Tuesday, August 30, 2005

29/08/05 Below Par

From being fairly competent at golf earlier on this year, my game has completely collapsed. Thankfully I am not in danger of winning the sheepskin jacket awarded to the player with the worst score. I had moments where I was seriously concerned though.

28/08/05 Lost Weekend

I have headed off to Auchterarder for our annual golfing weekend jaunt with the Stirling University old boys. The usual mix of talking bollocks, drinking and bad golf.

27/08/05 Ashes To Ashes

Funk to Funky
We think you're a
Cheeky Monkey

Looks like my Ashes bet is a goner. My winning streak comes to an end. £100 goes down the ole swannee. Still, never mind, my Graeme Souness “getting sacked before the end of the season” bet is looking fairly assured.
I’m still having my Russian Doll/Printing Initiatives nightmares. Every time I escape from one Russian doll, I find myself trapped in a slightly bigger one.
“Russian Dolls” could actually be the name of a Internet Marriage Agency based in Glasgow specialising in Eastern European females looking to marry west of Scotland males, (the men are probably very attractive based on the notion that they won’t live very long, and the bride-to-be will inherit their estate at a relatively early age)

26/08/05 No Escape

I’ve been having a terrible recurring nightmare in which I’m trapped sleeping inside a set of Russian dolls having a nightmare about being asleep having a nightmare in which I’m tied to a chair in a meeting room and am being forced to watch the powerpoint presentation on “Printing Initiatives” over and over again, with my eyelids pinned back like what was done to Malcolm McDowell in “A Clockwork Orange”.

25/08/05 Dream On

I’ve been having a terrible recurring nightmare in which I’m asleep having a nightmare in which I’m tied to a chair in a meeting room and am being forced to watch the powerpoint presentation on “Printing Initiatives” over and over again, with my eyelids pinned back like what was done to Malcolm McDowell in “A Clockwork Orange”.

24/08/05 It's A Nightmare

I’ve been having a terrible recurring nightmare in which I’ve been tied to a chair in a meeting room and been forced to watch the powerpoint presentation on “Printing Initiatives” over and over again, with my eyelids pinned back like what was done to Malcolm McDowell in “A Clockwork Orange”.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

23/08/05 Park's Circus Last Rites

Today we had a Powerpoint Presentation at work entitled "Printing Initiatives".
This presentation took the concept of dullness into undreamt of realms.
In a way, I was impressed, and thought that it could make an interesting Fringe play for next years' festival.
At night the "Park's Circus" crew assembled at David Bann's restaurant for a celebratory nosh up. Myself, Patrick, Tony and Jools being in attendance on this auspicious occasion,
(Matthew the techy couldn't make it)
The food was well received and the wine flowed freely.
We then went to see Jason Byrne at the Assembly Rooms. We all found him to be a big disappointment. I sat stony faced for the duration of the show. I assume he just had an off night and couldn't really get any good riffs going off the audience. It was a pity, because I was really in the mood for a right old laugh.
Unfortunately, it was all very pedestrian. I think we were all anticipating being blown away by him, but it just didn't happen.
Had a late pint at Holyrood Tavern.

22/08/05 Flatlining

No electrical activity of any kind was reported in Jim Park's brain on this day, so there can be no meaningful Blog entry.
He was back at work though , and apparently was described as giving an amazingly convincing impression of someone in a persistent vegetative state.
("nothing new there then..!" Ed "Ho Ho")

Monday, August 22, 2005

21/08/05 The Final Curtain

And so "Park's Circus" is no more. The last night was a bit subdued. A reasonable crowd in, but a Sunday night, hangover feel to the evening.
I was anticipating a bigger crowd as there were a lot of people who I'd thought would make it to the show at some stage, but hadn't shown up yet. But they didn't appear. Never mind. I'd rather people just came because they really wanted to, rather than out of any feeling of obligation towards me.
We had a brilliant front row last night of young orchestra musicians who were convulsed with laughter for the whole show. I'd pay good money for people like that to come to every show!
The past 17 shows have certainly been a learning experience.
The delivery has got better. I realise that it would have been a good idea to have at least one day off during the run. We're unlikely to use Roman Eagle Lodge again.
It was too murderously hot, and the venue staff have been fairly rubbish to put it charitably.
We were unlucky with the timing of reviews as the show in the latter stages of the run was immeasurably superior to the first few performances.
But it's been a great experience and I've had a hoot and a half. I'm definitely up for doing another show next year.
Back at work now. Knackered.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

