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Take That China!
The Continuous Descent Into Madness
You've Been Cancelled
Sort Yourself Out eBayers
The Art of Not Writing
Give Me Your Voice
Not Another Virtual Choir
Demented Reality
My Way of Losing My Mind is Quite Constructive
I'm A Cilla Black Fan On Bike

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Thursday, July 28

I've Been Seein' Someone Else

Well, not exactly. I'm doing a pre-Fringe blog. Please check out the two entries so far.

T-Minus Something or other
Flop Sweats

Tuesday, July 26

Like an Oscar Acceptance Speech, but better

Back in April a chat on the internet led to what has been a fascinating, challenging and ultimately rewarding 3 months of my life. You can read here all about Funny's Funny, the event of which I speak.

As we pulled this event together, people fell into one of a few categories:
  • Disinterested - if this is you, then feel free not to read, or maybe do read in order to see if your interest can be piqued
  • Nay-sayers - it's easy to have a go, and some people mystifyingly decided that it was in their interests to ridicule what we were doing
  • Supporters - in truth, the majority of people we heard from fell into this category

Now the dust has settled a bit, I think it's time to say some heartfelt thanks to the latter category. I could thank the few detractors whose pointless bile made me even more resolute to do a good job, but I suspect their contribution was an overall zero.

To the people who put on the 21 (22 if you include the cancelled one) showcase events, I say a big thanks. Being there on the night, pulling together people, audience, publicity and other logistics: it made the difference. The atomsphere at the shows was universally praised and this is in part thanks to the organisers.

To the MCs who held shows together in a professional and supportive way, even though they had a dozen acts on the same bill, a big big thank you. The acts appreciated the way they were treated and introduced and we were glad to know the shows were in safe hands.

To the judges who sagely calculated scores, wrote constructive notes, and gave the acts feedback as requested, a huge and respectful thanks. Judging comedy is hard going: fairness and personal taste are not always easy to resolve. We wanted the fairest and most comedy-focused judging, and we believe that this was achieved to a very high standard by our volunteer judges. Thank you all.

Various online comedy journalists wrote about our event, interviewed us, or gave us platform to talk about what we were doing. This helped spread the word and also opened up the debate surrounding the problem we were addressing. It really mattered. Thanks.

To Steve Bennett of Chortle, who supported the event by organising the final, a massive thanks is due. The quality of the final and judging panel gave the event a credibility that we might not have achieved single-handedly. In addition, the fact that someone else had taken on the organisation of the final allowed us to focus on the performers and showcases more. Ultimately, it was an excellent climax to our event.

To the 252 women who signed up to our site, thanks to you. In the end, we managed to secure bookings for 224 of you, and had a surprisingly low drop-out rate. It seems that every performer came to this event with the right attitude and made the best of their showcase for both themselves and their fellow acts. To those who spread the word and generally told us how much you appreciated us, an extra special thanks. To those who sorted themselves out via our website with barely an email exchanged: we may not have spoken to you SO much, but it was a companionable silence and kept our workload down.

And finally to the other members of the Funny's Funny team, I can't say how much of an honour it was to work with you all. Rob, you did a huge amount of show organising while appearing to be gigging every day and doing everything else you do - the number of contacts and details you pulled together in a short space of time was amazing. Thanks. Jane, you were working in a different time-zone to the rest of us, but still managed to keep us on the straight and narrow, pull comedians in for performing, make the judging criteria equitable, and get the acts connected with the right showcases in record time. Okse, your design work and mentoring was really appreciated - the posters looked great, the logo was brilliant, and those hard moments when a friendly voice was what was needed, were provided for. Beth, your help in getting us off the ground, and your encouragement during what was a difficult time for you was greatly valued.

I could write a lot more on why this was such an amazing event to be a part of, but let's keep it brief. All I'll say to conclude is that if you put a bunch of people together with a shared goal that is worth achieving, then magic can happen. It took a lot of work to achieve it, but I think we got more out than we put in.

Thank you all.

A Collection of Thoughts

What follows are some random musings. I don't mean they're totally random. A totally random musing would involve choosing two words from two books and seeing what happens:

"and McNally" - there: that's a random musing.

I mean that here are some disconnected unrelated thoughts that are sitting in my head.

If You've Got It Flaunt It
It's the time of year when we all try to write press releases to make ourselves look good to try to attract an audience for the Fringe. Despite outward appearances, I actually have a lot of trouble in saying good stuff about myself in press releases. I'm a generally honest person, and all the promotional stuff I write always feels like lying. It's not that I think I'm no good, it's just that I think it's not reasonable for me to be the judge of how good I am.

