Saturday, 28 August 2010


So, the reason I finished at the library in the middle of the week was to give me time to cover the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival (MGEITF) for The Edinburgh Reporter. Naturally this is on a voluntary basis, ie for no money. In all honesty I just wanted the thrill of being around loads of buzz word spouting TV industry people, who are all very trendy and mostly made out of iProducts. HOWEVER, I feel that the delegate goody (goodie?) bag thing has actually been payment in itself. Check that bad boy out. Highlights which you should be able to locate in the photograph include:

- The Radio Times! Normally costs more than one of your GBP. (Arj Barker reference there for two of you)
- The Doctor Who Adventure games, the main review of which seems to be 'OK but a bit slow'
- A YouGov memory stick! (no idea, they must be a sponsor)
- A tiny bottle of water!
- Mints from ITV!
- Chocolate coins!
- Chocolate in bar format for the less piratically inclined amongst the delegates!
- And a DVD extolling the virtues of the Clyde Waterfront. At an event which has, since its inception, always been held in Edinburgh.

This is loads better than the Film Festival press pack, which just had, like, film related stuff in it. And a notebook so that you could write about the films. Whatever dudes. There are kids* at this event, and we will give them sugar.

Anyway, I will link to stuff as and when it goes up on the reporter, but until then you'll just have to watch telly or something.

*I don't really mean kids as such, just young persons - part of the point of this festival is to help young people gain knowledge and experience of the industry, which is quite a nice thing. Course nobody ever fuckin' told me about it as a young(er) person, but still. It's all good.

Friday, 27 August 2010


So, if you were flyering and saw me, would you be like YES! HER! She would be interested in attending the Burlesque Circus?

Before giving an answer, I would ask you to picture the following scene. I am marching along George Street, into the second of a two day hangover, and accidentally wearing jeans that have PVA glue on them (from making William Wallace at work). Said jeans are also too big, but perversely too short. Tyra Banks would take a pure eppy if she could see me.

I am not wearing makeup, except possible remnants of yesterday's eyeliner not properly removed, and my hair is a fetching bouffant on account of being required to dry naturally in my haste to get out of the house this morning. I am, if anything, the antithesis of burlesque - unsexy, unglamorous, uncorsetted. Well, I have the grotesque parody of womanhood part covered, which in 18th century terms means I'm doing OK. But this is 2010! The art has evolved and moved on! It's now striptease, essentially, and nobody needs that from a frump in gluey trousers.

However, someone on the street saw this vision and thought, 'yes, she'll come to a burlesque act,' and flyered me accordingly. But not just normal burlesque, oh no. Burlesque with a CIRCUS THEME. What does that even involve? Clowns in nipple tassels? A performing seal in thigh high boots?

The Fringe website describes it, somewhat cryptically, thus: "ringmistress and cabaret star Tempest Rose welcomes you to a circus of the Seven Deadly Sins; introducing a stunning array of daring and dazzling new interpretations of classic burlesque, vaudeville and circus routines."

Which doesn't give a lot away, but lets pick it apart a bit and see what we can see.

I understand vaudeville to mean variety, which is straightforward - there are lots of girls on the flyer; they presumably have a variety of talents. By which I may mean they have a variety of differently shaped boobs. But still, that makes every act slightly different.

It seems plausible that 'circus routines' in this context is more likely to mean acrobatics and contortion than custard pies or chucking a confetti over one of the dads having pretended it was a bucket of water. I don't know which has more artistic merit though. It's a tough one to call.

As to dazzling new interpretations of classic burlesque... Well. This is the flyer. Are you dazzled?


Thursday, 19 August 2010


"Americans demonizing the man from BP is akin to a sex tourist punching a prostitute in the face because they're so disgusted by their own desire. Americans love oil, they've got the highest oil consumption per head of any country in the world. All the man from BP has done is float it closer to them."

I'm paraphrasing, but this is roughly how Stewart Lee began his one-off 'Silver Stewbilee' show at the Festival Theatre last night.

