I’m at home, in my PJs, after having slept in a bed that wasn’t just a thinly designed cover for a bag of springs, and having eaten food with vitamins in it. I am the sort of tired you can only have after performing nearly every day for 3 and a bit weeks straight. I often feel that as you finish your last show at the Edinburgh Fringe for the year, someone should arrive at your venue and wrap you in a foil blanket like they do at marathons, before giving you a banana and a small medal that says ‘Everyone’s a winner’ that you can take home and show your mum. People like to pretend the Fringe is an arts festival or a hub of creativity, and yeah, sure it is, but mainly, primarily, it’s an endurance test that Bear Grylls would probably struggle to survive. All in all I’m pleased I did it, but I’m more pleased to be home and I’m fairly sure I won’t be returning next year. Maybe. A bit.
So as an epilogue to my Edinburgh Fringe adventures for 2015, here’s a 3 part blog with all the stuff none of you wanted to know:
PART 1: STATISTICS
Some top statistics from this year’s Fringe:
Amount of baked potatoes eaten: 1 (controversially with cottage cheese)
Average steps walked per day: 15,000
Amount of times I complained about how many steps I was doing and how my feet hurt: 100,000
Melancholic sad elves seen: 1 (in Nicolson Square, looking mournfully at flyers, with a bright orange face and pointed ears)
Amount of times I accidentally said ‘Oh Fuck Off’ out loud to a theatre group doing vocal warm ups on the street: 1 (but was tempted so many more times)
Average audience numbers to my show: 40-50ish
Amount of people who walked out of my show: 12 ( 6 were in the wrong show, two were old ladies who got sad that it wasn’t just about space, 4 were people who said as they walked in ‘I hear you’re a controversial comedian’. I said ‘No I’m not’. They still came in and sat down, and lasted 5 minutes)
Amount of times my show was interrupted by people who can’t read signs saying there is a show on: 88
Amount of people who didn’t put anything in the bucket/space helmet at the end of my show: 36
Amount of foreign currency coins put in my bucket/space helmet at the end of the show, over the month: 7 (€2.81, and 3 Czech Koruna)
Amount of times I went to Mary’s Milk Bar: 4 ( I wanted to go a lot more but it was too busy)
Amount of shows seen at the Fringe: 24 and 1/2
Amount of shows seen not at the Fringe: 2
Amount of shows I said I’d see but didn’t: 42
Number of times I realised I didn’t have the right amount of layers of clothes on for the Edinburgh weather: 24
Dimensions of the room I was staying in: 6m x 7m
Number of nights I drank too much: 2
Number of times I ate pesto pasta: 3
Number of crepes eaten: 6
Number of times I gave an excuse so I didn’t have to go out because I was already in my pyjamas: 12
Number of times I asked people if they were ‘surviving’ ok: 65
Number of times I said something bitter about something to do with comedy: 216
Times I lost my voice: 3
Times my voice came back: 2
Muscles pulled: 1
Colds caught: 1
Times I said I won’t be doing Edinburgh again next year: 78
Times I said how well it was all going: 53
Times I called the general population something rude because Edinburgh was too busy: 782
Badges I was given and forget to wear: 8
Times a seagull shat on me: 1
Funniest things heard at the Fringe:
- Speaking to a sweet shop owner who used to be a contortionist in the circus. I said ‘I bet working in a circus was very intense.’ And she said ‘Yes it was but everytime it got too tense, I could go hide in the washing machine’.
- Hearing Stewart Lee on 6 Music announce the other DJs that week that were at the Fringe. He mentioned Justin Moorhouse then said ‘I’ve never met Justin Moorhouse but my kids love him. They found a picture of him dressed as an egg once, then put it on their wall and they laugh at it everyday.’ Wonderful.
- A Scottish man on Princes Street who when realising he was stuck in a crowd of slow moving people shouted loudly ‘What is this? Fucking cunts everywhere.’
PART 2: MONEY AND THE FREE FRINGE
A lot of people have a lot of thoughts about the Free Fringe, which is what a lot of people do about a lot of things I suppose. Some people on it were unfairly and rashly treated this year, some had not great rooms or had to move venues every night which seemed a pain. I had a few gripes with it this year myself – a massive hole in the venue wall that people would often wander into the show mid way through and interrupt, slamming doors every two minutes, lack of signage. But overall the venue I was in was good. The staff that were there were lovely and would’ve been even more on top of things if they weren’t so understaffed due to it being their first year with three Fringe rooms. They were always friendly, as helpful as they could be and generally a good laugh. One even helped diagnose exactly which muscle I managed to pull in my chest because he’s studying sports physio at Uni. Sure, I would’ve loved to have had a room where the audience were brought in for me, where the seats were ticketed and where people knew to come to.
