Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Funeral, Fringepig & no reviews - one week in

It's really hard to realise that we've been here for a week. Once upon a time a week would be the sum total of our time in Ediburgh, and would seem like a lifetime. We'd see five shows a day and our minds would be, as the kids rather depressingly say all the time on Buzzfeed, blown. Thirty years on and, though the Edinburgh experience is still a great and unique thing, it's also become a bit of a job, with an awful lot of routine about it.

I remain the God of flyering. I love doing it, I'm so good at it that people come to me for tips, and it delivers bums on seats (way back in 2001 I first calculated that 300 flyers every day turned into 30 punters at that night's show. And, though competition on the street has increased greatly since then, there is still an inarguable correlation between the one and the other). We've had three sellouts so far (Friday, Monday and Tuesday, with Saturday coming teasingly close) and I hope for more to come. And it's been good flyering weather, with few long stretches of rain. But what I'm finding, having done three days of Comic Art Masterclasses so far and 7 performances of And So Am I, that the days are full, with no shows seen and nothing much else squeezed in.

Hev & I have seen one show so far, The Umbilical Brothers, and one art exhibition together (an installation called Drone off the High St, though she's seen many more). 

(above) Marcel LuCont's hilarious one star review from Arts Award Voice, wherein a youngster has been sent to review the show and doesn't realise he's a man playing a character. The website goes ahead and humiliates the child by publishing the review regardless, to everyone's cruel amusement.

The website Fringepig has presented an interesting situation this week. You'll recall that, a few weeks ago, its editor, who wishes to remain anonymous, asked the Socks to record a comedy routine for the nascent site and we recorded 5-4-3-2-1 Stars, of which I remain proud. It then appeared on the front page of Fringepig, the site where anonymous reviewers review the reviewers of Fringe shows, along with an ad for our show.

What I discovered a couple of days ago, via Geoff of one4review, was that a number of people thought this meant that I personally was the person behind the Fringepig website.  Which, as well as not being the case, was something I became quite concerned about. The site publishes some ascerbic and withering criticisms of reviewers with I wouldn't like anyone to think I had either authored or authorised. And, unlike Fringepig's editor, I have a show on at the Fringe this year which I would like people to review.

My God, I hope the fact that The Socks haven't had any reviews yet is not because anyone thinks I'm something to do with Fringe pig!

Another reviewer (who I won't name) was so angry when he met me that he wouldn't shake my hand, and suggested I'd made a very bad move by associating myself with this dreadful site, and that the reviewing community would hold it against me. (I'd made a video for them and they'd given me a free ad, by the way. I've done the same for half a dozen sites and never been blamed for the site itself). He accused Fp of doing precisely what it accuses other review sites of doing, ie sending inexperienced amateurs out to do the reviews. Since I don't know who does the reviews, I can't comment.

Having expressed my worries on Twitter, I've found comedians almost universally praising FringePig - everyone has celebrated its outing of the Arts Award Voice review (pictured above) - and a number of reviewers speaking up in support of it too. So maybe I met the one critic who's agin it and took his comments too much to heart? It's Edinburgh, these little things can seem very big when you're here.

Today will be an unusual day amongst Edinburgh days because today is Uncle Stuart's funeral. Dad's brother died last week and, conveniently, I'm only an hour away from Newburgh. So I've bought myself a black suit, I'll be picking Mum up from the airport shortly, and we'll spend the day with the family doing what one does on a day like this. Stuart was 80 so lasted a wee bit longer than his brother, my Dad, though everybody would have liked him around longer still. It's rather a nice thing that Mum visited everyone in the family in Scotland only a few weeks ago and so saw Stuart very recently.

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre ...And So Am I is at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014, July 30 - Aug 25 Gilded Balloon, 10.30pm

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