Tag Archives: Ashley Storrie

Not all the most interesting shows happening during the Edinburgh Fringe are listed in the Fringe Programme…

This coming Sunday, TV production company Brown Eyed Boy are opening an all-year-round venue and sketch-based show called Alchemy EH1  in the Trinity Apse, part of the 15th century Trinity College Kirk on Chalmers Close, just off the Royal Mile.

Alchemy is the idea of Jemma Rodgers, who produced The League of Gentlemen and Irvine Welsh’s Wedding Belles, then became BBC Scotland’s Head of Comedy before moving to new Shine-owned Scottish-based venture Kudos Brown Eyed Boy which started earlier this year.

Alchemy is going to run for eight nights during the Fringe and then continue monthly in Edinburgh all-the-year round.

The idea is to develop new-ish writing and performing talent – including musical comedian Helen Arney and my comedy chum Janey Godley’s staggeringly talented daughter Ashley Storrie and “to nurture these acts through a team writing model used so successfully on shows like Saturday Night Live, and to enable us to forge a strong creative relationship with such a promising mix of non-London-centric talent.”

Cutting through the pseudo-American circumlocution, that is a bloody good idea. They team up talented people, let them develop new ideas and give them a regular live performance outlet. It is an especially bloody good idea given Shine, Kudos and Brown Eyed Boy’s US contacts.

Shine produce Merlin and Masterchef. Kudos have made Life on Mars, Spooks and Hustle as well as the movies Eastern Promises and Brighton Rock.  Brown Eyed Boy are opening up a Los Angeles arm and have just had their Imran Yusuf Show pilot commissioned by BBC3 – Imran Yusuf was nominated as Best Newcomer in the Edinburgh Comedy Awards last year.

The hour-long Alchemy EH1 stage shows during the Fringe start at 10.00pm and are on:

Sunday 7th August

Friday 12th August

Saturday 13th August

Friday 19th August

Saturday 20th August

Thursday 25th August

Friday 26th August

Saturday 27th August

At the very least these shows sound a tad interesting and have impressive backing.

It is ironic that one of the most interesting and potentially successful ideas at the Fringe is not actually officially on the Fringe but is on the fringe of the Fringe.

Who knows what future years may bring?

Not me.

I still have Fringe fever: a swirling of uncertainties in the head, coupled with a slight shiver of anticip….

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“Killer Bitch”, ‘Dodgy’ Dave Courtney, Scots comedian Janey Godley’s podcast and the UK gun laws

In the new Episode 27 of stand-up comic Janey Godley‘s weekly podcast (about 35 minutes in), her daughter Ashley Storrie (grand daughter of the late low-profile  but notable Glasgow ‘face’ George Storrie) talks about spending a day on the Killer Bitch film set with Dave Courtney and an assortment of dodgy London ‘chaps’ towards the end of 2009.

Ashley gets one detail slightly wrong – a day or two after the Killer Bitch film shoot at Dave Courtney’s home, police raided the house and arrested him on three charges of illegally possessing firearms. The main gun in question was never used on the Killer Bitch shoot.

What had happened, very basically, was that ‘Dodgy’ Dave and his wife owned a perfectly legal gun which they had on open display on their wall of their sitting room and which they occasionally used as a stage prop. But possession of the gun – with virtually no publicity – had been re-classified as illegal because it is relatively easy to re-activate it into being a ‘real’ gun.

Dave and his wife did not know possession of the gun had been reclassified. Thrown into prison, Dave was refused bail despite the fact that, on the three charges he faced, he was clearly no danger to anyone. The police kept him locked up over Christmas 2009. When he came to trial, the jury took only two hours to find him Not Guilty on all three charges.

Janey Godley was herself arrested in the mid-1990s for possession of firearms – a veritable arsenal of weapons – and she too was released – a sanitised but still fascinating version of why she was released appears in her gob-smacking autobiography Handstands in the Dark. She revealed the fuller reason in her 2004 stage show Good Godley! which rather belatedly opens in Australia (at the Adelaide Fringe Festival) in February/March this year.