20/08/05 Finishing Strongly

Another really good night. A big appreciative crowd and the show has developed a much better momentum. Having Jools as MC has transformed the show completely. She's great at getting the audience relaxed and then geeing them up.
Instead of running on and offstage doing links etc, the 3 of us can just concentrate on our stand-up routines, and it's making for a much better show.
It'd be nice to get a review of the re-vamped show.
Anyway, we are all in a cheery mood after the show going so well, and proceeded to down several pints, as is our wont of an evening.
We ended up down at the "Pear Shaped" comedy club in the Holyrood Tavern again.
We wanted to see fellow comic Richard pulsford do a spot but just missed him.
Late in the evening, I was horrified when the funster MC Brian Damage announced, "And next up is Jim Park!".
I was there strictly to watch comedy and had already imbibed about 7 pints. I proceeded to do a shambling, slurred impersonation of my material in a chaotic 5 minutes that I can vaguely remember.
I still got pretty good laughs...but I suspect they were largely out of sympathy for my plight.
I think Brian did mention at the end that he "didn't realise quite how pissed Jim was " before he invited me on stage.
It was a very nice gesture to be asked spontaneously to do a spot. I just wish I had been a little more sober.
It was a good learning experience though. I generally don't drink at all before I perform, and this fiasco was a reminder of why my policy is correct.
I suppose you could look at it as a kind of Fringe Comedian "rite of passage" to do a spot of pissed stand-up.
I'm going to try and get another spot next week and will definitely be on the soda & limes before I go on.

Friday, August 19, 2005

19/08/05 Back of the net!!

The best night of the run. Good lively, big crowd. Jools' compering works a treat. A couple of top guest acts. Everyone else on form. Get in there!
Hopefully we can keep up this energy and performance level till Sunday night. Yee ha!
Having to go to work the next day I decided to have a quick beer at the "Castle Arms" before heading off to my scratcher.
Inexplicably, I found myself in "The Holyrood Tavern" at 3am nursing a pint of Tennent's Lager.
How did that happen?
Not my most productive day at work today really.
But hey kids! It's the weekend....!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

18/08/05 Back To Reality

Another tough night. We had about 20 in and they were hard work. I did my best to raise the energy levels, but it was a bit of a losing battle.
I'm shattered. I need to spend about 3 days in a darkened room listening to ambient music.
We had a good laugh in our post-show HQ "The Castle Arms" though.
Rebecca, our guest act for the night, was there with her friend Jeanette. It turned out that Jeanette's mum, Maureen, had given her a letter to give to Rebecca.
This contained a number of handwritten jokes that Maureen thought Rebecca "might be able to use in her act".
They were mostly inoffensive hoary old clunkers, but one joke did stand out from the rest.
It began something like "Why do women get thrush?"
"Because it gives them experience of dealing with an irritating cunt before they get married"
This brought the roof down in the pub as we speculated on Maureen the respectable 63 year old housewife in Sale, Manchester coming up with material like that!
I think Rebecca should introduce these jokes explaining the circumstances of the source of the material. It would certainly make me howl with laughter.
I am now back at work. No-one has yet commented on my show. I find this quietly hilarious. Come on....do your worst...I can take it!
4 shows left. I can see the finishing line approaching. I hope we get good comedy crowds for the weekend and finish with a flourish.
My Ashes Australia bet was looking a bit ropey this week. However the Aussies got a battling draw and it's 1-1 with 2 matches to go.
It is a lot closer than I anticipated though and could go either way.
I made £95 last night as a result of Scotland not winning in Austria and England not winning in Denmark.
I have to pay tribute to Rab "Butterfingers" Douglas in goal for Scotland. Without his timely intervention in gifting Austra an equaliser, I'd have been £200 down overall.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

17/08/05 Good Stuff!

