Last night, Paul Eccentric was back in London for his book launch, having performed at the Glastonbury Festival, where he fell off the stage for a second time – I think the first time was three years ago, but the people in the medical tent still recognised him and, as someone said last night:
“It is not good when the people in the medical tent recognise you.”
Paul is a man of many festivals. He even has a catchy performance poem about it.
Last night, he was launching his new book The Edinburgh Fringe in a Nutshell which is somewhat optimistically subtitled A Performer’s Guide to Staying Solvent and Sane at the World’s Biggest Arts Festival.
The first part – staying solvent – might be possible after reading this book. The second – staying sane – might be a fantastical step too far.
Last night’s book launch also included performances from, among others, Rob Auton (who, at one Edinburgh Fringe, managed the impressive feat of getting a 5-star AND a 2-star review of the same performance of the same show), multi-award-winning poet Paul Lyalls (who one year tried to sell the exhaust from his car at his Fringe performances) and Julie Mullen (who looks sane and ‘normal’ but looks can be deceptive).
I should point out other Fringe books are available:
Critic Mark Fisher’s The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide: How to Make Your Show A Success (2012) which includes theatre as well as comedy shows… And performer Ian Fox’s How to Produce, Perform and Write an Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Show (2014, now in its second edition).
“So why did you write your book?” I asked Paul Eccentric last night.
“I have no idea, really,” he told me, “but someone during the Fringe said to me You seem to be very angry and I said I’m just a bit pissed-off with myself.”
“Why?” I asked
“For badly managing my day, for taking too many bookings in too short a time and forgetting to eat and drink. The guy said: You should write this down to stop other people making these mistakes. So I did.”
“Someone,” I said, “ told me they thought the book was fascinating to read even if you’re not a performer and not thinking of going up there.”
“Well, people have sai…” Paul started to reply.
I added: “…although it was your father who told me that.”
“He wants to know where his money went,” laughed Paul.
The book’s sections include:
- How To Do It
- The Show Itself
- Travel and Accommodation
- Publicising Your Show
- Adventures on The Fringe
with advice from producers, performers, venue runners, publicists, reviewers and even me (I seem to have turned into a ‘Fringe commentator’ according to this book).
If nothing else, it is worth reading to see that even a wise participant like Paul Eccentric who has excellent and highly practical advice to give can be conned into thinking I know what I am talking about.