I watch a lot of TV. Well I used to watch a lot of TV. Now I watch a lot of TV to watch some TV,flipping through channels endlessly looking for something to watch. I look for something to watch the same way people look for Bigfoot. They glimpse a blurry thin bear, I glimpse the flicker of an engaging character. They think they see a monsters hand on a tree like I think I see a gripping storyline. But like them I never find what I’m looking for.
The internet was supposed to revolutionise TV, well if there has been a revolution it certainly hasn’t been televised (or internetised?). For the main Youtube is cat videos, vloggers and viral music videos. Netflix and that bunch are TV on a computer. Why hasn’t there been a great web-series that utilises the youtube format that people want to tune into every week with a narrative arc, strong characters and storylines? (editors note what about Mid Morning Matters?) (editors note You can’t do an editors note if you have written the piece and are the editor) (editors note thanks) Maybe it’s a money thing, it’s just not worth the time. Why would the best writers leave the big bucks of TV and movies to come and write a web-series?
I’m certainly not one of the best writers but I have written (and directed) a new web-series that launched today. Why should you watch it? One it’s been made with a lot of love and commitment, everyone has given their time for free as they believe in the project so it would be great to repay that with some views. Two the show not only utilizes the youtube format in a way I have not seen before but it also showcases some wonderful comic voices who have yet to find consistent mainstream success. It would be great if as many people as possible saw some of their excellent work
We have no budget to pay for a big marketing campaign to convince you it’s good, we are not using expensive PR’s to grease reviewers palms so do give the show a watch, there will be a new episode every Wednesday. Like any good series it’s going to take a couple of episodes to get into it, so hopefully you’ll stick with it. And if you really like it share it and give it a like. Hopefully unlike Bigfoot lots of you will actually see this.
Another word from our sponsor. Or should I say wood from our sponsor?
I am writing this letter to you following your recent interview to promote your tour on Newsnight.
I agree some things need changing as society does feel rather unfair for a lot of people. As mentioned in your New Statesman piece, in the issue you edited, there is a culture in this country of being governed by privileged, rich people. A different type of privileged, rich person than yourself of course. After all a lot of them became rich through the corporations you mention who are “destroying the planet” unlike you who nobly amassed your wealth by hosting the MTV awards, shilling Hewlett Packard computers and appearing in films like the remake of Arthur.
Anyway everything feels better since you got the revolution started late last week, I had a really nice cup of tea the other day and I stayed in the other night. Real change has been facilitated. I am ready to not vote as you suggested. In fact I am sitting here not voting right now. How long do you think I will have to wait to start voting again? As you told Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight to not ask you to “ devise a global utopian governmental system” Is there any plan at all? I know you are busy, are they making a Despicable Me 3?
Have you thought of setting up your own political party? Jonathan Ross could be head of communications and maybe Andrew Sachs could do your PR? He got you a lot of press a few years ago so could be a good person to get involved. Maybe your BB Noel Gallagher could come up with a new Education syllabus seeing as he recently told GQ that “Novels are a waste of fucking time” It’s quite an achievement to come out with a statement that makes Michael Gove look sane. I just think Noel will be good person to have on side in the New World order.
Will referring to my penis in third person help in anyway with the revolution? Mr Winkie wants to know. Also I’ve bought a thesaurus so I can start making simple points sound more exciting and also create the illusion that I am cleverer than I actually am… Open letters are tiring… I’m just going to de canter some boiling aqua into a china receptacle containing Indian leaves before adding liquid calcium. What a refreshing tipple of Darjeeling.
A friend said to me that I shouldn’t be part of your revolution because of your do as I say not as I do attitude but I said how can we not listen to someone on the redistribution of wealth who married Katy Perry on an elephant in an lavish Indian wedding.
Anyway I’ve wasted enough of your time, I’m sure we will hear what to do next when you next appear in the media to promote whatever it is you are selling.
PS Thanks for the secret political message in Rock Of Ages. Wink wink.
So I won at watching Breaking Bad. A lot of you are thinking it wasn’t a competition, well turns out it was. Who watched Breaking Bad the best? It was me.
