Gosh, you could have been working with this man

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Gosh, you could have been working with this man

Postby PBH » 21 Mar 2008, 01:48

Let me share an exchange of emails:

[b]Email 1[/b]

This is an enquiry e-mail via http://freefringe.org.uk from:
Paul Currie <paulvictorcurrie@hotmail.com>

I am a comediana nd was told at a recent gig with Clin Murphy about the FREE fringe. I have a comedy show called the Sticky Bivouac that I really want to put on as part of the Free fringe.

Is this possible???

Its like the the Mighty Boosh meets Spike Milligans Q and then meets Vic Reeves who all then in turn meet Bill Hicks and then... all decide tro put a show together... yes its that feckin good and nuts... and please could we come and perform.

We are all street performers so we are well used to the busking style of performance which I believe is the general vibe of the Free Fringe except indoors.

Speak soon

Paul Currie

[b]Email 2[/b]
This is an enquiry e-mail via http://freefringe.org.uk from:
Paul Currie <paulvictorcurrie@hotmail.com>

PS I am a well versed performer and stand up as well as a professional Jim Henson puppeteer. I work on the BBC puppeteering POTTO the main character of Northern Irelands version of Sesame Street called Sesame Tree... google the shite out of sesame tree and you'll find it.

I also have a one man show of variety and cabaret and surreal absurd comedy called FOOLOSOPHY, I have performed aspects of this as 20 min stand up but would like to put an hour/ 2 hour show together for Edinburgh.

Can yee help.
Paul Currie

[b]My reply:[/b]
Dear Paul

Thank you for your enquiry.

The first thing to do is to read the attached sheets, which describe the way the Free Fringe works. Everybody who wants to be involved must explicitly agree to the ethos and our way of working; we depend on mutual co-operation.

I would not say that your observation "...the busking style of performance which I believe is the general vibe of the Free Fringe except indoors." is true at all. Our aim is to put on comedy (and other) shows which are of an equal standard to the shows which are put on at the money venues at the Fringe. Two street performers (Stuart Goldsmith, Byron Bertram) are doing shows in the Free Fringe, but these shows are not based on their street acts. The remainder are comedians and sketch acts who have a reasonable comedy act outside the Fringe, and who take their shows seriously.

I need to know that every show that joins the Free Fringe is of a standard that will not let the others down.

I would normally do that by seeing some of the show or the acts concerned, if I did not already know them. In your case, if you're based in Belfast, this might be difficult.

I have searched for Sticky Bivouac on the web, but this comes up with a null result. Please therefore tell me who is in it, what it consists of and the general format. I would appreciate a link to any video of it that might exist, or failing that any written material you have, such as sketch scripts. You will note from the attached descriptions that we provide no technical support and therefore cannot have shows that rely on elaborate sound cues, blackouts etc.

The same goes for the Foolosophy show. (You are obviously aware of the eponymous song by Jamiroquai and what appears to be a self-help book by Darrell Ruocco, also eponymous.) If this is a solo show, and you have only so far performed 20 minutes of it, then I advise against attempting to stretch it to an hour. You do not state whether you know the Edinburgh Fringe; I assume you don't. The Fringe is packed with performers who have a 20 minute act who try to stretch this into a one-hour show as a talking head. Such shows are the least popular on the Fringe, and I will only put on a one-hour solo show if I am confident that it is good -- usually, because I know the act concerned or have seen the show or the material.

If the public considers any of our Free Fringe shows bad, they not only walk out of that show, but also do not come back to any of our other Free Fringe shows. It is my duty, therefore, to ensure that all shows are of such a quality that this will not happen.

Please send me all possible information about both shows.

I look forward to hearing from you



[b]His reply[/b]
Warning!! This is not a pleasant e mail.
But... I think you need to read this all the same.

Lets get things straight...

OK Peter here is the craic..I am 34 I have been performing at the fringe on and of, as a street performer (from statue to comedy clown double acts) and as a stage actor (The Bedlam the Asembley Rooms) since 1991.
I have many 20 min slots, its not just one 20min piece, they are all different. Hence the idea of an Hour long show of all 3 of my 20 min slots. I thought that sounded fair enough.
I have no video footage, I have no audio recording, I do have a website.
I have performed as a stand-up at the Empire Comedy Club on many an occasion and all over Ireland, North America and England, I also write and perform comedy for the BBC (radio and TV).

