Well, the energetic typhoon and bundle of occasional volcanic anger that is The Scotsman’s comedy critic – Kate Copstick – arrived yesterday and has been arranging tickets to see shows. Sometimes acts say they will not let critics in for the first two or three performances as their show will not be ready for appraisal. This can lose them a review either because critics’ schedules are so tight the show can’t be fitted in elsewhere or – as with Copstick – on principle.
I paraphrase, but her attitude is: “if the show is not ready to be seen by a critic, then they shouldn’t fucking be performing it and charging the fucking public money to see it”.
I do not paraphrase the swearing.
As of yesterday afternoon, one show will certainly not get her review because it was “not ready to be seen”.
Having rescheduled my yesterday to do other things by cancelling three shows (to be seen later), the only one I did see was George Egg’s Anarchist Cook – a cracking show – a bizarre combination of comedy and cookery using items you can find in hotel rooms, including Bibles, irons and trouser presses.
Mixing cookery and comedy live on stage has been done before, but this version was so filled with comic originality that it took the audience around ten minutes to accept they really were seeing what they were seeing. After that, they were with him all the way. The word-of-mouth will be great.
Meanwhile, on the streets, flyerers have a tendency to look at me, think I am far too old to be interested in comedy and ignore me. Yesterday, among the flyerers doing this were ones touting a couple of shows I am actually going to go and see.
One who did grab me – because he recognised me – was Irish comic Al Porter, flyering for his own show Al Porter Is Yours. I don’t think he is likely yet to get the Malcolm Hardee ‘Act Most Likely To Make a Million Quid’ Award, but he has the chutzpah it takes to get success on TV.
You could not call it subtle schmoozing, but it is the sort of full-throttle PR assault mixing OTT flattery with Irish charm which will go down well in the corridors of the BBC and ITV. He also has a good memory –
- my face
- that we met two years ago
- that I write a blog which is “wonderful” and which he “reads all the time”
Al Porter Is Yours was already on my list of shows to see, so the flattery and full-throttle schmoozing was unnecessary, but full marks for the in-yer-face promo assault.
In the evening, there was another assault on the senses of a different kind.
My chum Janey Godley performed at the Laughing Horse Free Festival launch show. It looked to me like most of the audience had not actually seen her perform before, so it was like watching a collection of cuddly toys facing the full force of an Apache attack helicopter with all weapons systems blazing. I would be amazed if less than half the audience did not leave last night with her at the top of their list of Shows To See.
Janey has single-handedly made me think I should switch off my Periscope alerts as, every ten minutes, I get a mobile phone fanfare and the news that Janey is “live on the streets” or can be seen “in bed”. Just getting the alerts exhausts me. But it is effective publicity. She tells me there has been a surge in sales of her jaw-dropping autobiography Handstands in the Dark from people who have seen her on Periscope – despite the fact she has never mentioned the book on Periscope.
She also told me someone had suggested she put on an exhibition of her paintings and drawings in London – an excellent and overdue idea which I tried to encourage her to do though, I suspect, to no avail.
In 2007, her painting of a clown was sold for charity at an an Arthur Smith Arturart exhibition of comics’ paintings. If I had known it was for sale, I would have bought it myself, because I had seen her paint it – It started out as a planned portrait of comedian Malcolm Hardee then changed into a scary clown.
She recently painted a watercolour landscape for me as a gift. I was going to collect it when I got to Edinburgh, but she has now lost it. I am beginning to get paranoid.
Last night, I understand Malcolm Hardee Awards-stealer Juliette Burton (see yesterday’s blog) arrived in town but could not be found. I suspect she is in hiding in her dubious and by no means certain pursuit of a Cunning Stunt Award nomination.
On a more personal note, a tiny slither of tooth seems to have come out of one of my molars, though there is no pain yet. And I have the Edinburgh sniffles – I think I may have the beginnings of a cold caught standing in the rain at last night’s Free Festival launch.
This morning I awoke to an email from Anna Smith, this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent. She sent me a CBC news report about a man who had been charged with “fornicating the National War Memorial” in Ottawa.
She added: “At least we don’t have the echidna abductions that are racking Australia.”
No, I have no idea what she is talking about either.
But it is good, in a way, to know anarchy reigns worldwide, not just in Edinburgh during the Fringe.