Well actually, Kevin Eldon opened in the guise of unpublished poet Paul Hamilton, a character he played in Lee and Herring's Fist of Fun. The only poem I can remember in its entirety for you is the following:

I am a dalek. LITERALLY.

But there were funnier ones than that. And quite excitingly you can download his stuff from the FOF radio show here. Or of course go to his first ever solo fringe show, which I'm hoping to do soon.

Other guests included Paul Putner doing his Earl Stevens bit, Simon Munnery doing his Urban Warrior bit, Bridget Christie doing some of her ant bit (one of the strongest parts of the show and based on that I will definitely grab a ticket to the full thing at The Stand); and Richard Herring appearing from the audience, ripping up Lee's book and throwing it at him. Apparently the reviewer at Chortle thought this was an actual surprise rather than an orchestrated bit reminiscent of some of their old routines, which prompted Herring to devote part of today's daily Fringe podcast he does with Andrew Collins to playing a voicemail message of Stewart Lee asking him to come and do it. Egg and Chortle's face must surely be in alignment.

Lee performed a range of material, with older stuff in the first half and a new routine in the second which was really good. I do like the William Wallace bit but I've seen it a few times now and it was nice to hear some grandfather-related whimsy and Russell Howard inspired vitriol. Will feel like some kind of comedy traitor whenever I watch Mock the Week now. Well I won't at all, but it was funny stuff.

There was also an appearance from Look Around You character Tony Rudd (Eldon again), singing Machadaynu accompanied by Franz Ferdinand, which seemed quite surreal until Frank Chickens* came on to do a couple of songs. And then there was Lee himself singing That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate (the Mission of Burma song that inspired the title of his book) to close the show, which confounded my expectations (and from thence the humour arose... Except he actually pulled it off pretty well). I suspect this may have been an enactment a pretty long-held fantasy, and good on him for doing it.

*If you are a user of the internet and interested in this year's Festival, you may be aware of the Fosters-sponsored 'Comedy God' poll and Stewart Lee's distaste for it. He pointed out that acts like Frank Chickens who haven't been seen at the Fringe since 1984 are hardly going to get many votes from a festival-going public who may not even have been born then, although they could be the funniest thing ever. Thus he inadvertently launched a campaign to get people voting for them, strongly supported by Richard Herring and Twitter, and they now have something like 50% of the votes in the poll.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Star Spotting

Last night we went to see the free show Bilingual Comedian, when who should appear and walk right past the queue but Reginald D Hunter. He went on to apologise profusely, and once inside the venue gave up his seat for someone and sat on the floor. Which was a pretty good save, to be fair to him.

Becky Donohue
(the comedian we were all there to see) was good if a little patchy, as is free fringe's wont. The theme was to continue Eddie Izzard's idea that everyone in Europe should be bilingual, and the prevailing messages I took away were that spiders love lesbians and Catholics are prone to melodrama. So there you go, progressive, educational and star studded fun. For free!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Toddler Moustache!

I saw a Meadows-bound toddler with an enormous fake moustache on my way back from work today. He seemed happy about the situation.

I gather his Fringe show is totally sold out.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


We got to work today to discover that a child had ingeniously filled the lock with waterproof sealant of some sort. You have to hand it to them, it's original. I would literally never have come up with that.

And look. Pellets for an air gun contained within a plastic hand grenade. You'd sell this to an 8 year old, right? Well, someone did.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

I would like to blog a bit about the Fringe this year, but due to a combination of work and a student-like unwillingness to attend too many paid shows this is not as simple an endeavour as it could be. Nevertheless I will regale you with my charming noticings as I see fit, and maybe help you to develop a wider understanding of the festival from a resident's point of view rather than merely immersing yourself in coverage from The Scotsman.

Today, is is my duty to inform you that the Fringe has seen a definite increase in crocs about town. They're still rubbish, but you can't say it too loud for fear of slightly offending a tourist.

Fortunately, you are still within your rights to write about it on the internet in a needlessly vitriolic fashion. One chap has actually dedicated an entire blog to his croc hatred, which is entirely what the internet is for.