We virtually sold out last night. That's great for a Tuesday night. I knew quite a few folk in the audience, but even allowing for that there must be a fairly good "word of mouth" going round about the show to justify that level of audience.
Our glorious sound technician didn't arrive till 9.55pm (that's showtime), causing a little unnecessary anxiety, but the show went well, and the sound system was working again!
I had another gig at the "Pear Shaped Club" at the Holyrood Tavern later on. This is viewed as potentially a tough gig as the audience (made up of a sizeable contingent of pissed up comics), can get pretty mouthy.
I started off and got a fairly decent reaction.
However, a couple of minutes in, it all went completely off. The audience were in sustained hysterics for the remainder of my set. The air safety/campbells soup stuff went down a storm.
I've honestly never had such a big reaction to my material and I found it as baffling as I did highly enjoyable.
It was just a short 5 minute set I was doing. I loved it though, absolutely loved it. The biggest high of the Fringe so far for me!
I spoke to Jaelith a promoter from Shropshire after the gig. She really liked my stuff and offered to get me work in comedy festivals she organises down south.
All in all, a good night. Sat blethering and supping lager in the Holyrood Tavern till 3.45am.
I also have to give myself a little medal for having managed to not succumb to the perils of nicotine during the Fringe. It's been sorely tempting but I've managed to resist so far!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

16/08/05 Park's Circus Unplugged

Last night didn't look promising when our illustrious venue staff told us that the sound system was knackered. They thought that another production's radio mics were causing interference, but that as their show finished just before ours, they were 90% certain that the problem would then be resolved, (there was loud humming every time we tried to switch on the mic or play a CD).
Predictably, the problem wasn't resolved, so we were forced to do a performance without mics. The only other option was to cancel.
Ironically, we had probably our best gig of the run.
Everyone just came out all guns blazing, as we felt we had to make our acts bigger to compensate for the lack of amplification.
We had a really nice decent sized audience in and they lapped it all up.
I don't know whether we did or not, but that was a night that you'd really pray there was a reviewer in.
We had the adverse circumstances of the technical problems to deal with, but we overcame them and really stormed it. Spirit of the Fringe and all that kind of stuff.
Of course, knowing our luck with reviewers, it's unlikely there was one in last night.

Monday, August 15, 2005

15/08/05 Ho Hum

Oh well, we get a 2 star review in The Scotsman. It's a fairly lazy piece and doesn't really go into any specifics about the strengths and weaknesses of individual acts.
Whilst all the comedians are viewed as having "something to offer", we are criticised in that "their performances are not confident enough to sustain an enjoyable rapport with the audience".
It's probably fair comment for the Saturday show, as it was a pretty awkward night for all of us. Shame again, that we didn't get the reviewer on a better night, because I genuinely believe that we are worth 3 or 4 stars on the nights when we are truly kicking ass.
It's certainly true though that "inexperience" comes into play when you are dealing with a tricky audience. When everyone is laughing and it's all going well, it's a piece of piss. You're relaxed, the audience is relaxed...it's pure enjoyment.
The benefit of experience allows you to "read" the room, and adjust your act to suit that particular audience.
In the grand scheme of things though, I suppose 2 stars isn't too bad really.
A lot of comics I admire and respect at this year's Fringe have come a cropper with scathing 1 star reviews.
It's all about timing, timing, timing.
I'm not down about it though. I do genuinely believe in the show and think it's a quality piece of entertainment when everything is going well.
Even though Rudyard Kipling is, to quote Richard Herring, "a total fucking idiot", his advice about treating both triumph and disaster as imposters, is totally appropriate in this context.
There are a lot of deluded shit comics in this business who just keep plugging away blissfully unaware of the tumbleweed blowing across the stage during their acts.
I don't want to be like that. I don't think I am though.
Anyway, I'm in this for the long haul. The experience of doing the 10 shows up till now of "Park's Circus" has been a really steep learning curve for me.
I can't wait to try out my new longer set on the comedy circuit when the festival is finished.
On a more positive note I received news this morning that 3 parking tickets which I had appealed against have all been scrapped.
That's one in the eye for the evil army of commission-hungry traffic wardens who spread daily misery to the gentle residents of Coates Gardens!

