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Blog: Edinburgh: Day One

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My first full day at the Festival dawned LATE, after a MUCH needed lie-in. Showered and breakfasted me and Steve got ourselves HEAVILY laden down with gear and headed out for the bus into town then LUGGED everything round to The Medina & Negociants, our venue.

HAPPILY they were expecting us - in the big list of Things That Could Go Horribly Wrong MANY of the items centred around the venue having forgotten about us/deciding against it/changing ownership/burning down etc etc so we were somewhat RELIEVED. We dropped off piles of stuff for later and headed out for ERRANDS, also to drop off some flyers.

The first place we saw that might coincide with our Target Audience was a Comic Shop... but even from afar I could see it was one of THOSE kind of comic shops, the SMELL as we went in affirmed it and the surly way the strange man behind the desk didn't even look up as he said no to flyers was just a formality. The next place was a Music Shop which, in comparison, felt more like a particularly eager to please branch of LUSH.

As we wandered about we were apprehended by other people flyering, which Steve reacted to by flyering them right back. I think I may not be entirely cut out for this, as i SQUIRMED every time, tried to drag him away, and said "No no, don't worry, you probably wouldn't like it." I am not a natural.

We popped in to the Fringe Office to find everyone looking a bit frazzled - the ticketting system has pretty much collapsed, and so when we asked the young lady if we'd sold many tickets she said "You should ask your box office." "He's the box office", I said, pointing at Steve. We asked about any reviewers coming, and they said to check with our press contact. "He's the press contact" said Steve, pointing at me.

Next I went to get my performer's pass for playing on the Royal Mile - the lady there was pretty frazzled too, and wrote my name out as Mike Sighting-Life-In-Rock. We went for some lunch, found my stage and, with 50 minutes before showtime, settled into a pub over the road for a well deserved pint.

Half an hour later we went to check in... only to find that we'd been told the wrong time, and was meant to be on half an hour beforehand! There were no spare slots so, after going BACK to the Fringe Office to check the times for the rest of the week (ten past three, through I'll probably not be doing it on Wednesday) and ensure I wasn't BLACKLISTED, we made for Medina to soundcheck.

That done Steve went off to FLYER some more while I waited nervously for a call from 6Music. The call came and soon I was GABBING ON about The Show - oddly I found it MUCH easier to sell when I couldn't actually SEE the person I was selling to!

That done it was time to OPEN UP and much to my a) surprise b) RELIEF people started coming in! We eventually got THIRTY people in, which is more than either Steve or I had in TOTAL during our previous expeditions. It featured a LOT of people who'd bought tickets from the Fringe Office, which seemed VERY organised, and a surprisingly large number who Steve had just been flyering. Also, a REVIEWER!

At LAST it was SHOWTIME, and it seemed to go pretty well. I was VERY nervous, especially when I noticed a chap sitting dead centre, arms folded, and when some jokes didn't get the BIG LAFFS they had when I'd done the show to PALS it did throw me a bit - it's a LONG time since I've done anything even vaguely related to COMEDY in the outside world, and I remembered why I'd not done it since! I fluffed a few words and kicked over a pint glass (ROCK!) but I think I pulled it back by the second half and started to enjoy it again.

The reviewer chap seemed to like it anyway, and as people left they seemed pretty pleased with it - EXTREMELY gratifyingly there were a couple of people who'd come wearing Official T-SHIRTS: GRATE! We had a bit of a chat, a non-spilled drink, and then it was time for me to be OFF once more, this time for GLASGOW where I was due to record a session for Mr Jim Gellatly.

I got my ticket and got on the first train for Glasgow, at which point my PUBLIC TRANSPORT SENSE started tingling - this was a tiny train with a LOT of stops, might it perhaps be a SLOW one? I asked a passing official and discovered this one took TWICE as long as one going five minutes later, so quickly changed. THANKS,Public Transport Sense!

One M&S Simply Food fuelled journey later and I was nipping to the taxi rank to find, as warned by Jim, that taxi drivers don't know where XFM is. He dropped me off at the wrong building but a very nice Security Lady showed me the correct way. I rang the bell for ages before a voice came on the intercom - it was Jim himself! He was just finishing off his show and was the ONLY person in the entire building! He put a long-ish song on and came down to get me, happily looking EXACTLY the same in real-life as in his photographs, blue mohican and all.

We had a chat in between songs and at 10pm he said "And this is a song by the guy I've got in session tomorrow!" "But I'm here NOW!" I said as he played The Lesson Of The Smiths, before handing over to his pal who was MINDING the networked signal from London and going next door to the other studio.

It was all done pretty quickly, with a lightly censored version of The Lesson Of The Smiths, preceded by a PLUG for the show, then for later on another plug, It Only Works Because You're Here, and a bit MORE plugging. By the end of this week I will be a MEDIA NATURAL!

We hopped into the Gellatlymobile and ZAPPED to the station where we said our goodbyes - I've been sending stuff to Jim for about ten YEARS now, so it was brilliant to meet him at last and especially to discover he is a GRATE CHAP - and I went into the station. It felt WRONG to be in such a brilliant city as Glasgow for such a short time, but hey, i have an Internation Festival Of culture to ROCK, so got back on the train, ZOOMED to Edinburgh, and got the taxi home, getting in on the stroke of Midnight.

It was a VERY long day, but a GRATE one. Hopefully the rest of the week will be as FUN, if not as busy - I've been here nearly 48 hours and haven't seen a show yet!

posted 10/8/2008 by MJ Hibbett

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