Aug 28, 2019

I went into a black hole and all you got was this blog post about the Edinburgh Fringe

It's more than a week since I returned from the Edinburgh Fringe. A week since I stopped pouring money into the huge financial black hole that is Edinburgh economies. I've not checked my bank balance yet. I daren't.

And actually, I don't have to. I can ignore it. If you have a fridge full of spiders, you don't have to open the fridge to know they're still there. In this metaphor, the fridge is my online banking account and the spiders are my meagre funds and the person not opening / logging into the white goods / website is me.

Still with me? Good. On the positive side, my energy levels are alright. I'm not as fashed and bashed post-Fringe as in previous years. I came into this year's festival in better creative shape: a show what was written proper, and a pretty good idea of how to keep an audience laughing for an hour.

I'm currently enjoying the chance to slow down. A bit of self care. Chilling to Spotify's recommendations - the app is currently playing me Speedy J and John Beltram and Req and some insipid jungle-lite nonsense I just thank-u-nexted harder than an Ariana possessed.

I have a bunch of live appearances coming up, including a gig in a caravan. Come and buy a ticket for something if you fancy - click here. Put some money back into the system so people like me can chuck it at a Fringe show

Aug 25, 2019

#SevenInch diary days eleven, twelve and thirteen: no bubbles were harmed in the making of this show

It has been a while since my last update on my ramblings at the Edinburgh Fringe. There are three reasons for this.

1. I increased my flyering activity, so I spent time prowling Lothian boulevards instead of blogging.

2. After my final show, I went to a tonne of other shows like a right old louche. I had so much fun, I missed my pre-booked train home by a full 24 hours.

3. This isn't Watch Mojo with its constant promise of content, content and more content, jeez gimme a break.

My final Seven Inch shows were storming. No, really. I know Fringe artists present a positive side to keep the PR bubble unpopped, but this was a total blast. Great audiences, with people literally crying laughing. I've had so much fun.

The last show of my run was on my birthday, so the audience sang - you guessed it - happy birthday. I didn't get any cake though which, for those of you that have seen the Fringe show, you'll agree is very much in the spirit of Seven Inch.

Seven Inch gathered real momentum in the last third of its run, with people turning up through word-of-mouth. Actual real people - they weren't made of paper, honest. Audience donations reached in triple-figures per performance, which I've not had before. Slower chunks of the original show have been replaced with stuff that's quicker, sharper, in-your-face.

However, unlike my first show in 2015, I didn't get any reviews, possibly because most short-run free shows don't get much press interest. What I have ended up with, however, is a production with more heart and more comedy than the Lowry version. I also have something that I can tour - watch this space.

I am now skint. This was my most advertised and most flyered show yet, and all that cost money. *rolls up trousers, puts on flat cap, asks for more gruel* You can help me be less skint by coming to see me live - I've updated my gig page here. Oh and you can read more about Seven Inch in this blog posts here.

Photo: Loud Poets

Aug 11, 2019

#SevenInch diary days eight, nine and ten: sozzled, soaked, superb

Last night, I dreamed that every Edinburgh pedestrian was dressed as an egg. Big oval costumes with leg holes, but no arm holes or eye holes. Chaos.

The last few days performing Fat Roland: Seven Inch at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe have been great fun. My latest three audiences have been, in order:

1. Staggeringly sozzled. A hen-do style birthday pub crawl came to my show and, woah, they were boisterous. The sober section of the audience looked on with delight as I fought to keep the show on track. Very funny.

2. Stupendously soaking. The audience enjoyed the show, but they'd just been gushed on by torrential rain, so I felt a bit sorry for them. A little quieter than usual.

3. Sooooo celebratory. A packed crowd who gave me my strongest audience reaction ever at the Fringe. A full five-star fun fest. What a treat. Shout out to the Canadian who high-fived me for mentioning Bran Van 3000!

I did an open spot at Comedy Shorts, a compilation of various funny shows. It went down really well, I think. Part of my strategy putting on Seven Inch is to enable me to move more into the alternative comedy scene, and Comedy Shorts felt like a good indicator.

I've been catching up with friends where I can, and with only three more shows to do, the end is in sight. I got some emergency flyers printed yesterday. I've given away so many, I nearly ran out.

There I am, above, handing out flyers. It's a nice flyer. I drew it all by myself.

Fat Roland: Seven Inch starts at 1.15pm sharp on August 11th,12th and 13th at the Newsroom (near Waverley Station). Free entry (donation at the end.) 

Aug 7, 2019

#SevenInch diary days six and seven

Here's a big sausagey catch-up on two days of Edinburgh Fringe faffing.

Yesterday morning, I returned to the Tales of Whatever stage to tell a true story. I added a bit about plasticine models of Lorraine Kelly. It went down proper ace.

My sixth show got decent numbers, and today's seventh show was the bestest fun yet. Every beat of the show hit, and it was a thrill to carry people through an hour of the most wonderful nonsense.

Last night, I was a guest at Loud Poets. I did pieces about eggs and dogs and Brian May's hair and 2 Unlimited. I wore a "shush" hat (pictured) but the Loud Poets were as deliciously Loud as ever.

This afternoon's flyering was nixxed by a thunder storm. I should try again tonight, but I need to reset my props (see previous post) so that's my day pretty much done.