14/08/05 Sunday Sunday

A small but likeable crowd gathers for our Sunday night show. I really enjoyed it and felt very loose and relaxed.
Our guest act Rebecca almost made me fall off my stool in shock with some edgy London bombing material. It's fair to say she's become a little darker since I last saw her! Still consistently makes me giggle though.
She's in action tonight in the "So You Think You're Funny" semi-final. So, get in there, Rebecca!
We've re-vamped the format and now have the glamorous, burlesque charms of Jules linking the various acts together, rather than us swapping MC duties.
We all agree that it works a lot better....
Jules is a 5th dan Flyerer as well, and effortlessly gets the punters on the Royal Mile interested in the show.
The rest of us flyering now resembles a scene from "Dawn Of The Dead" as we assume zombie characters and lethargically explain to anyone willing to listen why our show is hilarious and unmissable...

Sunday, August 14, 2005

13/08/05 Tired and Emotional

The "Harvey Nichols" TV makeover was very funny. Iona, who works for Scottish Media Group put me forward as a suitably scruffy case in need of "transformation", and I was promised the opportunity to plug the show.
It was all done in a bit of a rush as the deadline was very tight. It was intended as a piece of light relief to counter-balance the coverage of Robin Cook's funeral.
Basically, I was shown before and after using a split-screen, with a normal scruffy Jim alongside a Gucci designer clothes wearing trendy Jim.
I was filmed coming down an escalator and had to run back up it to do a re-take.
I tripped near the top and only just avoided putting a hole in the knee of my £599 trousers. (and no, I DIDN'T get to keep the clothes! shocking!)
I was asked how I felt in my new cobber and replied ; "Well, I feel sophisticated, confident and elegant ; and I think I may wear this for my show "Park's Circus" at Roman Eagle Lodge, Venue 21 at 9.55pm", and then did a big Eric Morecambe style cheesy grin to camera.
I was then filmed leaving the shop with a dolly bird on each arm gazing lovingly into my eyes.
I watched the footage later on "Scotland Today" lying on the floor with my hands over my face. To say it was slightly cheesy is something of a huge understatement but it also was very, very funny. And thoughts raced through my head of all the people I've ever known who might have chanced upon this remarkable news story featuring me, whilst they were having their fish fingers and chips.
The show on Friday night was another fairly rough one.
We had a big stag night in and I took a large amount of pelters from them, but generally managed to give as good as I got.
I felt as though I'd done a few boxing rounds when I came offstage though.
We got a review for our Wednesday show. It was a 2 star review in the "3 Weeks" newspaper. This was unfortunate as this was by a considerable distance our least successful night. The 3 previous nights had been rocking. This night had come as something of a shock as we were confronted with a small, very unresponsive audience for the first time. The positive quote bits were "great ideas", "all were likeable" and "original and funny".
The main thrust of the criticism was that we appeared "daunted" on stage, and our "great ideas" never went anywhere. Fair enough, but a real shame they picked that night.
Saturday night was a fairly decent crowd of about 40. The Scotsman reviewer was in. Yikes. I wasn't too pleased with my performance. I was edgy after my previous night's mauling by the Stag party, and I suspect I looked a little tense on stage.
Got fairly solid laughs throughout though, (I thought).
My step-brother was in with a friend. He watched me then left immediately after my set, as he wanted to get back to the pub. Of course, this action of him leaving after my set could be misinterpreted by the reviewer, couldn't it?
Tony got a great reaction, but strangely Patrick's material didn't get it's usual intensity of laughter. Also, 3 people left just minutes before the end complaining about the heat. It is like a blast furnace in the venue. I don't blame them.
I've got a deep foreboding about what the Scotsman review will say. Again, we have been unlucky in the timing of a press visit, but hey, thems the breaks.
The review tomorrow will determine the overall success of the show.

