We were braced ourselves for an "intimate" performance.

As it turned out, our worries were misplaced. At 3.40 the foyer area was full of people and Anna J was directing them to write their names on their VIP Crew Pass stickers. Delaying slightly for people waiting on cocktails, we launched into our biggest show yet. The audience; a real mix of young, old, local, national and international, joined in whole heartedly and we raised the roof. The set pieces worked, the songs were strong and we even pulled off most of our improvisations to genuine laughs. Alongside a good bucket take (given the number of families with children) the key rings went like actual desirable objects and we would have taken our first card payment had my device not suddenly decided it was exactly the time to do a software update.

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 34 (Total: 78)
Cash in the swing bin: £50 (Total: £119)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 28 (Total: 71)
Cash in the bag for life: £52 (Total: £145)

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Edblog: Aug 3rd

Saturday is usually a very busy day at fringe and though we certainly increased our numbers it wasn't quite the sell-out rush I'd predicted.

Clash of the Tight Tens was just under half full as we kicked off at 12:15 and fantastic and varied sets came from Ali Woods, John Pendal, Bad Clowns, Hugo Hamlet and Andy Onions (now with projector screen.) The ceiling occasionally dripped on the people at the back but didn't do too much to distract from what was going on at the front. The front row was the domain of a group of middle aged men clearly out on the piss who were very good humoured. One of the advantages of running a lunchtime show rather than one later on.

A guest spot at the Globe Bar to an audience of 8 with The Complete History of Pop in an Hour was sandwiched between Tight Tens and 99FWP and provided light relief as we sang along to pop classics and performed Stuck On Hold and Meal Deal in the feature spot.

From here it was a brisk walk to Sofi's to find twenty people milling about our foyer area outside the room. Though our venue is further out than most it does have some definite advantages when it comes to layout and general look. Espionage may have been a busier spot last year but it's rabbit warren of tunnels and rooms pales in comparison to a light airy bar with a dedicated waiting area.

The show itself went well with the audience happy throughout out. Some good ad-libs from both of us kept things moving along and we came in at exactly 50 minutes. The room may have had a few spare seats but it was a great show for the weekend.

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 15 (Total: 42)
Cash in the swing bin: £35 (Total: £69)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 20 (Total: 43)
Cash in the bag for life: £41 (Total: £93)

Friday, 2 August 2019

Edblog: Aug 2nd

Edinburgh is not normally this sunny. This may explain why numbers grew nicely from yesterday to give us another day of good shows.

Clash of the Tight Tens looked like an awkward one minutes before showtime with just one act having arrived and five expectant audience members in the room. However, by 12.15 all but one act was accounted for and a stream of latecomers bumped the numbers up to a half full room. Andy Onions' anarchic tech setup as part of his routine was an interesting twist to proceedings, Sadia Asmat's slightly too rude for lunchtime set caused a parent to cover their teenager's ears for a good thirty seconds and an absent act gave me more stage time than usual so it was anything but predictable. The bucket was disappointing though. More work required on the all important speech.

99 (First World) Problems had no such issue though and after fifty minutes of music and general nonsense with teenagers, retired Americans and a smattering of locals we averaged £3 a head. Better than the Free Festival average of a pound less than this. Saturday's show promises to be even busier, here we go!

Clash of the Tight Tens
Bums on seats: 20 (Total: 27)
Cash in the swing bin: £20 (Total: £34)

99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 14 (Total: 23)
Cash in the bag for life: £41 (Total: £52)

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Edblog: August 1st.

Today was preview day at the fringe and we had expected a quiet start because of this. However, our modest expectations were more than met when both Clash of the Tight Tens and 99 (First World) Problems brought in more people than the comparable shows last year. This despite Tight Tens last minute move to Cabaret Voltaire (with the now falling down Espionage listed in the print guide) and the rap show moving somewhat out of town beyond the Counting House to Sofi's Southside Social. Things are looking good for our first big weekend.

August 1st Stats
Clash of the Tight Tens 
Bums on seats: 7
Cash in the swing bin (yes, I'm using a small swing bin from Poundland this year): £14
99 (First World) Problems
Bums on seats: 9 (inc. a mum and three children)
Cash in the bag for life: £11