the dog that ate your birthday cake

the dog that ate your birthday cake

Postby Simon Lilley » 17 Sep 2010, 17:17

As said on other posts, the venue was good in many ways, and for those shows who had a small team of flyerers it really paid off because they managed to pack 100+ in on occasions. Not for this show though. I did get a crowd of 65 one Sat afternoon but big crowds aren't always the best. Often I was flyering on my own though as the 2 guys who were gonna share this slot with me the most both pulled out and had to sort business out in London. But I had some great guest comics and some even offered to help with the flyering. All in all, size isn't important and when there were less than 20 in the audience it didn't matter too much. People can be persuaded to sit near the front if you ask em right.

I agree that the Base PA wasn't good for spoken word gigs. If the level wasn't just right then it was too boomy or too quiet. Also the batteries on the cordless mic ran out frequently (3 times during these slots - don't know what other peoples' experience was. Perhaps we were unlucky there). The staff were pretty helpful though and normally had some batteries somewhere. As said, Allan was a bit grumpy sometimes but he never neglected us!

Ah, yes the mirrors did need proper covering and the lighting was inadequate, but Alex Perry did go and buy a small floodlight which helped. I hope the venue thought it was worthwhile giving the Free Fringe this space. It was nice to be able to tell potential audiences that the drinks were so reasonably priced too. Apparently only £2 per pint. I hope they made some money.

On the whole I was fairly happy with the run. Organising last minute guest comics was relatively painless as, for some reason or another, there seem to be quite a few comedians in Edinburgh at that time of year. Like gnats on the West Coast, there's an excessive amount of the blighters. I had some lovely guest slots from quality comics like Paul Kerensa, Paul Ricketts, Erich McElroy, Julie jepson, Rosie Wilby, James Acaster, poet Richard TJ, Miriam Elia and lots of other good'uns. Frank Skinner walked past the venue and took a flyer, but for reasons only known to himself, politely declined to play. My own set evolved quite nicely and when called upon to cover half an hour rather than my usual 20 mins it tended to go well. I also managed to use the wretched mirrors for comic effect.

Things I would do differently: if sharing a gig like this again, secure regular comics who would be up for the whole time and be willing to flyer. Or pay for flyerers. Ok so I said size isn't important but one can't help being a little envious. It seems it's all about flyering to get them in. I naively thought that the fringe programme entry etc and the stupid ad I agreed to with Edinburgh Festivals (a big glossy magazine offering last minute quarter page ads for £250 instead of the usual £1000, apparently) would work (be warned children). I would also not be so brainless again as to omit a map on the flyer. Why should people know where Cowgate is? The most effective flyering was always done close to or right outside the venue. Or by people who had maps on their flyers.

I enjoyed my time in Edinburgh though and resisted doing too much so as not to burn out. Thank you PBH. You are a legend and I hope the very unfair 3 weeks review for this show doesn't damage the excellent reputation of The Free Fringe. They were talking bull and stayed for hardly any of it. Thank you also to everyone who did anything, either for this venue or any other.
Simon Lilley
Posts: 7
Joined: June 2010

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