Friday, August 12, 2005

12/08/05 Scotland Today

This afternoon I have been asked by the STV news programme "Scotland Today" to take part in a makeover at "Harvey Nichols" store in Edinburgh.
I have been suggested by one of the researchers as being "badly in need of one".
I have been promised that I will be allowed an opportunity to plug the Fringe show.
I am acutely aware that I run the risk of making an absolute twat out of myself on national TV. However, the publicity opportunity has to be seen to justifying whatever happens.
It's on tonight... Friday 12/8 6pm....

11/08/05 Death is bad for business

I noticed that the cafe at the top of Lothian Road has closed down. It hadn't really been there that long.
The cafe premises were previously an Undertakers' Parlour. I have to say that this fact always put me off frequenting this establishment. There's not any particularly logical reason for this. The association with death just isn't a great winning formula for an eating establishment.
I can only assume that a significant number of potential customers felt the same way, hence it's collapse as a business concern.
There was a flat for rent behind "David Bann's" restaurant in St Mary St which lay available for rent for years, (btw yes, of course, I have a business involvement in this restaurant. Why not pop in during the festival? bla bla bla www.davidbann.com)
The problem with this flat was that the kitchen window gave a view of the back of another Undertakers Parlour, and a regular daily scene involved witnessing coffins being loaded and unloaded from hearses, with a monotonous regularity.
Obviously living in this flat would give you a rather uncomfortable daily reminder of your own mortality, and this consequently drastically affected its marketability.
However, there is someone living in it now.
I wonder what sort of people they are?
It was another small audience tonight, but they were all up for it, and it was enjoyable again. Looking forward to some big audiences over the weekend.

10/08/05 The Going Gets Tough

A smaller than usual audience tonight, and by far our toughest evening.
They seemed to be enjoying the show ok as they were all sitting with broad grins on their coupons. However, this "smileyness" was rarely promoted into guffaws of laughter.
There is a problem here. The currency of stand-up comedy is laughter. Nothing else suffices. So it was a real slog getting through the show.
The guest act was John Dixon, (he and his famed "imaginary goose" friend, Gerry).
I instinctively realised from the outset that this was not his ideal audience.
I like his stuff and he really cracks me up but it's very leftfield material. Needless to say the audience were completely baffled by his machine gun delivery and obscure references. He had the cast in absolute stitches backstage though...
I was going to have a night off the beer. However, after this show we all felt like we needed a drink and proceeded to have several...
You can only really have an alcohol free post-performance if you have an average, fairly decent show. A stormer requires celebrating and a slog requires a reassuring pint or two. It's a vicious circle.
I had succumbed the previous evening to some kind of bug which left my throat raw and my nose running furiously. Luckily, it has come and gone within 24 hours.

09/08/05 Where Am I?

The show's going great guns, but now I must sleep.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

08/08/05 Cruising Along

We're averaging 40-50 punters a night which is good. We give a handful of freebies away every night at the youth hostel right next to the venue, and they are always used. It is definitely the only way to get these backpackers in, as they sit in the draughty old hostel bar browsing their copies of "Europe on 50 cents a Day!".
This has the effect of turning the show audience into a United Nations sample every night.
We're getting a lot of people to come in on account of our flyering as well. It does really work. It's tiring, you get fed up with people ignoring your salespitch and walking past without looking at you....but unfortunately, it does really work. So we'll have to keep doing it.
I think it helps that people recognise from the flyer that the people flyering are actually the performers in the show. We hear a lot of remarks along the lines of "that's what the Fringe is really all about..." to which we nod enthusiastically and direct them to the venue.
Tonight was definitely the best in terms of performance and audience reaction.

