The Edinburgh Fringe never seems to stop.
It does not happen until August, but people start preparing for it in January – or even the previous December. I think I started last November.
I occasionally stage shows there in addition to the annual increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show.
One thing I did in November was buy the domain name www.increasinglyprestigious.co.uk in case anyone queried the adjectives.
I have not actually updated the site yet, but – hey! – the Fringe is over three months away.
This year, leading up to the Awards show on the final Friday night of the Fringe, there will be five daily chat shows based on this blog. They will be perhaps rather pompously titled So It Goes – John Fleming’s Comedy Blog Chat Show.
As any regular reader of this blog knows – especially if you read the recent ones about poverty in Kenya and Hermann Goering’s great-niece – it is not always a comedy blog… but truth-in-advertising is not always the case in Edinburgh.
My five chat shows will run at 4.00pm in the afternoon Monday-Friday in the final week of the Fringe, leading up to the increasingly prestigious two-hour Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show starting on the Friday night at 11.00pm.
Perhaps more interestingly, the chat shows will take place in comedian Bob Slayer’s new venue Bob’s Bookshop which is part of his widening Heroes of Fringe empire (he is also running the Hive venue). Heroes of Fringe is separate from but part of the Free Festival which comes under the general umbrella of the Edinburgh Fringe but is unconnected to the PBH Free Fringe.
The Fringe was never simple.
For example, back in 1960, the legendary Beyond The Fringe show was not actually part of the Fringe. The clue is in the title. It was part of the official Edinburgh International Festival, which is entirely separate from the Fringe.
To make matters even more complicated, Bob Slayer’s venues’ shows this year will not follow the normal ‘free’ model of Fringe shows. They will be ‘Pay What You Want’ shows. This means you can follow the normal ‘free’ model of turning up for shows, not paying for entry but, at the end, pay what you thought the show was worth (or pay nothing)… But now, at Bob’s ‘Pay What You Want’ shows, you will also be able to buy tickets in advance for £5.
So you can pay what you want after the show or pay for a ticket before the show. Bob says this is a more honest version of the ‘free’ show concept – which was never really free.
When he first suggested it to me, I told him it was too confusing – Just when people have got used to the idea that Free Festival and Free Fringe shows are not actually free – you bung money in a bucket at the end – there is this extra jigsaw piece added to what was already oddly complicated.
Bob has more confidence in the Edinburgh Fringe-going audience than I do – but, with the line-up of acts he has for his two venues, I guess the audiences are going to come even if they’re confused.
And confused is arguably the normal state in which most people attend the Edinburgh Fringe anyway.