Sorry for not blogging whilst away – I couldn’t remember my login details or the address where I need to go to to log in! doh!
Anyway, I’ve played nine gigs in the last two weeks, and had a whale of a time at the Edinburgh Festival.
But before Edinburgh, I had gigs in Glasgow and Berwick On Tweed. Both gigs were double-headers with Calamateur, aka Andrew Howie. Andrew got stuck in the highlands behind all the landslides on the day of the Glasgow gig, and ended up arriving at the venue half way through my set. The venue was a bar called Brel – a lovely place, with very helpful staff and a great ambience. A great place to play.
Thursday we went into Edinburgh, first to see Andrew’s mate Gareth (as featured in Danny Wallace’s book, Join Me), and then I went into to scope out the lie of the land for the festival. Never having been to the festival before, I had a wander round, and called in at the C Venues press office to find out who all the people were that I’d be talking to on the phone for weeks. Also picked up a few flyers and posters to dish out, but didn’t really get a handle on just how aggressively one has to flyer is Edinburgh is to work…
Friday was the Berwick gig – at The Barrels Ale House, which has changed a lot since I used to go in there when I was still at school and underage. It now has a lovely stage in the corner of the cellar, and loads of fantastic music on there each month. ‘Twas great fun to play a home town gig, and Andrew played another fantastic set – if you get a chance to see Calamateur live, take it, he’s marvellous.
Saturday was back to Edinburgh for a day’s flyering and sticking up posters. Still hadn’t realised at this point, that walking anywhere is a chance to give out flyers, so didn’t do as much promo as I should have. Still, I did get to meet up with Abe Laboriel – I usually meet up with Abe in LA each January during NAMM, so it was lovely to have him over here for a change, and get the chance for a nice long talk. His set, as part of the American Gospel Music fest was amazing – Paul Jackson Jnr on guitar was jaw droppingly good, and Abe was his usual inspirational self. Oh, and on Saturday afternoon, bumped into Dave Hunter, old friend from college that I’ve not seen for years. Very nice surprise.
Sunday, first gig day – more flyering, postering and badgering people to come to the gig. First gig went well, small but enthusiastic crowd, lovely venue. Didn’t set up a mic for chatting, so was probably not particularly audible.
Monday, The Small Person arrives in Edinburgh, but has to head off to meet up with old friends. No worries, I had a radio show to do anyway – had been booked for a couple of months to play on the BBC Radio Scotland ‘Arts Show’. The other guests on the day were Jenny Eclair, Barry Cryer and Ronnie Golden promoing their show Men In Beige, Terrafolk, and the cast of one of the South African Shows (very good they were too…) Was most amusing to be sat in an artist’s booth at the side of the stage with Jenny, Barry and Ronnie, each with our ‘publicists’. The show went really well, and I arranged to go and see Men In Beige and Jenny’s show The Andy Warhol Syndrome. Monday gig another small crowd, but once again highly appreciative.
Tuesday Met up with Tom StreetTeam and Sarah-Jane for lunch-time curry – much fun it was too. Followed by much flyering. The Small Person proved to be a flyering genius, picking a great spot from which to get to lots of people. Went to see ‘Men In Beige’ which was fantastic – great jokes, marvellous songs, laughed til we cried. Tuesday gig major jump in attendance, and adding a mic to the set up meant the crap I was talking between tunes was much more audible, and the music/talking bollocks split was now about 60/40. It’s amazing what hanging out with funny people does for your ability to think of amusing things to say between tunes.
Wednesday was a very wet day… most days were very wet days, and when it’s pissing down with Rain, flyering becomes very difficult. But hey, there were press people coming in, so hopefully another good turnout…. bit of a drop in numbers, and the stress of trying to flyer people in the rain meant I wasn’t quite as sparky as the night before… still, playing very well by now, so all is good.
By now the days have a distinct pattern to them. Get up, drive from Berwick to Edinburgh, park car miles out of town to avoid insane parking charges, walk into town flyering all the way, head to strategic flyering points – me to The Royal Mile, small person to C main. food, catch a show, back out flyering – me to St George’s West, Small Person back to C Main. Another pretty good attendance, back to being more funny again.
Friday went to see Jenny Eclair’s show, which is fantastic – a one woman show as an ex-reality TV star – made it big on a docu-soap, did lots of ads, magazines, Richard and Judy etc. then fell from grace spectacularly. Fantastic bit of writing, well acted, lots of laughs and a few tears at the more poignant moments. Top stuff. Another good gig – audience figures steadily growing as word gets round.
Saturday last day. Flyering like mad, til we ran out of flyers. Biggest crowd of the week, just wish I had the spare time to extend the run. Proof that what I do works at Edinburgh. Marvellous reaction, loads of CDs sold, met lots of lovely people after the gig, then loaded up the car and back to Berwick. Job’s a good’un.
So all in all a fantastic week. I know so many people whose first Edinburgh Fringe experience was to lose thousands, so to have the chance to play a low risk gig like this was marvellous. And a great chance to get to know how Ediburgh works. I really want to do the whole run next year ( though will have to find someway of getting away in time for Greenbelt!) Augusts will never be the same again!
Now I’m back and sorting out stuff for Greenbelt, and for my gigs in Sept/Oct/Nov. It never stops, thank God.by