The Fringe Has Gone

Well that’s another Edinburgh Fringe done with. Not that I was in Edinburgh for most of it, I only went up for the first week but it was nice to know it was still going on while I sat in a grey and hot office.

By now, most of the performers and punters will have returned to their respective homes in London and some other parts of the country. When I’m in Edinburgh, people still ask me where I live in London. So I’ve stopped telling them that I don’t live in the capital and instead just say “Islington”. Nobody really knows where Islington is, so I should get away with it.

So what did Andy and I learn from this year’s fringe?

Well, we learned that we should probably write enough material to fill an hour, preview and make sure we’ve learned our lines before asking people to come and see our shows. However despite these major faults we had a marvellous time and couldn’t have done any of it without the support of the PBH Free Fringe and our chums.

We were incredibly lucky to have the support of brilliant people like Michael Legge, Tara Flynn, Paul Litchfield, Jeremy Limb, Dan Mersh and Andrew J. Lederer. Who all came to see our show, saw that we were incompetent but laughed anyway. I’m just glad we hadn’t seen their shows first. They were all horrifically good. Those talented bastards.

People keep telling me that that the Fringe is in terrible trouble but I think it just needs to realign itself with the real world. The country is in a revolting recession. Most of us with day jobs have felt the pinch, as have those of us with no job at all. So obviously it is insane to charge a fortune for accommodation and venues. It took me six months to save up enough money for one week in Edinburgh, on the Free Fringe and it will take me a year to get enough money together for two weeks in 2013. Even then, we won’t be able to put our show in main programme because of the preposterous £399 registration fee. That’s more than the monthly rent on my house!

So why do we bother?

Despite attempts by the accommodation providers, venue operators and the fringe society to bankrupt performers. The Edinburgh Fringe is still the most insane and lovely thing in the world. As I don’t actually live in London, it is also the only place I get to spend time with many of my favourite people, stay out drinking until 5am before grabbing a falafel, falling into bed and waking up six hours later to do it all again. However I discovered this year, that it isn’t as easy as it used to be.

This year was also a celebration of being alive. After nearly kicking the bucked last December, I needed to prove to myself that even with chunks of brain missing and no feeling in one side of my face or mouth, I could still perform. This was a partial success but I need to work much harder if I’m going to give, in any way, an amusing performance next year. My timing is shot to hell and I often struggle to form words, which comes across to an audience as line fluffing. I also forget my lines.

However I’ve come a long way since Christmas and hope to continue improving, to do justice to the silliness we’re working on for next year’s fringe. Yes we’re taking no chances and it will be the most scripted, previewed and rehearsed show in the world by next August.

I’ve taken the liberty of booking a venue in Halifax for one afternoon every month between March and July for Edinburgh previews. So next year if you want somewhere to try out your stuff, give me a shout.

Falafels for tea.


Martin Wolfenden

Back in the early days of this Century, I made some money by saying the odd funny thing in public. On one of these occasions a fellow funny talker told me that I should write a blog (because that was the sort of thing funny talking people did back then.) Now, I’m not the sort of person who does things the easy way, so I rejected all the ready made blogging platforms and started my own website. Since then it’s become a repository for whatever stuff is bubbling out of my brains and a directory of various podcasts and videos that I’ve made with my friends and is completely unnecessary.

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