Monday, August 08, 2005

07/08/05 Cream Crackered!

I struggled to get out of bed this morning. Totally knackered.
I spent the afternoon filming The Edinburgh Samba School taking part in the Festival Cavalcade procession along Princes St.
Another sunny day. They've been doing the parade for 8 years now in a "big" way, and every day has been gloriously sunny. In terms of Scottish weather in August, that is an unbelievable statistic. The odds must be about 10 000 000 to 1 I would have thought, (at a conservative estimate)
There was a pirate theme in evidence this year, and an accompaniment by a big brass section. My intention was to film half of the parade from the float, then dismount and film the second half on the ground. The lorry usually stops now and again. However this year it just kept going continuously and it became clear that there would be no stopping.
Therefore, I had to ignore health and safety directives and jump from a moving lorry. I hope T.E.S.S. appreciate me risking my life to get some artistic shots of the parade. It all sounded great although there were the usual intermittent timing problems between the musicians on the float and the bateria. But the overall impression was great and it was by far the best float in the parade on the evidence I saw.
More flyering at night. It's a 2 for 1 deal on tickets tonight. We get an audience of 60. Patrick's compering is masterly. He has to leave early to do another gig leaving the show in the hopefully capable hands of Tony and I. It feels like a bit of a "Home Alone" situation to us. We do a spot of audience interaction and banter ourselves. It all goes really well. Katy Smurthwaite is the guest act and has me cackling heartily backstage. Tony has me in fits as he spontaneously introduces a dog ventriloquist routine into his act. We're trying to tinker with the show every day, and it's grand when a new idea goes down really well.
What will he have up his sleeve tonight? A nation holds its breath! :-)

06/08/05 Day 2 of The Fringe Show

I awoke with a bit of a dread feeling thinking about another 16 shows to go. I didn't really enjoy the first night. What was good though was that Nicky gave a very detailed critique of my act and what areas he thought could be improved upon in terms of the delivery and storytelling aspects. It's really good to have an honest appraisal and I took a lot of good pointers from our discussion.
I had an early evening slot at the Laughing Horse gig in the "Canon's Gait" bar down the Royal Mile. I decided to try a new beginning and include a brief anecdote describing my grandfather's recurring blocked toilet.
This was a smart move as it got a great reaction. It makes life so much easier if you start with a big belly laugh. It stays in the set. Hurray!
The venue was packed out, probably more than 100 people. It was great to hear that "big crowd" laugh again. I felt much looser and relaxed and remembered how enjoyable it all is when things are going well.
so from a fairly downbeat mood at the start of the day, my comedy mojo was on a high again. It's all so fickle this comedy thing.
Flyering is tough but we're getting people in on the basis of it. Patrick is undoubtedly the "Flyerers' Flyerer" and gets people interested in the show effortlessly with his blarney charm.
Tony and I have to work a little harder! Hopefully we can learn from the master throughout the duration of the show.
I enjoyed the 2nd night. Not a big crowd. 17. But they really enjoyed it and laughed heartily at all the acts.
This Fringe-ing is a great diet...I've lost 5lbs in the last week. A combination of nervous tension and walking miles around Edinburgh every day is doing the business. "The Comedy Diet". That could really take off?

05/08/05 Park's Circus opens!

