Fitzroy Tavern Previews

Details of all the venues supporting the 2011 Free Fringe

Fitzroy Tavern Previews

Postby Anthony Miller » 08 Jul 2012, 22:51

Greetings Free Fringers,

You may have noticed but at least one of your acts is previewing
their shows at the Fitzroy Tavern ... I dont begrudge them a preview space
and I understand that previews for many acts are both expensive and tiresome enough without me moaning
and established comedy venues willing to take them without a big bung often few between and hard to find...
what with the world and his dog going to the Fringe these days.

However, I would like to request, though I do not expect it, that
in future any acts who plan to use Fitzroy Tavern to preview drop us a line to tell us they're going to use it.

For the record yes, the room is available for commercial hire to anybody.
And no, we dont have a problem with people using it for previews.
And no, we dont actually have any moral right to require anyone to give us any warning - it is simply a request.

In the same way that I am sure PBH would like to know if someone was using one of his venues
during the Fringe for a comedy related activity that was not part of the Free Fringe...
...I would like to be informed if anyone wishes to use the Fitzroy Tavern for
Free Fringe Comedy Preview ... before it happens ...rather than after.

Having read the catechism of the Free Fringe I believe this request falls
within the paramaters of its "ethos"... Please note
It is the Free Fringe that makes much of ethics in its USP ... not Pear Shaped.
We are cunts.

I would also humbly suggest that it would be a good idea generally if using a venue for a preview
used by any club promoter that you ask them how they feel before approaching the venue owner.
They may say "sod off" in which case you can ignore them and chose to rent the room anyway.
Or they may say "thankyou for letting me know" in which case you have gained someone's respect.
They may even be able to help you negotiate a discounted rate for one off hire and with publicity.
But simply moving in without giving them any warning is almost guarenteed to put someone's back up
and possibly make yourself an enemy .....and when you think about it ...probably to no actual logical purpose.

I would point out too that we are fairly tolerant promoters who have been waiting for years
for a knight in shining armour to steal the room off us and so are philosophical about such things.
Those with more serious commercial ambitions may be very much less tolerant and slightly vengeful.
Mind you, you know, I am not exactly big on diplomacy myself.
So that may be hugely hypocritical of me.

The reason I want to know if you are coming is simple...'s still a bit of a shock to turn up at the venue and find your posters
missing (they did turn up again) and that someone has been running a gig there without telling you.

I'm sure the landlord intended to tell us but he's erm.... other much more pressing issues at the moment like going on holiday and simply assumed
that a message had been passed on and that the acts involved were associated with us - which it had not and they are not.
Probably the presence of a large PBH Free Fringe logo on our website may have confused things.
However, I would point out that while Pear Shaped, PBH's Free Fringe
and the Fitzroy Tavern may feel the same thing
they are actually 3 different but interconnected things - like the trinity.

Anyway ...Mr Damage is getting on in years and does not need sudden shocks.... and ...
Dealing with the machinations of those who would like to move into the venue
on a permenant basis to tap into the tiny bit of trade it has taken 13 years to build up
is an ever present bore of our lives. I'm not sure exactly why so many people want
to run a club in a room so small it can only just break even a pub that
has no entertainments budget, that is too far out from the tourist center of London
to be filled by speculative flyering, with toilets that often flood,
and an aircon unit that makes funny noises and a door to the noisy beer cellar
just behind the stage ... but there it is none-the-less.
Who am I to damn anyone for such a gargantuan ambition...?

As I say I would not want to discourage people from using the room (when we're not using it)...
for previews (although if they were there all year obviously we'd have a few issues)
I'd just like to not be the very last to know.
Particularly if you plan to use our equipment and posters.

Actually, it might also be an idea for visiting artists to bring their own posters
as a poster stating to the world that Brian Damage, Anthony Miller & Jimbo introduce some acts
is not likely to cement anyone's international reputation. At least it hasn't mine.

Anyway if people could drop Brian a line in future to let us know if they plan to use the room
we would be eternally grateful and in return do whatever we can for them to help facilitate them in their endeavours.

However, from bitter experience I would warn any potential tennants
that the room is not ideal for passing trade being on the wrong side of Oxford Street
for the tourist trade, is too small to sustain anything much of a turnover
and very often smells of poo when it rains as it is directly over a main sewer,
the bar staff include some of the most depressed people in Europe
and ...erm ... I'd go somewhere where flyering produces punters.
I would suggest a pub round Leicester Square like the Round Table, Blue Posts, Queens Head...
...there are a lot and not all of them are occupied.
Indeed, with the entire Laughing Horse empire closed from June to September
there are also a plethora of Alex Petty venues to squat in ... who'd probably be more than happy to have you.

Anyway thankyou for your attention and consideration
I would stress that this is merely a request not a statement of morality.
Morality is not our USP. You may now laugh at our pomposity


Anthony Miller
Managing Director
Pear Shaped in Fitzrovia

PS As most of you probably know the resolution of this exiting and hilarious saga is here...
Exactly who was to blame I expect we will never know but clearly there was a breach of trust
somewhere along the line ...although who it is down to I cannot muster up the enthusiasm to deduce.
Suffice to say ... for the many reasons explained on that thread...
No, I dont really want to share my venue and there are better ones anyway.
If you really cant find a preview venue drop me a line and I will share any contacts
I may have of other venues who want comedy because ...I would rather that than have desperate people steal off me.
Ignorance is no excuse. If you can afford to go to the Fringe you are professional enough to know this is not on...
One doesn't survive 16 years in promotion by letting other people's problems become one's own for free.
However, advice is cheap... so I offer it.
And also I would be watching your own backs...
Anthony Miller
Posts: 2
Joined: July 2012

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