Sunday, 22 August 2010

Death Before Dishonour - Bagpipes Before Bongos

(I've re-posted this because I accidentally deleted it - Doh!The couple of hours chez Paul were spent lazing about, napping and making slow progress of "The Girl Who Played With Fire". So far I'm not enjoying this Sieg Larsson sequel as much as "Dragon Tattoo" but it's all right and I'm going to finish it because even though I am incapable of finishing writing my own book, I am capable of finishing reading other people's.

Just before I went out to do my favourite gig at The Fringe, "Peter Buckley Hill And Some Comedians" I got a call from Susan Murray. Everyone has an Bedlamburgh horror story but hers this year takes some beating (Although it will be later in this blog, well, sort of).Two days into the Fringe she contracted gastro - enteritis and it took her four days to be well enough to be able to perform again. She's a a plucky type though and is back not only on the horse but also (lightly) on the booze. I had forgotten that we had arranged to go to "Shaggers" together and during the conversation it became apparent that she too was doing PBHASC so deciding where to meet wasn't too difficult.

As we arrived, Peter came over to sort out the running order and everyone was very non-committal. To be fair - only Susan and I knew each other. The two additional acts were a bloke whose name escapes me and a 2-girl sketch group from New York called "Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting". Peter very sensibly put Susan and first, followed by the sketch girls, called a break, put bloke-whose-name-escapes-me on and then I closed it. This managed to annoy all of us but served us right for not saying where we wanted to go on the bill.

Peter was his usual enigmatic self at once useless, brilliant, counter-productive and utterly necessary to the show. His audience love him. I loved Vladimir the Inanity Kangaroo. You had to be there. He put Susan on and she did a really good job but I thought she said "cunt" a bit too often. I told her this as Skinny Bitch went on. As I was telling her they did a sketch that involved one of them saying "cuntcuntcuntcuntcuntcuntcuntcuntcuntcuntcuntcuntcuntcuntcuntcuntcunt" and I changed my mind about Susan. She had been totally out-cunted. Skinny Bitch were excellent and I'm thinking about bringing them over to do my gigs some time.The break came and went and bloke-whose-name-escapes-me went on and he was great as well. He's a really interesting act, really different in his approach and had some great lines.

Then I went on. I got the crowd laughing and then asked if any of them would seriously consider coming to my show at 2.30pm the next afternoon (It was already well gone eleven). They said "No". That meant I could do some of "Hung Parliament - The Musical". I did. They loved it. It's reassuring to hear the reaction from a large night-time audience. Everything's a little subdued at 2.30pm and it can make you doubt yourself. Afterwards some of them said they were going to come along anyway, even though they'd heard some of it.

They didn't.

Susan and I walked up to Three Sisters to see "Shaggers". We only caught the last two acts, one of which told a fantastic story about a situation he and a couple of mates got into in Columbia (I'm afraid that's as much information as I can give you). The other one just did his act so we left again. I'm doing it tonight and will be bearing my soul in secret, let me assure you. We had to go anyway. I had another gig to do, this time at The Counting House at 1am on West Nicolson Street. It was run by Alistair Greaves (The man who had done my show at lunchtime).

We bumped into Jay Foreman at the venue, had a quick chat about how he is developing as a performer the way I would have done if I had paid attention, stayed off the booze and not chased women. Then we went into the venue, that had a capacity of I suppose thirty people. Good job then that there were only ten there. Aistair is not a bad act but he is a fucking useless compere. He may also have been a bit pissed. I say this because he tried to play my guitar at the start upside down. Then from on stage he asked me and drunk-woman-whose-name-escapes-me who wanted to go on first. She shouted first, went on, confused everyone, barely got a single laugh and staggered off stage, out of the building and into the night. Susan's face was a picture. I'm pretty sure she said "Gastro-Enteritis was better than this".I got some laughs and similarly fucked off. Susan got a cab back to Leith and I strolled home in caning rain, getting in to bed about 2am.

I was very unhappy to wake up four and a half hours later. Wide awake. The ikind of wide awake that you can't sustain.I got up, had a ridiculously early breakfast (They really are good in this place) came back to the room and was woken again at about half ten the my maid who wanted to strip my bed down. SHE WAS HOT. I don't think I've ever seen such a beautiful cleaning lady. She said I could go and sit in the pantry while she sorted the room out. I grudgingly agreed but would have been quite happy to watch her work, which is probably why she wanted me to go to the pantry. I got ready and walked in to town about mid-day Any plans to do any preparation went out of the window with Mister Stupidhours and when I reached Base my flyer people were already waiting. Town seemed a lot busier and I had my fingers crossed for a good sized crowd. They didn't materialise. I got about twenty people in.

My concern about my show is the reaction it's getting through the Free Fringe Brochure. I'm seeing a lot of much older people clutching the thing when they're waling in to see me and most days one or two of them seem to be walking out if the air turns too blue (Which it certainly had done the day before). Anyway, my guest today had cancelled. He is called David Whitney. It was just as well - Peter Buckley Hill had asked everyone to blackball him anyway. If you want to know why, might I suggest googling his name. Suffice to say that he is a friend of mine, an emerging new talent and I don't think he deserves the vilification he is currently receiving. I put down his absenteeism as further proof that The British Government were covertly sabotaging my show. His non-attendance didn't have any effect - four old people walked out half way through anyway.

This is often not as bad as it sounds.Certainly everyone at a free show is within their rights to leave at any time  - the challenge is to keep them in sometimes - but getting rid of them lightened the mood and the remaining fifteen or so had a great time. One of the audience members was one of the girls who was playing poker on Tuesday night. I couldn't remember her name, of course. She's really nice though and invited me to go and see a show Emma Thompson is doing about sex trafficking. I thanked her but alluded to the fact I was "Washing my hair". The idea of listening to Emma Thompson talking about sex trafficking is only slightly better than being mistaken for a frog and sexually assaulted by a chimp in front of my mates or even worse, re-locating to Derby.

I walked straight past the the "Subway" on the way back so had to settle for a footlong chicken with pesto mayo from a random store a couple of hundred yards from the university. It was sixteen pence cheaper than my usual. Good job. I only had £17-ish in the bucket again. Roll on tomorrow.


  1. Hey! I saw you at Peter Buckley Hill's show that night and came the next day like I said I would! And I brought 3 friends. I was going to speak to you afterwards and ask if you wanted me to flyer for you but you disappeared. Sounds like you're sorted though. Anyway, we really enjoyed your show, so thank you. It deserved a bigger audience.

    Also, we come from Derby. It's not so bad.

    After the word “Derby”, the truth is overwhelmed.

    And the bloke-whose-name-escapes-you is called Nick Hodder. He does this:


  2. Aha! Nick Hodder! Yes I thought he was really good and was embarrassed I couldn't remember his name, so thanks. Also thank you so much for coming to the show and I'm glad you enjoyed it although I am now in a quandary - the nicest comment I've had on here is from a fucking Sheepshagger.

    PS. I am better at vanishing in Edinburgh than just about anybody else which is a shame because I could have employed you to flyer for me! IT'S NOT TOO LATE! Thanks again, Paulybx

  3. If you genuinely want someone to flyer for you, I'll be back in Edinburgh for a few days from tomorrow.


  4. I'd love you to on Saturday. Meet me at 12.45pm outside the venue, flyer for 90 minutes and I'll give you a tenner. Cheers and looking forward to meeting you!


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