I had a rather harassed day organising "public liability insurance" for the show. My fault. There have been so many emails relating to the show from the venue, the Fringe Society etc etc that the insurance requirement got lost in the rubble.
Thankfully we managed to arrange it that afternoon...after a struggle!
Me old mucker Nicky Hind arrived in town. He'd flown in from San Francisco for a little European jaunt and was keen to see the opening night of this comedy extravaganza. He's the elder brother of Bob Pereira Hind.
We've known each other for a long time...early in the last century...as we both had the privilege to grow up in the exciting metropolis that is South Queensferry.
Many an enjoyable evening was spent getting pissed at the famous Hawes Inn, as we irritated our mutual friends with a stream of in-jokes and relentlessly "hilarious" banter. This was where Robert Louis Stevenson wrote "Kidnapped". Yes, that is an interesting fact isn't it.
Anyway, Nicky came and helped do some flyering for us.
We had an opening audience of 13. This seemed a good omen...in a kind of "Omen"/666/Damion kind of way.
Some old academic aquaintances of mine arrived in a fairly pissed up state, and proceeded to act like an audience for the "Old Mother Goose" pantomime at the Kings Theatre. Any comedic pause was taken as an opportunity to come up with a hilarious heckle.
I was a bit disgruntled by the whole thing, but I was still pleased to see the pissed old fuckers and enjoyed a post-show beer with them in the handily located "Castle Arms".
The other notable cock up was the moment when it became clear that the audience were more lit up than the stage. I think Matthew had reversed the required house lights/stage settings. Anyway, this got a good laugh when Patrick became aware of it and mentioned he thought that the audience were doing a show.
My own performance was ropey and I went into my Metal Mickey-esque over-fast delivery again. It was my first gig for 3 weeks though (the previous 2 nights gigs I'd been scheduled to do had been cancelled afer a promoter/venue manager dispute), and having such a long gap had contributed to a stuttering display.

04/08/05 Not Long To Go Now

I went to see Richard Herring's show "Someone Likes Yoghurt" at The Pleasance. It was great stuff. Just a pity that it was a very unresponsive audience. It's nicer to be in a packed venue where the whole crowd rocks with laughter.
Nonetheless, I love his stuff. His great talent is to start from a fairly improbable piece of source material and then add layer upon layer of comic takes on it. The biggest laughs are had when he just keeps this process going way beyond the audience's expectations of the material's lifespan . Some may think that he goes on too long on single sections of the show, but I love all that.
I met up with Patrick after the show as he'd just arrived from London. We then went for a swift pint in the Royal Oak.
My upstairs neighbour and his wife came into the bar as they'd been dining in a nearby restaurant. He reads a lot of autobiographies and quoted me a few extracts from some of them, including slippery ex-newspaper editor Piers Morgan. We disagreed on a few fundamentals of what type of comedy is funny and then went on our way.
Later on I caught the BBC Stand Up show. Very strong line up. Compered by Andrew Maxwell. I'd never seen him before, but it was plain to see he is a somewhat sickeningly talented young man. I also enjoyed Lucy Porter, Simon Munnery and Andrew Lawrence.
Lucy's take on a "Bukakke" video almost made me fall off my seat laughing...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

03/08/05 Technical Rehearsal

Myself, Tony and our sound engineer/sambista Matthew met at Roman Eagle Lodge for the "Park's Circus" technical rehearsal. This mainly consisted of Tony and I talking bollocks into a microphone for an hour, as well as adjusting the brightness of the lights and playing some funny cds.
I'd say the event was a success. Quite what the other company in the dressing room, who were forced to listen to all this, thought of our comedy potential is entirely another matter.
Tony has engineered some very funny interactive sound effect cds which had me cackling with laughter.
It's a nice intimate space with a fairly large stage to run about on.
I'm happy with it. I think we'll get a good comedy atmosphere thing going down in it.
Matthew did cause me a brief moment of alarm when he made a reference to the "first night" being on Sunday, when it is in fact 2 days earlier than that, on Friday.
Luckily, he can still do Friday and Saturday.
I had a bit of a panic attack at work during the day as the realisation of the proximity of the first show suddenly dawned. I'd been surprisingly calm about the whole thing up till then, but now it's feeling a little more nervy jangly.
We've cunningly avoided the danger of being stale and over-rehearsed by having no rehearsals whatsoever, thus ensuring a live and dangerous feel to the proceedings.
It's been a bit tricky, what with me in Edinburgh, Tony in Glasgow and Patrick in London.
Hoever, the main body of the show is our individual stand-up routines, which we should all be reasonably familar with. The links and intros might be a bit creaky for the first couple of shows. But they're "previews"...so that's allowed isn't it?

