Little things about our Adelaide experience
Starting with this treat, chalked on the pavement of Rundle Mall
A packed few days ahead. Today I do a podcast called Fishbowl at lunchtime, the Caravan in the afternoon, my gig at 7.45 (for which advance sales are looking marvellous by the way, thankyou Adelaide) and a half hour gig in a nightclub called Sugar for the Pub Crawl which is fun but unpredictable - last night my sound balance was so bad, over the top of punters who couldn't be made to stop talking, that the Socks opening song was inaudible, leading to one bogan in the "audience" shouting out the worst thing a comedian can hear, "say something funny". We turned it around then and killed with Michael Jackson and the Magic routine, but it was hard work. Tonight I do it for the 4th time, which tells you that most of the time it's a good gig.
So what will we remember about our month in Adelaide, which has been our first ever visit to Australia?
The weather. If you like it hot, there's hot to be had. From the days when it reached 38 degrees and turned the tent in which we're performing into a sauna, to the milder days which, at 23 degrees, were still hotter than it ever gets in a British summer, this weather is something we're going to miss (& in a few days time we'll struggle to conjure it up in our imaginations)
The Festival. Though I may have moaned about the low numbers (we managed only one sellout and one day fell as low as 9 paying customers), on average we've not done badly at all and have certainly fared better than most acts playing outside the Garden of Unearthly Delights. And the Fringe Festival, plus the Official Festival of which we saw almost all of the visual art (& none of the theatre, but then who ever does see Official Festival theatre?), is a big deal. Second only to Edinburgh in scale it's given me & the Socks the chance to play to an appreciative audience for 28 solid nights, with extra gigs thrown in. That is a fantastic thing which, if we return, we'd be doing again to even bigger crowds next time. Given that the best I can manage the rest of the year is 2 nights in Brighton and 3 at the Leicester Comedy Festival, the Adelaide Fringe is something not to be undervalued or underestimated. It is, however, a nut I still have to crack promotion wise.
Not driving. Just like Edinburgh, I've enjoyed a month of just walking everywhere. It's good for your health and wellbeing, though it's worn through the soles of the pair of trainers I bought in the first week we were here. Not looking forward to the coming month's travels at all now I look at them.
Another good thing was the spiders. I haven't seen one. Thankyou for all those scare stories everyone.
Less good things
The media. It could be because we have a limited choice on the telly in our apartment, no Freeview or cable, we get 20 channels Inc the main ones (ABC1, 7, 9, Ten, SBS1) plus History, Discovery, News and others that seem to vary, sometimes it'll be Nickelodeon, then it'll be Fox Classics, at one point we get UKTV, then at another it's an English language version of Deutsche Welte. And 4 or 5 sports channels. Always bloody sport on. And none of it is very good. Or Australian. We've caught 3 actual Australian dramas or comedies, Outland (good fun), Miss Fisher Mysteries (think Miss Marple meets House of Eliott) and a thing about some guys who defrauded a bank which was shaping up nicely but became unwatchable because of the adverts.
My god the adverts. Anyone in the UK who has ever complained about ads at home, or worse anyone who has ever complained about the regulations that stop us having more ads, you should try watching Aussie TV. You will wretch. Last night I struggled to enjoy a brand new episode of 30 Rock which was interrupted by long ad breaks it seemed inbetween every single scene. They are most frequent and more obtrusive than ads on American TV. I know. Let that one sink in.
The bulk of the TV is Anerican or British. Spooks seems to be on every night, as does Letterman, and there's a lot of Graham Norton. I've also seen Porridge , QI, and god help us Keeping Up Appearances.
The prize for dumbest dumbing down goes to the Australian version of Countdown. It's the same show as we have back home, the same challangrs, the same time frame, the same nerdy student contestants, even the same set. All that is different is the name. In Australia Countdown is called Letters and Numbers.
I have to apologise for damning the whole of the Australian press based on reading the Adelaide Advertiser. Having subsequently discovered The Age and The Australian I realise this was like judging the whole of the UK press having only read the Clevedon Mercury. Good journalism is alive and well in Australia. On an unrelated note, Adelaide is where Rupert Murdoch's career began and where News International's HQ was until 2004.
Another less good thing is the gridded city blocks and their interminable road crossings. Don't get me started on those.
Trying to get a drink is hard work. Off licences are called Bottle Shops and are very rare, open for as few hours as they can, and prohibitively expensive. You can't buy alcohol of any sort in most supermarkets or in any convenience store or petrol station (which thinking it through is rather sensible but still frustrating for the Brit abroad) and you're not allowed to drink standing up outside pubs. I realise that even mentioning this marks me out as some uncivilised and uncouth drunk, but it is a marked difference from back home. I think that I have seen no drunkeness in my month in Adelaide. My won't Edinburgh be different.
On balance Adelaide is lovely and it's Festivals are fab. Try not to watch TV, and get over the whole road-crossing thing and you'll love it.
The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre are at The Garden Of Unearthly Delights, Adelaide every night at 7.45 until March 18th. Tickets here.
Four & a half thumbs-up review from The Punch
"Roll up roll up" - Adelaide Advertiser review
"Side-splitting laughs" - FIVEaa review
"Delightfully silly and thoroughly enjoyable" - The Heckler
"Head-slappingly funny" - Festival Freak review
Adelaide Waiting - Socks video