I've noticed a friend of mine, whom I helped with their Edinburgh show, has taken one of their principle difficulties and broadcast it across the media as a selling point. I mean that they've done it honestly. By highlighting what might be a weakness, they've made it a talking point and virtue. I think that's brilliant. Perhaps I should be looking for things about myself that I would rather not talk about and start whacking them into press releases.

If Not Now, When?
I made a few resolutions about a year ago when I had a health scare. One of those resolutions was to sort out my weight problem. I also decided I wanted to get married to my girlfriend. I have achieved one of the two of these. Given the impending wedding, if I don't sort out the other, then I'll be married in widescreen, and nobody wants that. I've run out of excuses. It's time to take weightloss seriously.

Be Careful How You Act
I'm principled and opinionated. I get in there and get involved. Sometimes this is appropriate and sometimes it's not. I hope I've the instincts to pull back if I've overstepped the mark, but we all make mistakes.

I'm afraid I wind some people up. It's not intentional. It's hard to act in a way that makes you totally inoffensive - I wouldn't know where to start with that; I also can't really be bland. It's all guns blazing or nothing with me.

That said, I don't like it when some people reflect my behaviour back to me through the fairground hall of mirrors that is a difference in personal perspective, and I see myself as being a bunch of things that I don't think I am. This is where you can say perception is reality. For someone to interpret me one way is almost as much my problem as it is theirs. Well, I say that... it very much depends on the person.

However, I must accept that I come across as know-it-all, overbearing and judgemental from time to time. Then I sometimes come across as cheerful, warm and supportive at others. The trick, I guess, is to watch my own behaviour a bit more carefully, since it's clear that others are watching it and sometimes seeing something in me that I don't want to be.

Searching For Identity
One's identity is very important. I don't mean bank details. I mean who you think you are - what you consider your life's purpose and work to be.

I try to be many things, and I think the thing which drives me to irritation most is when someone questions my right to assume those roles/identities, or in some way denigrates me in those roles. Call me a fatty bum bum, and I'm not bothered. Call me an unsuccessful comedian, and I'll have sleepless nights.

Funny, eh?

Being Bright
A while ago, I recorded a 15 minute comedy radio programme with a friend of mine. It was a project for her university course and has never been even considered for broadcast. It was purely something we knocked up in my, at that time, incomplete house. We called it "not too bright" and I still occasionally listen to it. I kind of wish we'd found a way to do something with the core idea, but perhaps it didn't have legs.

When I script comedy for myself in a double act, I frequently put myself in the role of the idiot. I guess I was the "non bright one" in "not too bright".

Last night, though, I was required to consider my brightness from a different angle, as I did The Bright Club in Cardiff. This small but perfectly formed gig was brilliant fun, very supportive, and a chance to see comedy of all sorts, mixed in with some rather over-thought-out-but-excellent powerpoint presentations.

I had a lot of fun with the crowd.

I also sweated quite a lot. I was so bright, I was positively glowing red!

Yes. I know. Blog posts should probably be shorter and pithier than this. I'm just enjoying writing one, so please bear with me. It won't be much longer.

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You
With last night's try out of some last minute tweaks for my show, it's pretty much time to do the last two previews and then take it to Edinburgh. Friday night has me in Hexham and 1st August has me in London. On 3rd August, I'll do some excerpts from the show as part of a stand-up set in Nuneaton.

My show is The Seven Deadly Sings and my stand-up gig list is on Come if you can.

Making The Merchandise
It's almost a sort of witchcraft. You go onto some sort of website, upload a file from your computer and then T-Shirts, CDs, Mugs, postcards, flyers, posters and the like all suddenly get made, stuck into a van and sent somewhere.

I've been making pretty much all of the above for various reasons. The Vistaprint racket of claiming everything's free, except charging you whole bunches of extras (and not quoting VAT) is a simple fact of life. In general, though, I'm pleased to have the CDs to sell and give away (Vistaprint don't make CDs) and things like flyers and posters are a negative - i.e. if you DON'T have them, then it's BAD.

In a chance of strategy this year, I'm going to be paying for some flyering and postering services in Edinburgh. This is primarily to increase my exposure. I intend to make a success of this year's Fringe. The show's good enough - now I need to focus on the audience.

I'll be blogging again shortly. For now, please take a rest from reading my outpourings.

And thanks.

Or sorry.

Choose which suits you best.

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