Its the return of the blog, oooh yeah, return of the blog, oh right now, return of the blog, you know that I’ll be back, here I am. etc etc cue your best Mark Morrison/Kermit The Frog voice. Anyway, yes, hello, this blog is back. Hello? Hello? Oh. There’s no one here anymore after my month long hiatus. Oops. I can understand why. What is the point of a daily blog if it doesn’t happen daily? Or even weekly? Well my friends, foes, chum, chumps and chumpettes, very little. Though to be honest, I had very little to write about in my time away and I thought it best not to bestow you with paragraphs of dull and instead take a breather from literary rantings. To sum up the last month – I gigged in Estonia and Finland which was incredible, but on the downside made gigging the UK shit again. In one week I dealt with horribly chatty women who talked all the way through the show in Poole, a lovely huge crowd in Chichester, an apathetic, bribed crowd in Leicester, a racist crowd in Bournemouth and a meh crowd in London. After feeling hugely deflated about the place I call home, I fucked off to Norway for a week where they proved to me that the world is lovely, with mountains, fjords, instant heart attack inducing brown cheese and respect for comedy. Incredible comedy gigs, a better understanding of English than many people I’ve met in the UK – and I mean British people, I’m not being xenophobic – and audiences who actually want to see a show. I’ve since been back and spending most days crying with sadness at the government’s constant destruction of the country, playing far too much Skyrim, occasionally blogging for the Huffington Post and doing gigs I honestly couldn’t give a shit about including one in Kent where I managed to insult a deaf women who sat in the front row with her back to the stage. To be honest, she deserved it. It was a temporary period of disdain and so each day, this blog would merely have said things like ‘honestly, you are all fuckheads’ before describing how I want to put my head in a pit and get a career in sleeping.
But I’ve missed typing that sort of thing, so here I am again, perhaps not daily, but with regular witterings to tell you – the one person that may still occasionally check this shit – about my life that you really don’t care about. Well to add to that ever growing set of things you know about me that probably take up useful space in your brain that you might need to do things like remember the PIN number for that card you only use in emergency, where you live, or your name, here is today’s newsflash: I’ve decided not to do a solo show at the Edinburgh Festival this year. Yes. There you go. Woah woah woah, stop those tears chickadee. Don’t go tearing up your travel tickets to the Scottish city, and pissing all over those few tickets you bought to see other shows you don’t care about but thought you might fill some of your otherwise meaningless life time with. I really would love to do a solo show and I have an idea for one and everything, but I’m not going to. Why? Well it’s all for a very good reason i.e. I really can’t afford it. I’m fairly sure that after owing at least £5k every year – not including all the money I don’t earn during Edinburgh having an impact on my bills for the two months that follow – that there was an audible cheer from my bank when I decided not to go. As a visitor you may think Edinburgh is expensive, but you honestly have no idea just how bad it is for performers and how much it costs us to work for a month. Yep, we pay to work. That’s worse than the government’s ‘slavery under any other name, still smells like elitist, right wing evil’ workfare scheme. At least those unfortunate souls forced into stacking shelves for nought but the threat of losing their benefits didn’t have to pay to do it. I can imagine, had Argos decided to stay in the scheme, just how shitty service would have got if every time someone served you, they did it without getting paid. They’d spend at least 45 minutes hiding at the back before bringing you a box of something they’ve spent 10 minutes of that kicking with hate. Now imagine them doing all that but having to pay for the privilege. Not only are you not getting your item number from the catalogue, but you’re getting a turd in a box instead. Maximum disdain for life achieved.
Edinburgh every year costs us lot bloody loads. You have to hire the venue at a minimum of £1500-2500 for the month. Add to that the PR cost of at least £1k+, printing and flyer costs of the same again, accommodation of the same again, promotion costs of at least the same again, and enough money to pay your rent back home, all your bills and to live for a month despite not receiving an ounce of pay. ‘Ouch’ is an understatement. So this year, I’ve decided the Fringe can go punch itself in its overblown face. Especially as with the Olympics cutting into it, I really don’t expect to make anything less than minus £4k. Which is what would happen if I sold out everyday. Its like saying your worst case scenario is a punch in the face where you lose all your teeth and best case scenario is a punch in the face but two of your teeth remain making you look crazy.
There is no such thing as a union for comedians, because despite us being a bloody friendly lot (and we are. Seriously. I can only name about 10 comics I think are utter bellends), comics are still fiercely competitive. If a union of comics said they wouldn’t do a certain show, then that show would just offer it to newer comics who were desperate for a leg up and they’d still end up with a full, if less experienced bill. I do wish, however, that we could muster up a union, just once, to decide that everyone – absolutely everyone – didn’t go to Edinburgh one year. Just once. Then they’d all realise that a festival of comedy, theatre and music can’t happen without comedians, actors and musicians. We’d all meet in Hyde Park, remember what the sunshine was like in August and drink beer while promoters and venues in Scotland realised they need to make things more reasonable in these times of inflation and recession.
Its quite hard in a way to shout on stage – as I have been these last few weeks – about the oppression of the current economy and the government, and how people are becoming less and less able to live within their means – when the comedy scene has been like that for years. Most fees haven’t changed since the early 90’s, despite fuel, food and hotels all raising considerably in price since then. I’m honestly having to look at gigs that are out of London and work out if, after I drive there and spend petrol, its worth me doing, which is really sad. Especially as some of the best audiences are those the furthest away. So yeah, this year, no Edinburgh solo show. However, like a total tool, I’ll still be there doing kids shows, missing any kind of warm weather and spending my whole time missing doing a solo show. Ho hum.
See why I took a break? Well no more. You can look forward to me explaining about the miseries of the world more regularly again. Right, now off to see an ancient Welsh castle and spend the whole time complaining that I haven’t got wi-fi.