Your last e mail is a real eye opener to the Philosophy of the FREE FRINGE, it seems surprisingly strict. Almost Tyranical, very different to the open mindedness of the Fringe itself, you seem to have your own little dictatorship going on.
I understand completely that you don't want any shit in your Festival, I understand that. I run a very successful Vaudeville Cabaret here in Belfast called Pigeon & Plum's Music Hall that has performed at the Berkley Square ball in London and is being booked again this year, I know the score of organizing a Large event, I also run the "Midnight Express" Open Stage Cabaret here in Belfast open to all artists of all diciplines to express themselves with "zero censorship!!". This is my Philosophy on Free Festivals, people like variety, who are you to judge whats poor and whats not, Edinburgh attracts people of all nationalities with very different tastes. You can not possibly know what they all want to see.
I understand there has to be some quality control, but thats for the bigger Festival, not for a supposedly free thinking "REAL" Fringe festival.

It seems to me that although you think your getting back to the spirit of the original Fringe you have actually morphed into something much uglier, your an even bigger dictatorial monster than the existing Fringe that lets ALL ARTISTS!! of any backgrounds from all over the world (not just your precious Edinburgh), ARTISTS with a show and a passion to express themselves in however way they feel.

But your not allowing this, your a Nationalist Patriot and I can not believe that the list of Awards displayed on your website have even been handed in your direction, I now see the true back slapping self appreciation you and the Fringe have going on. And you come out looking worst.

Finally, and I am not even sure you are still reading this, but fair play to you for sticking with me on this if you are. Its hard to express rage while sitting silently with crust in your eyes, at a cold lap top.

When I said Busking I did not mean it in a negative way, I have been a street performer for 10 years, I make a very good living at it, I teach community circus and you obviously have some snobbish "I grew up in a working class family but am now quite clearly an out and out middle class ponce that believes his own hype" type attitude towards Buskers (I of course could be way out with that analysis, my apologies if thats the case) I mention busking to simply refair to the option that the audience at a free show have of paying the performer/s at the end of the show what they personally felt the performance was worth, just like busking!!! I think you'll agree, except indoors.

I now say with great relief in one sentence what the above paragraphs where leading to...
You can stick your Free Festival up your hole.
I will have no part of your little cesar attitude.

I will now happily take out a bank loan and take my chances with the clearly more open minded , if not more expensive FRINGE FESTIVAL.
They obviously know what the term FRINGE means.
ON THE EDGE!, At the Periphery!

You seem to have placed yourself at the centre and pushed the artists beyond the fringe (oh and yes I have heard of MOORE, BENNET, COOK and MILLER).

More fun is to be had with a larger group of organisers who are willing to give performers a stage to perform on.

Good day.

Paul Currie
Artistic Director

[b]End of email exchange[/b]

Comment superfluous.

Although perhaps not.....
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Postby Jools Constant » 22 Mar 2008, 16:27

Paul cannot be as successful or as busy as he claims.
If he has the time to sit and write volumes of such trite meanderings, then he is clearly unemployed, bored and lonely.

Good luck with whichever Fringe you decide to hang from Paul.

PBH is doing a great job, against difficult odds, with the absolute interests of us less sanctimonious comics at heart. He has to create a framework of rules, without which, bitter and verbose malcontents like you could just wander in and foul the air the rest of us are enjoying.

Jools Constant
Posts: 23
Joined: September 2007

Re: Gosh, you could have been working with this man

Postby andrewoneill » 26 Mar 2009, 13:17

I feel we've all missed out.
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Re: Gosh, you could have been working with this man

Postby KEITH ANDERSON » 03 May 2010, 20:43

Oh dear!!
This kinda makes me ashamed to come from the same Island as this guy.
I reckon the chap has ideas far above his station.
I've heard of him amongst the lower ranks of the Irish comedy circuit, but have never seen him perform or even listed at any club I've ever played in.
I'm full sure he is bending the truth, almost to the point of breaking!
He does however seem to have a wonderful imagination.
Posts: 14
Joined: April 2010