I watched the final episode at 9AM Monday morning on Netflix making me if not the first person in the UK to watch it than at least the 2nd or 3rd. Also a lot of people have been watching it since it aired in 2008. Spend five years watching a TV show? Yeah why don’t I just take a mortgage out or murder a dog. What am I supposed to do in between series hit a tennis ball against a wall? Nah. Like a pro I just started watching it a couple of months ago borrowing box set’s from people who bought it. I was up to date around August just after they pulled that half a season break thing (Sorry, I just used the American word season when talking about a TV show, please take me outside and smash me in the balls with a frying pan) Whilst all the amateurs were drip feeding themselves episodes for 8 weeks till the big final episode Saturday night I just signed up for a free month’s trial on Netflix, hoovered up those last eight episodes and then cruised on home Monday morning to much back slapping, cheers and celebrations from everyone on the internet.
As well as my masterful watching of the series I made some pretty brilliant Facebook and Twitter comments like “So Tony Soprano was waiting for Walter White in that cafe at the end of The Sopranos, that explains everything” A tweet that no doubt delighted connoisseurs of the Box Set (the Box Set, like the Bloomsbury Set but instead of it being a group of like minded intellectuals it’s everyone who owns a DVD player.) Another classic tweet of mine was “Spoiler Alert, that was the last in the series of Breaking Bad” Toying with those less devoted fans with day jobs whilst amusing the American audience who had watched it when it aired 10’o’clock EST. Like a wry hawk soaring above the humourless sheep I tweeted and facebooked. Admittedly I got no likes or RT’s for any of my comments but who needs interaction on social networks when you’ve got the warm inner glow of satisfaction from knowing you owned watching Breaking Bad.
Of course I remember the original and best Box Set, Quantum Leap It was so good they couldn’t fit it in a box so they had to air it on BBC2. The glory days when box sets were in English, now they don’t know what language to write them in next. I reckon half the people who watch these shows don’t even care about them they’ve just always wanted to say “Scandinavian crime thriller” at a dinner party. Personally I’m really into a Moldovan Box set I’ve just made up in my own head.
But what to do now it’s all over baby blue, well it’s obvious isn’t it? Find a less well known American series and start saying it’s much better than Breaking Bad. I for one am really into nineties show Cop Rock, Needless to say I’ll win at watching that too.
The return of the independent spirit of the fringe has been heralded this year by the great and the good of the Edinburgh glitterati. With two victories for the Free Fringe in the Foster’s Comedy Award, “free” is apparently a viable alternative to the paid fringe. John Kearns and Adrienne Truscott are just two of its success stories but ultimately giving shows away “free” is damaging the long term sustainability of the fringe.
First of all, it is not free either for the performer or the audience. For the performer, both Free Fringe and Free Festival have administration fees in some form or another. For the audience, it is not free, as a bucket is forced in your face at the end of the show for you to donate money to the performer. Maybe a better name, not in breach of the Trade Descriptions Act, would be the cheap fringe? As a result, fringe acts on the paid fringe can’t compete (and by fringe acts I mean genuine acts on the fringe of comedy, not the new acts who have been on Mock The Week, have their own Comedy Blap and are signed to one of the big management companies) with the free fringe, why would you risk 6-9 pounds on an act you have never heard of when you can go and see an act you have never heard of for “free”? This is bad because, as a genuine fringe act charging for their show, it is virtually impossible to get people in and thus build any momentum to make the fringe worthwhile for them. Personally, I don’t want to give a show I’ve worked 6 months plus on away for free. Long term fringe acts will eventually be frozen out of the paid fringe, it won’t be financially viable for the venue to accommodate them or the act to perform there. Even if I approved of the free fringe, a lot of the rooms are virtually unplayable for anyone doing anything more than one man microphone comedy, with bar noise, toilets next to the stage and all sorts of things that turn a gig more into an obstacle course than a closed off space to deliver a performance of merit. At least at a paid venue you know there will be a stage and some rudimentary lighting.
Another thing you heard a lot at this year’s fringe was that the Big Four are pay to play and are ripping off acts. A theory mainly propagated by fanatic self publicist and cheap fringe zealot Bob Slayer (a quick look at a piece the Scotsman refused to publish by him two years ago shows what an unreliable voice he is when it comes to this issue. The figures he bandied around were mainly pulled out of his arse (which is ironic because his act is just pulling out his arse). I can only speak for The Pleasance, they do a very fair deal. 60/40 in your favour. Two of the reason’s acts lose so much money is the promoters and PRs. The deal with most promoters is the same as the venues (60/40 split) which means that once they’ve taken their cut instead of you getting 60% of gross you are getting about 35% (at best) which is going to make it even harder for you to claw back any money (especially when you are competing against the cheap fringe which is undercutting your show). I would suggest if you are in a 60 or less venue, your promoter should take no more than 15% Most of the services they provide to sell tickets for a venue that size you can do yourself.