Ashley does not appear in Killer Bitch. The movie, though widely banned from most retail shops, is still available at HMV shops and online from HMV, Amazon, Play.com etc.

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Of credit fraud, Rocket Science and an elf

(This blog originally appeared in What’s On Stage)

It’s as inevitable as rain at Wimbledon or mud at Glastonbury – things going wrong immediately before the Fringe, just to add to the last-minute pressure and increase my chocolate-eating.

On 16th August, my home phone is moving from BT to O2 and my broadband is moving from Pipex to O2. All arranged – letters from O2, BT and Pipex confirming everything… then, today, a letter and text from O2 saying they’ve cancelled it all. Eventually (after 50 minutes with O2, BT and the mysterious Equifax company), it turns out I’ve suddenly developed a bad credit rating (despite being Mr Squeaky Clean) and O2 have turned me down as untouchable despite the fact I already have my mobile phone with them.

The very dodgy-feeling Equifax credit agency won’t tell me why they’ve given me a bad credit rating without me telling them endless security details about myself over two days – details which they don’t appear to have.

I have a funny feeling this may go back to a bizarre letter I got about a year ago from Littlewoods saying they were going to stop my account because of credit problems. This surprised me as I had never had any account with Littlewoods and it seemed to involve someone ordering goods via my address in North West London for delivery very close to the home of a dodgy South London semi-gangster who appeared in Killer Bitch, the soon-to-be-a-cult-classic movie which I financed.

Dealing with the Chaps has its downsides as well as its upside.

The upside is ease of problem-solving. I once told one of the Chaps about a person who was giving me hassle and he said: “Back of a pillion. Pop-pop-pop. End of your problems.” I declined, though with profuse thanks for the offer.

The downside is you may get your identity stolen and/or end up in a packing crate on a dockside in Albania.

Time will tell with the very unhelpful Equifax – well, the next two days – including tonight when I’m videoing Helen Keen’s late night Camden preview of her Fringe show It Is Rocket Science! V2 and tomorrow when I’m leaving London at 0600 to drive up to Edinburgh with elfin comedian Laura Lexx (she once worked as an elf in Finland) and Helen Keen’s set and props.

Helen Keen’s preview of It Is Rocket Science! V2 last night got a very fast and very good review at lunchtime today, around twelve hours after it finished. An admirable example of the power of modern technology, which is also evident in the release today of a Janey Godley Nokia app for mobile phones.

This clever little app keeps the user updated on the move with what’s going on in the sometimes very very very odd world of “the Godmother of Scottish Comedy”… “Scotland’s funniest woman”… “the most outspoken female stand-up in Britain”.  You can check her 500,000-hits-per-week blog (I have seen the figures and think that’s usually an underestimate), watch videos she’s uploaded to YouTube and download the regular podcasts she’s currently making with her daughter Ashley Storrie.

All this techno stuff is enough to make the late ‘godfather of alternative comedy’ Malcolm Hardee turn in his urn. He found even simple e-mails a bit daunting although (unlike me – but who knows what the future holds) he was arrested and imprisoned for credit card fraud. He found it surprising in his latter years that he was bombarded by letters from American Express and other credit card companies offering him gold cards immediately, no questions asked.

Malcolm is in my mind because, last weekend, the Independent on Sunday listed its Top Ten Tips for comedy shows at the Fringe this year. Number One was Aaaaaaaargh! Malcolm Hardee Documentary Preview. It’s possibly the first ever time a film, as opposed to a live performance, has been recommended by a national newspaper as the best comedy event to see at the Fringe.

It’s definitely an event rather than a film, as it involves the screening of a 32-minute documentary The Tunnel (about the notorious comedy club which Malcolm ran), plus the trailer for a longer documentary currently in production: Malcolm Hardee: All The Way From Over There plus a trailer for that longer film. There is a trailer for The Tunnel short itself on YouTube here.

Ah! 21st Century Comedy!

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