Re: Gosh, you could have been working with this man

Postby Shona Maguire » 28 May 2010, 08:27

It's a hillarious read!
Shona Maguire
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2010

Re: Gosh, you could have been working with this man

Postby Jonathan Monkhouse » 07 Jun 2010, 09:55

I wonder if he's not famous yet because the BBC are still editing out the grammatical errors in his scripts.
before there was coffee, there was ...
show 221
Jonathan Monkhouse
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Location: London

Re: Gosh, you could have been working with this man

Postby PBH » 18 Jun 2010, 01:41

Here's another one:

Hello Peter,

I always wanted to write you back, give you a feedback on your feedback, but I have been busy with other projects. The other night I had an interesting conversation with other Londoner artists about your “Free” Fringe and here is my conclusion:

I just wanted to let you know, that the way you communicate with artists does not seem right in my opinion.

If you don’t like a piece, that’s your opinion and that’s fine. But as an organizer of a festival in Edinburgh in August, you should keep your personal opinions to yourself and argue on a more neutral level-

- If you think my piece could only work on a stage, because it only works with all the benefits of all the lighting and sound effects, that’s understandable: It is a stage performance. So if you think it won’t fit in your venues because of that, then just say so, but please don’t say things, of which you don’t have enough knowledge: How can you say, that most of the laughing audience might be my friends or they are “self-indulgent”! Were you there? As a side note, many of them were indeed my friends, the majority was not.

- And also I didn’t send you 2 or 3 emails to force you to watch my youtube videos too many times. I emailed you, because you didn’t reply and I was just wondering if you received my application. At a summer festival in Edinburgh, such like the Free Fringe, I would expect at least an acknowledgement of receipt.

- You also say that you don’t understand my piece; maybe it is because you just saw the first 10min or maybe you think it drags. But that’s not the reason why I’m writing you back. It is again the way you argue. Worlds like “drag” or the audience seem like “self-indulgent” are not neutral worlds to be used in a professional feedback. As an organizer of a “Free Fringe”, Ed, you should know that.

It seems to me that you have neither respect nor an understanding for experimental theatre and emerging artists, who like to take risks, do art work on the edge and between genres.

If your Free Fringe is not a platform for this, which it (from what I’ve read on your website) should be, then you might be right: It isn’t a platform for “Social Porn 2010”

Thanks for your time.


Regina Fichtner

My original email:
Dear Regina

When you contacted me for the first time, I watched the three videos of your show available on YouTube.

When you contacted me a second time, I watched them again, several times, plus the video of your student piece in Hamburg.

Now you have contacted me a third time.

I watched them several times, because I wanted to understand what is going on here, and I wanted to find them interesting. I wanted to believe an audience might be interested, even in the very competitive atmosphere of the Edinburgh Fringe.

I have to say I cannot see the interest value in this work.

Because I cannot see the interest value myself, I am at a disadvantage. In a theatre setting like Brockley Jack, with the audience fully focussed and with all the benefits of lighting and sound effects, and with an audience (if things are usual) largely consisting of people known to the performers, then perhaps the performance would sustain the interest of the audience. But because it seems to require so much attention, I cannot see this piece working in a Free Fringe environment.

In a Free Fringe environment, if they don't like it, they leave, quite often heckling on the way.

In addition to this, I cannot see how the web films fit the stated objectives of your piece. Perhaps because you only show the first ten minutes. To me, these ten minutes drag. They do not engage the interest of the audience. They seem a little self-indulgent.

Played another way, the piece could be funny. But from the videos, in my view it lacks lightness.

Perhaps I do not understand what you're trying to do here; on the other hand, if I don't, neither will the audience.



Here's the video: judge for yourselves

but remember: be neutral. We must be neutral, n'est-ce pas?
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Re: Gosh, you could have been working with this man

Postby danny.worthington » 20 Jun 2010, 11:48

Wached "Social Porn 2010 - work in progress" Part 1 and Part 2.

I (and Ian who watched it with me) have to concur that it would not work the in Free Fringe.
It does not have much to keep the audience interest.

Performers need to remember that in an environment where there are over
1000 shows available every day the audience value their time. Free Fringe
audiences are far more likely to walk out of a Free Fringe show than one
where they have made the investment of buying tickets.
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