Having said that, I don't hate crocs proactively enough to dedicate an entire site to them. To be honest, it just happens I noticed from my bus t'other day that there are quite a lot around, punctuating the throngs of people dressed as gladiators and clowns and Princess Jasmine from the Disney movie of Aladdin with unattractive neon footblobs, and I thought maybe I would draw one.

I presume people wear them predominantly so they can be easily identified by other humans in their group, particularly children and old people (who are statistically proven to respond well to bright colours. I've no real evidence for that, but it is a fact.) Unless they're trying to join in with the festival atmosphere and think that forking out loads of money for horrible footwear will make them a bigger part of it. Along with speaking louder than everyone else, demanding the bus driver change fifty pound notes, and walking very very slowly so as to truly soak in the ambiance of the castle in the rain from north bridge.

I've heard it said (by me just now) that shoes maketh the man (or woman). Don't be that guy.

Or do, y'know, whatever. I don't really mind. And I've heard they're really very comfortable. Plus, you can stick little accessory things in those holes they've got on them, which is kind of like when you used to collect those things from cereal boxes to stick in the spokes of your bike back in the day. Awesome.

Sunday, 8 August 2010


In honour of the Fringe, I am developing a version of bingo based around the comedy series This Morning With Richard Not Judy which drew my family together in front of the tellybox as only one other show could (that show was Buffy The Vampire Slayer, bizarrely enough).

In this game, every time a player sees a cast member from TMWRNJ they mark off a square on their bingo card. Naturally it doesn't count if you've gone to see a solo show by one of the performers - it needs to be a spot in town whilst they or you or both are going about some sort of daily business.

So far gameplay is limited to me and as it goes, I am winning. I have seen Paul Putner (The Curious Orange), Kevin Eldon (Unusual Priest, Simon Quinlank, The Actor Kevin Eldon etc) and some crows that were almost certainly called Histor and Pliny. I considered inviting Captain Tact to join in, but he'd seen Lee and Herring before I even invented the game, and because I am concerned that they might warrant more points (having written the show), that basically makes him a cheater. Poor show.

In other news, as Free Fringe goes, you could do worse than A Calculated Risk and All The King's Men, both at Espionage and both with some very good moments.

Saturday, 7 August 2010


It is done.

Over the past few months I have gradually teched up; obtaining a new laptop that stays on when unplugged, an intertron friendly phone, and a cool tripod that can wrap itself around things should the need arise. Slowly but surely I have read and returned most of my library books, the total receding from over 40 to 17 (technically staff are allowed 20 so this is a genuine result). I have completed the paperwork to register with two temp agencies, Pertemps and Blue Arrow. And today I received a letter confirming that the council have noticed my resignation, and will duly not be paying me for my last three days on account of the fact I’ve already taken my annual leave for the year.

Yes, after 20 months of bewildering daily abuse - punctuated by regular outbreaks of therapeutic team alcoholism - I am leaving my job.

In some ways, this is a monumentally stupid thing to do. If there were no jobs about when I graduated, then the market must be into minus opportunities now. Scaremongering from all over the world indicates that the situation doesn’t look like improving drastically for a couple more years. And what industry is it I am trying to claw my way into? The totally stable, always expanding, not at all panicked world of journalism.

Staying with the council would mean I could work my way into middle management and sit there with a regular income, gradually doing less and less to earn it, until my retirement at 75. I would be financially able to get on with doing all the things that people generally do to distract themselves from the fact they have a job in middle management – going to the pictures, gardening, and improving myself in various ways (learning Spanish, maybe, or taking up golf). It’d be alright, and anyway, how many people do you know that actually enjoy what they do?

But it is not to be. I’ve just turned 25 and for some reason it feels like the time to get aspirational. After all, when else will I have the opportunity to walk into something so potentially ruinous with my eyes open all the way to eleven? If I continue the way I have been, before I know it there’ll be things like mortgages and dependants to think about, and I’ll be sitting in an open plan office reading the mass emails about the new bins and wondering whatever happened to that plan I had to be a journalist from the age of 9. Grim. It’s time to give freelancing the time and energy it deserves, and myself the opportunity to make it work.

And if it all goes tits up I can always go back.