But if I’d had those things, I’d also have had a lot lower numbers, and I’d be sitting at home now mourning all the thousands of pounds I’d lost just to do a show that was as ignored as everyone else’s. Instead I didn’t have a smaller audience than 20, with that just being one occasion and usually numbers of 40 plus, up to 100 on weekends. Instead of moping over all my debt, I’ve managed to earn more this August than I earn from gigging most months of the year. Sure that’s partly to do with the way I planned things – Comedy Club 4 Kids payments, This Is Your Trial payments too – but it’s in large part to having a show where people could contribute at the end of the show, in a venue I didn’t have to pay for. On reflection I think I’d prefer some slamming doors and having to incorporate dealing with interruptions, than spending the rest of the year nursing financial wounds again. Yes, free fringe things could be better organised and yes, I know others didn’t have the same experience, but without it I probably wouldn’t have done my show at all. So I’m a big fan indeed.
PART 3: BIBLIOGRAPHY
Someone asked me if I could do a bibliography of my show as it had so many references in it. There’s a few I can’t find decent links to, but for those of you that came, here you go:
NASA’s Astronomy Picture Of The Day: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html
The NASA New Horizons Mission page: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/index.html
ESA’s blog for the Rosetta satellite and Philae Lander on Comet 67P: http://blogs.esa.int/rosetta/
Chris Hadfield – An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1447257103 (Sorry, it’s an Amazon link)
Lord Rees’ comments on humans inability to understand the universe: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/293380
A recent development regarding David Cameron’s comments on Minor Extremism: http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/marvel-villains-are-now-quoting-david-cameron–WklhQIWs0Nx
Overview – a beautiful, short 19 minute film about the Overview Effect on astronauts: https://vimeo.com/55073825 (see also the feature by the same people called ‘Planetary’ for a few of my other reference points http://weareplanetary.com )
Ta Nehisi Coates – Between The World And Me. http://www.amazon.com/Between-World-Me-Ta-Nehisi-Coates/dp/0812993543 This is a letter from the author to his teenage son on how life is growing up as a young black man in America. http://www.amazon.com/Between-World-Me-Ta-Nehisi-Coates/dp/0812993543 (Sorry, Amazon link again)
John Metta – I, Racist https://thsppl.com/i-racist-538512462265 A very powerful article/speech on inherent racism in Western culture.
Article on Saudi Arabia selling weapons to ISIS – http://www.wnd.com/2015/03/iraqis-find-saudi-supplies-weapons-destined-for-isis/
‘Sing Your Song’ a film on the life of Harry Belafonte. Watch this, it’s wonderful: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sing_Your_Song
http://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk – The website all about the rewilding project in the UK.
George Monbiot – Feral http://www.amazon.co.uk/Feral-Searching-Enchantment-Frontiers-Rewilding-ebook/dp/B00AHO28MW/ref=la_B001JSF9W6_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1441040390&sr=1-1 All about the notions and benefits of rewilding.
How Wolves Change Rivers – a short youtube vid on the effects of reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone National Park https://youtu.be/ysa5OBhXz-Q
6th mass extinction/Holocene Extinction: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_extinction
The Mars One Project http://www.mars-one.com
‘All Dressed Up For Mars and Nowhere To Go’ https://medium.com/matter/all-dressed-up-for-mars-and-nowhere-to-go-7e76df527ca0 An article on why the Mars One mission probably won’t happen.
The Pale Blue Dot: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Blue_Dot
OUTRO MUSIC: Chris Hadfield – ‘Space Oddity’ https://youtu.be/KaOC9danxNo
POSTER ARTWORK: All by Tom Humberstone who’s website is here: http://www.ventedspleen.com and has this superb graphic novel collection of all his New Statesmen comic strips here: http://tomhumberstonestore.bigcartel.com/product/in-the-frame-2012-2014
That’s all folks. Now back to bed for a few days…..
If you like my words (or rather, words I use. They aren’t mine. I don’t own them) check out www.tiernandouieb.co.uk where you can buy my 2014 stand-up special and join up to my mailing list among other things.