Last week I was writing up to two blogs in a day and the Socks were making videos left right and centre, and suddenly here I am having gone the best part of a week without writing anything from Adelaide. Whatever can have happened? The Adelaide Fringe has kicked in, that's what's happened. Before I tell you about it, here's a picture of the Socks with Australian comedy legend Roy 'Mo' Rene.
The big thing that changed last week was the discovery that we could actually flyer during the daytime. For anyone who's not familiar with the Edinburgh Fringe and its flyering tradition, let me explain that over there we have a number of sites, primarily the Royal Mile but also outside the venues, where handing out flyers advertising your show is not only de rigeur but also vital for attracting a crowd, unless you're the big name off the telly who's sold out in advance. I long ago (in 2001 for the first Edinburgh Sitcom Trials in fact) calculated that 300 flyers handed out in a day could amount to 30 bums on seats that night.
In Adelaide, however, this tried and tested method of promotion was proving elusive. The Garden of Unearthly Delights, the venue centre that is home to our performance space Il Campanile (which I learn some people pronounce Eel Campaneel and others Eel Campan-eely, but no-one calls The Campan-isle except me), doesn't start to fill with people until 6pm, giving us only 90 minutes to flyer before the show. And the vast bulk of people going past seem already to have tickets in their hands, usually for a show other than yours. Added to this there is a bizarre anomaly which means the Garden's own box office can only sell tickets for that evening's shows, so there's little point encouraging punters to get tickets for your shows later in the week because, at that moment on that site, they physically can't. So flyering as we know it was stymied. It seemed.
Then, just over a week ago, we (by which I mean The Socks and our fellow Gilded Balloon act Morgan & West the Time Travelling Magicians, who are the most wonderful people whose praises I must take a moment to sing) discovered that the Fringe Tickets Box Office in Rundle Mall showed signs of life and that we were allowed to flyer there. Voila, bingo, abracadabra and other cliches etc, suddenly there's flyering to be done from midday till showtime if you want, and from then on I've had no time to make videos and sit writing blogs. And the bums on seats have increased commensurately, which is just what we were waiting for.
Recent Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre gigs have been glorious, with sizeable audiences making a marvellous noise and overflowing with laughter, applause and appreciation afterwards. Were this either of the Socks first two years in Edinburgh, when we were playing in a 55 seater venue, we would have half a dozen sellouts under our belts already. As it is we're still aiming to fill the 120 seats of Il Campanile before the run is over.
Having extolled the virtues of flyering, and emphasised its necessity, yesterday (Thursday) drew a good audience without any daytime flyering at all. This was not due to any laziness on my part, quite the opposite in fact. The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre chalked up 4 gigs yesterday, every one of them necessitating the collapsing, transporting and re-erecting of the full Socks set every time. We played Alan Anderson's lunchtime chat show at the Austral first (I'll return to Alan and the Austral in this blog when a video we did earlier comes online), then played the bandstand in the Gardens for the fourth time (and I was delighted to learn we actually get paid for these bandstand appearances, which I'd assumed were purely promotional). Then came our regular show at 7.45, a cracker of course, after which it was full speed ahoy to a night club called Sugar to play Alan A's Pub Crawl.
This last gig looked like it would be death on toast. It was in a nightclub, the punters were being herded in from one gig to the next and who knew how many would turn up or how drunk they'd be, there was no proper spotlight and no chance for a soundcheck. And it was brilliant. The punters, who had no idea what at to expect, loved the Socks from the start - and by the way there were loads of them, more than my own gig an hour earlier. Afterwards I was mobbed by appreciative new Socks fans, gushing with my favourite phrase "that was the funniest thing I've ever seen" (which, I'll be honest, I will never tire of hearing and will miss awfully when it stops). And it was a paying gig into the bargain, and such a success I've been rebooked to play it again tonight.
So, how's that for busy? So excuse me if these blogs happen with less frequency than they were doing, but amazingly I only have a week and a bit of Adelaide Fringe to go, and it almost feels like we only just started.
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
*I realise I have failed to mention the whisky in the title. Stay tuned, that should be in the next blog.