Then you’ve got the PRs. As acts, we should run them out of Edinburgh. It is the biggest rip off around (£1500- £2000 is the going rate for the month). No act should pay for one in Edinburgh. Fair enough use a PR for a Tour, a TV show or your book launch, but Edinburgh is a fringe festival that should be of benefit to fringe acts, a meritocracy not a wheel oiled by the greasy palms of social butterflies who nag, coerce and bribe publications and journalists over drinks and lunch. And journalists and publications are at fault for so easily kowtowing to them.
An issue still lingering from last year, and one that no one want’s to speak out about, is the BBC who once again opened a venue. Have they forgotten they are a broadcaster? They bought up a range of hit BBC shows and stars and gave tickets away to it absolutely free (unlike the free fringe this venue actually is free). I had one conversation with a particularly arrogant vile BBC producer who argued that it was fine as by the BBC venue being up there it brought its own audience up to Edinburgh, which was then redistributed across the fringe. The arrogance, that he thought people were specifically coming to the fringe for the BBC venue! He also cited the BBC mixed bill nights that “showcase new talent” as if they were if not more important than doing your hour show.
I met him whilst flyering my show, so was offering him an opportunity to see some new talent. He said he was unable to make it “as it was his day off from the BBC venue and he didn’t want to see anymore comedy”. To clarify, a BBC producer at the fringe only wanted to watch comedy when he was working at his venue. It’s hard enough having to compete with the cheap fringe but you simply cannot compete with the UK’s biggest broadcaster spending thousands of pounds marketing free comedy. I need to make clear that I am not anti BBC I am however anti the BBC having a full time free venue in Edinburgh. I’ve tried to open a dialogue with the BBC about this but they are simply not interested and clearly want to plough on regardless of the long term effect they are having on ticket sales.
I do not think the spirit of the fringe is alive and well, in fact I think fringe acts are punished not prioritized. The cheap fringe is undercutting quality shows with lower quality shows and in the main, it props up average acts who barely have ten minutes, let alone an hour. Acts need to dispel the fallacy that the big four venues are pay to play and are out to rip off acts, they can be a profitable way to do the fringe. The people who slag off the big four are mainly people who have not been asked to play them. Promoters need to offer fairer deals, if they really want to work with these acts long term than they should invest in the act at this stage. If PRs are going to operate at the Fringe, then the service should be for free. Why should the act take all the financial risk? The BBC needs to cover the festival, not be a venue at the festival and there needs to be an urgent discussion about this. The Fringe is not a fringe anymore it is an already functioning industry transported to Edinburgh for the month. Many years ago, innovation was rewarded and new talent allowed to find its audience. Now, it’s a closed shop where the spirit, if not dead, is very close to dying. John and Adrienne had great shows but their success was the exception not the rule.
I’ll be performing my show Wrong Way (not for free) on the 27th of October http://bit.ly/1akBnCK
It wouldn’t be Edinburgh without Harry Deansway writing an article that gets the whole industry talking. Last year it was the BBC syphoning off tickets from the fringe with their atmosphereless marquee filled with free comedy and backed by thousands of pounds of marketing money. What could Harry Deansway have up his sleeve this year ?
Obviously Harry know’s what this article will be about because Harry Deansway has already uploaded this to tumblr, Harry wrote this in the past you are reading this in the future. SPOILER ALERT this blog gets finished. Look at Harry playing with the form and writing in the third person, take that GCSE English teachers. I’m writing in the third person because really famous people talk in the third person all the time. I think it will be good practice for when I become really famous after Edinburgh, but I’m sure we can discuss me getting really famous in future blogs here. Unless I get really famous during Edinburgh, in which case I’m not going to lie to you, I’ll be way too busy to do a blog.
Right! What’s the threat to the Fringe this year? Before I announce what the title of this blog gave away a long time ago. I must make it clear Stewart Lee is possibly the best British stand up out there, I have the ultimate respect for him as a comedian but I need publicity for my show so I am going to slag him off for the next 600 words . But enough about my personal life.
Every year in Edinburgh as sure as Scottish landlords will put the price of the rent up by 300% and acts will make a joke about deep fried mars bars in their show Stew will write an article saying how the fringe isn’t what it used to be. It’s probably due any second now. However this year he is part of the problem not the solution. The fringe is supposed to be a place where artists on the outside of comedy find an audience (clue is in the title, The Fringe) how are they supposed to do that when acts like multi award winning Stewart “Two TV shows” Lee are there taking away audiences from lesser known acts?
