Saturday, 5 August 2017

Missing Edinburgh already

Here are the Socks closing a festival, namely the Comedy Festival in Neath last Saturday, where we were in the middle of a stonking bill at the Gwyn Hall and played a blinder. And now, with the Socks back in their bag for most of the rest of the month, I'm being reminded daily about the Edinburgh Fringe, and missing it something rotten.

Here I am reading another history of 70 years of the Festival, in this weekend's Guardian. And here's me looking back, with the help of Alistair Moffat's book Fringe, bought a couple of years ago.

Having rediscovered Richard Herring's excellent Warming Up blog, which is the best way of feeling you're in Edinburgh without actually being there, I'm now reading about his 2014 Fringe, which was the last time he went. Anyone feeling bad about their experience, and particularly anyone worried about the amount of money they might be losing if the audiences don't turn up, will find some comfort in these diary pages.

It's painful to read lines like "...maybe my last ten shows ever at the Edinburgh Fringe, so don’t miss the anti-climax at the end of a quarter of a century of laughter and disappointment" even when you know he's writing with a bitter sense of humour, and that three years later he has returned. But, blimey, he wasn't a happy bunny at the time. I am reminded of my own Edinburgh Fringe 2002 (Sitcom Trials and solo show, both losing money daily, but I ended up getting a TV show out of it. So every cloud...)

I don't have a diary for those early years, probably just as well, but this blog records my Edinburghs since 2009, and I'm indulging myself in a reread of some of them. This wave of nostalgia was probably helped along by a spring clean I did in the office this week, which uncovered a load of cuttings I'd forgotten existed.

I am already looking forward to making a new show for 2018, with not the faintest idea what it'll be about. I've hardly written a word of Socks material this year, apart from a couple of videos that have been popular, but the Socks Do Shakespeare tour has been so satisfying it's been a reward in itself.

I've also, in the evenings, been "slurping" my 2015 blog into a Blurb book (for posterity, which I perversely think that paper offers more than the ephemeral internet) and rereading the run up to Edinburgh 2015. Hev remembers me as being quite down that year, and I confess I was disappointed with the show itself (Minging Detectives), but nothing compared to poor Richard Herring the previous year.

Of course he was getting broody cos he'd been going up every year since 1987. Hah. We first went to Edinburgh, admittedly as punters, back in 1984. We loved it so much we came back in 85 and 86, then pretty well every other year for the next 15 years until, as if to ruin our favourite holiday, in 2001 I came up and put on a show. Since when we've hardly stayed away

2001 - put on The Sitcom Trials, with Miranda. Made money. Thought I'd cracked Edinburgh.
2002 - put on The Sitcom Trials again, and a solo show. Lost money. Result misery (and a TV show).
2004 - Sitcom Trials again, probably broke even, honestly can't remember.
2007 - Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre. Genius. A show that's funny, it sells well, and I don't have to divide the money between 5 people. Result joy.
2008 - 2010, three more Scottish Falsetto Sock shows (Return, Hollywood & On The Telly), each more successful than the last (even won an award one year).
2012 - 2016, five more Scottish Falsetto Sock shows (Boo Lingerie, In Space, And So Am I, Minging Detectives and Shakespeare) all doing almost exactly as well as each other. Result more joy. (And two more Sitcom Trials, in 2013 and 2016, both great fun, both lost money).

But you've got to take a year off sometime. 2011 we took off because someone who owed us money for our 2010 show didn't pay us till the following Spring, so we had little choice. But this year I'd decided to take off a year in advance, and luckily Shakespeare was such a good show that we had our best tour ever and I'm having a deserved break. You do realise most people don't go up to Edinburgh every blooming year! It's probably only Herring and us that are so mad we forgot it's not compulsory.

Socks Do Shakespeare at The Camden Fringe, August 16 & 17 - Book now! 

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