02/08/05 Tour de l'Edinbourg ("King of the Pissheads")

Cheryl was hosting a "Chilli Evening" in honour of James from Australia who was on a short visit to Scotland. He did the IT contractor malarkey as well.
The food was grand and there was a veritable tsunami of wine. Russell brought along a 5 litre monster bottle that he and Colin had bought at a charity auction.
I "hilariously" joked that Russell looked liked a "tiny wine waiter" as he cradled the gigantic vessel.
After a prolonged session of chirpy banter, I cycled back home.
I know this because, I remember cycling to Cheryl's flat, and my bike was definitely back at mine the next morning. However, I can't actually remember the journey cycling back at all. My memory has blanked this episode out.
This is very strange. I'd had a few wines and was fairly squiffy, but I wasn't too bad really. I'm sure I would have had the presence of mind to take detours through the back streets, but I can't be sure.
The next day I also found out that I'd placed a bet on a football match on Betfair.com when I got back. I can't remember doing that either!
I backed Traponzor to beat Famagusta (which they did...and I won £86).
So, I must have been fairly sober-ish to do that?
Anyway, I've now won my last 18 bets and have a made over 3 grand in the last 2 months dancing with the devil of online betting.
It obviously can't last, but it seems like easy money, (and it's tax free of course!).
I don't feel any great compulsion to bet every day. It's just generally when I spot a good opportunity, (or have drunk a lot of red wine...I'll have to get a child safety lock put on the PC).
The rules are stick to your limits, and there is a compulsory 24 hour cooling off period after a losing bet, to avoid the trap of chasing losses by making idiotic punts.
But kids, don't listen to me. I'll likely be out on the street soon, having had to sell my flat and all my possessions to meet my crippling gambling debts.
It could make a good subject for my solo 2006 Fringe show though?

01/08/05 A Blogger's work is never done

Yes, it does become more difficult to to Blog AND work at the same time. What a lightweight! I know...I know...I know....
Talking of weight, since I started cycling a lot, I've lost 3 pounds, (although I've also nearly been killed about 20 times...but hey, it's worth it!)
Since I stopped smoking (yes still abstaining, as I approach the classic ex-smoker's "Beechers Brook", ie doing a show on the Fringe), I have been putting on the lard with reckless abandon.
So much show that the "3 man show" we're doing was on the verge of becoming a "4 man show". Anyway, it's good to see the scales going into reverse. And I expect all the running about during the Fringe, the nervous tension etc etc should ensure that I'm down to 9 stone by the end of August.
Edinburgh is starting to jam up already.
A lot of new traffic restrictions have been implemented since last years' festival.
It's going to be total gridlock. If you want my advice don't even think about bringing your car anywhere near the city centre for the next 3 weeks.

Monday, August 01, 2005

31/07/05 Someone Likes Yoghurt

Someone Likes Yoghurt Posted by Picasa

As I'm involved in a show myself this year, my opportunities for Fringe-going are more limited than usual.
However, I'm going to make a point of catching Richard Herring's show "Someone Likes Yoghurt".
I've been following his Blog "Warming Up" for the past few months (read it here).
He's written a blog entry for every day over the best part of 3 years, and it is the most consistently funny Blog I've ever come across,(in fact it was the inspiration for my own attempt at Blogging).
There's a supreme comic intelligence at work here, and reading his Blog has become part of my daily routine.
It's a measure of how good it is that I get very irritated when a few days go by without a new entry. However, this is a wholly inappropriate complaint, as the man is churning out all this entertainment for nothing. He deserves a medal.
It's been fascinating to see how the material for the show has been constructed through his takes on often the most unlikely of source material.
His previous Fringe shows "Christ On A Bike", "Talking Cock" and "The 12 Labours of Hercules Terrace" were all outstanding, but I think this one is going to be really special.