His two TV shows have turned Lee into a one man big four, hoovering up tickets for both himself and all the acts he has endorsed in his Avaloffthekerb rival “alternative”coterie. It’s just really hard to take someone seriously who’s Comedy Vehicle show is so nepotistic that it books the same act every week, him. Why does he even need two TV shows? Lording it up like a comedy equivalent of John “Two Jags” Prescott whilst us up and comers can’t even get TV meeting let alone a TV show!
When he’s not telling Audiences how to attend the fringe or saturating the TV schedules with his own shows he’s telling comedians how they should be comedians. He has so many rules I just wish he’d write them all down because I’m losing track of what we are allowed to do and not do. And after the articles, the lecturing, the TV shows, the books all of this he then has the audacity to tell us after travelling 300+ miles to get to the festival we must then go a further two miles away from where all the comedy is to support the Stand.
Stewart if this piece ever reaches you in your ivory tower that you have had erected in Stoke Newington with all your TV money to store all your awards in please stop and think about the consequences of your fame and success. Think about acts from the “New Wave” who share your time slot like Nick Helm, Mae Martin and Nicholas Parsons. Think about how you would have felt if Tom O’Connor had done what you are doing now in 1987 when you first attended the fringe. And finally think about coming to see my show Wrong Way 18:00 Pleasance Courtyard.
Stewart if you could enter into the spirit of the article and get really offended and maybe write a response that in turn pubiscizes my show I’d really appreciate it.
Stewart has since come out and said that he comments about acts using writers was taken out of context http://pastebin.com/tcMx7Wvy However I have it on good authority that he got an unknown act to write this staement and didn’t pay them.
.• To get two free tickets to Harry’s show, simply find a Wrong Way flyerer in the Pleasance Courtyard between 4 and 5.30 and say “right way”. Offer only available Monday to Thursday. No show on the 13th. Check @deansbomb on Twitter for details
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
So four months ago I decided it’s finally time I got a “real job” I’ve had a crack at show biz and it just hasn’t worked out. Time to get up at 8.00 and take a tube ride to the land of broken dreams along with 2 million other Londoners every day. I’ll do the comedy in the evening and on the weekend. During the week I’ll make a worthwhile contribution to our great society that allows cuts to disability benefits and votes in people who were funny on a panel show. I’ll don a head-set and chain myself to a computer or whatever it is a job is these days.
Here’s the thing 2 months later and after checking job sites on a daily basis I am no closer to deciphering what half the jobs I’m looking at even are. I don’t think the people posting them even know. What’s an Editorial Operations Coordinator? or a Search Account Executive? My brain scrambles when I read stuff like this - This company has successfully pioneered the open access publishing model and brought open access to the mainstream. Who’s reading that and going “they’ve bought open access publishing to the mainstream, where do I sign up?” And are they human?
Saw this job advertisement the other day. Head Of Data: The right individual for this position and company will be an inspirational leader, passionate about digital technologies, data audiences and their capabilities. Great Leader and passionate about data? Sorry guys Ghengis Khan died 1000 years ago so good luck filling that position. Who’s going to be a great leader and passionate about data? Anyone passionate about data surely hasn’t seen sunlight for ten years. “Hey John why don’t you have any friends?” ROBOT VOICE “Because friends would eat into my time for absorbing data.” I’m trying to imagine what a motivational speech about data would even sound like.
Also in every job advert they always say you need good communication skills. “Sorry, I find the best way to communicate my ideas is by smashing someones head in with a hammer.” If you don’t have good communication skills you are not a human being you are a reptile and probably can’t even operate a computer to fill out an application in the first place. The other platitude so fond of employers is “excellent organizational skills”. “Sorry I’m late for the interview I thought you wore pants as a hat and shoes were the same things as gloves.” They might as well just write looking for a human being who knows what legs are used for.
Then you’ve got the jobs that the only reason anyone is applying for is because they need the money; yet that doesn’t stop the employers insisting on asking you why you want this job just in case they’ve stumbled across the next Kofi Annan. “Well when NASSA rejected my astronaut application for the 5th time I thought time to pursue my other dream stacking shelves at Tesco” Why do you think I’m applying for a job here! it’s because I don’t have a degree and society doesn’t want me to be an international movie star.
The whole thing was making me angry and frustrated, then it dawned on me I’d found a job. It’s looking for a job. Yeah it’s unpaid and yes there is no clear career path but at least it keeps me busy. Fingers crossed I’m not in line for a promotion anytime soon.
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Prank Texts are the new prank phone calls