I added two more cartoon props into my show today (a pair of gloopy bins), to tighten a slightly floppy section. They went down well, so I'll try them again tomorrow. The other day, I removed a prop (exchangeable Frank Sinatra eyes) because the joke wasn't quite hitting. So we're one prop up.

Read my Edinburgh Fringe blog here. And come and see my show, you flipping idiot - there are only six more chances.

Aug 6, 2019

#SevenInch diary day five: funnel innovation

I'm pushed for time today, so this latest post in my series of blog posts about my 2019 Edinburgh Fringe show will be expressed in partial thoughts and fleeting emotions.

Time to flyer. Where's that banging coming from? An honour and a joy. I am doing good flyering. What if funnels only went upwards? Excellent eyelashes. I just want my show to start. I want to yawn. That dog is upside down. Why is that guy in my audience reading a newspaper? Oh he's walked out. Slight anxiety. I'm thirsty. That bloke looks so 70s. There is so much chocolate at the bottom of this milkshake. Suppose I'd better do more flyering. Hello wasp. A gameshow that's Pointless but there's no presenters and everyone just stands there. So, so tired. I've only got eight shows to go: I don't want it to end. Eggs. Is that the same wasp? Dog's upside-down again. Oh THATS where that banging's coming from.

THREE gigs today - follow my exploits on Twitter.

Aug 5, 2019

#SevenInch diary day four: a big gay Sunday

Show four of Fat Roland: Seven Inch was, as the owl insisted to the birdsong fraud squad, a real hoot.

I'm getting quality audiences this year. Numbers are okay, but even better, the people who are turning up are proper laughy. They've got silly in their belly.

I didn't get time yesterday to write this. I got up, flyered, did the show, met a mate for lunch, worked on the props, went to another show, did a five-minute spot at the Big Gay Storyslam, then stayed out for drinks.

That "worked on the props" means resetting my 200+ props in order, and mending anything broken. I have to allow three hours a day for this, although I can do it in two. If you saw the show, you'd see why. Yeesh.

The Big Gay Storyslam (pictured) was fun. I told my tale of coming out in a church magazine - packed with giggly moments of course. The worthy winner was a guy who told, for the first time, a sad story of toxic relationships. A real pause-for-thought moment.

A quieter day today. Flyering, show, lunch, props, more flyering, chill, sorted. If you're in Edinburgh, come and see the 'show' bit of that sentence.

Aug 3, 2019

#SevenInch diary day three: the Son of God loves this show

While sitting on a bench coming down from my second show yesterday, a bloke leaned over to me and said "Jesus loves you".

I think what he meant to say was "Jesus would definitely come to Seven Inch because it is the best record shop comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe". Aw thanks Jesus, I always knew you were a good guy.

I've now done my third show of my 13-date run for the Edinburgh Fringe Free Festival. The audience seemed into it, but my performer editor brain is now working out how I can tighten the 'crucible' of the show's central conflict. I won't expand more because I don't want to sound like a screenwriting book.

Following today's show, I enjoyed a celebratory Irn Bru (pictured). Yes, it's the diet version. If I drank the full-sugar version, I fear I would turn into some kind of cartoon Godzilla wrecking Auld Reekie to ruins.

My personal fave bits of the show currently are (without spoilers):

"What happened there?"
The Wham! bit
The phone call
Drawing a pop star

What would Jesus do? He'd read more about my show here.

Aug 2, 2019

#SevenInch diary day two: 200 props and counting

As the barman passes me, he says "they're queuing up outside!"

"Oh cool," I nonchalantly reply as my ego does backflips inside my brain.

My second outing for Seven Inch got a decent-sized crowd, and it already feels like the show is bedding in nicely. I've made some tweaks here and there, and I've replaced one section of the script with dog noises. No, really.

I'm choosing to do the show off-mic, as in I'm projecting like an actor, which is a weird experience in a Fringe space. This was initially prompted by the mics being knackered, but actually it helps me roam the space better.

Seven Inch has between 200 and 230 cartoon props (pictured), depending on how you define a 'prop'. It takes me at least two hours to rebuild the set every day. Speaking of which... Must stop writing coz I've got some cartoons to organise.

Find more about Fat Roland: Seven Inch on the Chortle website.

Aug 1, 2019

#SevenInch diary day one: I nearly broke an audience member

Show one done! Clunk click, what a trip! I've finally brought my show for The Lowry to the Edinburgh Fringe.

It's the day before the Fringe actually starts, so this felt like a preview. It was good to feel out the space, and I'm left with a few improvements for tomorrow which include:

> don't sing the eye-swapping bit
> make sure there's nothing behind Grandmaster Flash and Diana Ross
> find somewhere else for the cake

Not many shows end up with a list like that...

I've made a ridiculous card sandwich board for flyering. People in a shoe shop laughed at me. I popped into a bank later in the day and the clerk asked me if I was that guy from earlier, you know, the one in the stupid tabard.

The lovely Dominic Berry came to my show. A joke about Seal made him laugh so hard, I thought he was going to explode. The most joyful moment of my Fringe so far. Get more joy by seeing his show, starting tomorrow.

This was the first of 13 shows and I'm going to savour every one. Follow my daily Seven Inch exploits here.