My Edinburgh Fringe…

This is difficult to write without coming across like I’ve got sour grapes.

Well not really. I’m just trying to make people buy into a show of someone they’ve never heard of, a venue they have never heard of or can find and I charge people £9.00. It is a really hard sell. I stand in my cat suit on the Royal Mile, every day whilst hundreds of people apathetically reject me over and over again, whilst I have to maintain a ‘positive mental attitude.’

In London, things are going alright for me. I now have a couple of lovely experienced ladies managing me, i’m getting booked all over the shop and i’m rubbing shoulders with London’s cream and i’m being flown to Australia to perform at other Fringe shows. However I walk into my venue and all of this pomp and circumstance disappears and i’m just a cunt in a leopard onesie. Let me tell you – theres nothing more depressing than performing to 3 people in a 110 seater venue AND you’re dressed like a twat.

The other night my box office even forgot about me and left me waiting for my call 10 minutes after the show should’ve started.

Another evening I was left on stage with my suitcase, dressed in my catsuit, hopefully and expectantly waiting for the audience (remember i’m dressed as a leopard) when one of the techies from the show peeped her head around the stage door, looking sympathetically at me. I then watched her (there’s a possibility this was all in slow motion) limp over to me (she sprained her ankle so it was pretty slow) whilst the only sound in the room was the scraping of her injured foot. As she approached me she opened her mouth and said the words:

‘Jayde no one is coming to your show, you haven’t sold any tickets.’

Please play this track when you read the rest of this blog:

To add to the suffering…I had spent 5 hours previous to this flyering and being rejected and lost my voice. All so I could beg 5 people to come in to my giant conference room to watch me jump around like an epileptic (skillfully) for 50mins.

But it’s not just me that is suffering. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival has struggled across the board this year. Ticket sales are at their lowest and even Richard Herring has been moaning on Twitter and you cant move in Edinburgh without seeing his (completely off putting) poster. The audience numbers are so low that performers are now even trying to flyer each other. Which is incredibly annoying.

The free fringe however is flourishing and some have predicted that the Edinburgh Comedy Festival is on the verge of collapse and Free Fringe is about to take over. Which is a scary proposition as the Free Fringe is run by feuding companies – Laughing Horse and PBH – and whilst I do not wish to slag anyone off here – i’ve watched West Side Story and someone died. Sort it out lads.

Many well known names are opting for the Free Fringe and speaking to Chris Dangerfield I found out that he is having packed audiences and even making some money with his show. Someone earning money at the Fringe? Surely not. Well done mate.

The thing is…the only time any of this matters is in August. 11 months of the year, no one gives a flying shit about the Fringe. No one cares what some 18 year old Trustafarian with an IPad writes about your show or how many stars you got. In fact, stars in London mean absolutely NOTHING.

I met an (incredibly rude and ignorant) lad the other day reviewing for Broadway Baby this how the conversation went:

Lad: hey boys ( i was there too but this lad likes to ignore my existence) i’m reviewing Sketch Comedy for Broadway Baby and I was wondering if you could tell me a bit about it, what is sketch comedy?

I have since banned student reviewers from my show. Both Three Weeks and Broadway Baby are using student reviewers this year. 18 – 21 year old reviewers who couldn’t possibly know anything about the world they are reviewing for. People who have probably spent the last 5 years of their life trying to move out of their parents house, drinking at student bars, trying to get laid, spending their student loans and studying for degrees that have as much use in the real world as a GCSE. I know this because I used to be 18.

So we have come to Edinburgh. With our shows that have taken us away from our families for a month, our jobs, our rabbits (I have a rabbit) whilst spending money we don’t have on shows that we have spent vast amounts of time and energy perfecting to then have a CHILD then critique us – often in the most disgusting ways (I read a review of a friend I regard as a great performer the other day that said ‘It was about this time I started to wish a Batman-shooting wannabe would [burst into the room and kill us all]’) all so we can get our stars and hopefully never have to work in a call centre again.

We are all stuck between a rock and a hard place really. I don’t have the answers, all I want to do is entertain people. I don’t care about money or popularity. I really only care about the audience in the room. I am not here to lap dance reviewers and that is why I pulled my show on Friday as only a reviewer showed up and it’s why I have banned young inexperienced adults from reviewing my show. Because I don’t want their opinion, I’m sorry.

I’m not adding to the stress of low audience numbers and then having to deal with the possibility of a misinformed blog appearing on the Internet about me.

This Festival seems like it is run by non performers. When if we think about it, we could still do what we do without them but they are pretty useless without us. They need us more than we need them. I am sick to death of being controlled in anyway by someone who doesn’t get up on stage themselves but will quite easily tell us off about some menial thing or rip apart our personalities for an unimportant publication that is then sent out into the world like it’s fact. Let’s cut out the middle man. With the way technology is going and what has happened during the recession the world is becoming very black and white and it’s a world I like.

I used to be a trained fish monger when I was 18 and once I had completed my training, there was no person in the middle telling me what to do or how to hold the knife or a student surrounded by Apple products giving me his feedback. It was about me and the customer.

Entertainment is about the performer and the audience. Everything else is just fluff. I’ll be interested to see what happens at next years Edinburgh Fringe Festival and see how many people still have jobs up here.

Come if you want, i’m not going to force you. If three of you arrive, then 3 of you are going to get the best ride of your lives. I hope.

The old ending to this blog was much better but my venue cried about it.

Jayde xx

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5 Replies to “My Edinburgh Fringe…”

  1. I am sorry about your experience, it is not easy with so many present to do something, indeed. I was in ‘spoken word’ and we had good reviews from the same two, specially each mentioning my storytelling in some ways. But I did not have to host it, organise it, only to tell five true tales five consequent nights, with others telling also theirs. Then a gig, on one of Free fringe, also organised by yet others.

    Being independent is wonderful, as I know from the time far away when I had my company, but is yet another work beside comedy or art or creation. Other skills are required to “package” and sell your act. You can also learn them but it takes time and hard work.

  2. Hey Jayde, doing a one-man / woman / leopard show in Edinburgh is incredibly hard work, and with all the blood / sweat / tears of getting a show up there in the first palce and then being out promoting for hours and losing your voice etc the show itself sometimes feels more like an after thought than the main event. I’m sure the RVT will give you a warm welcome back – my friends loved your show on the 1st 😉 Menno

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