Edinburgh is a place that has nice buildings, great people and many ways you can eat deep fried pizza. Edinburgh Festival Fringe (or what everyone calls Edinburgh Fringe Festival) is a gathering of arty hopefuls, each risking upward of £10k in the hope one of the world’s largest concentrated audiences for theatre and comedy will give you a tenner and an hour of their time ...and not leave after 5 minutes. This distinction between place, people and arts capitalism is important - Edinburgh is a hoot, the festival is a lot of fun - it's the greed surrounding the festival that is the monster.
Fringe is a marathon, a trade show, a piss up, an opportunity - but this year is so expensive it has made the past really expensive years look sickeningly cheap - and homeowners and landlords are the ones raking it in. When searching for accommodation this year I found a three bedroom at just over £20k for 30 nights!
With the pressure on artists mounting it's no wonder many of us have taken to the internet to vent our fears. However, I’ve have definitely been talking about this stuff for a decade now and my idols and role models have been mouthing off about it for a lifetime. The economy of Edinburgh favours those with the capacity to invest and reap the rewards, almost all the risk is parked with the artist and it’s a model the wider sector has adopted explicitly and subtly on the other side of Hadrian's Wall, even outside the month of August.
This year we’re presenting not one but two shows. The first Class is there because the Edinburgh audience is the largest gathering of middle class arts professionals with edgy haircuts in the world (actual fact) and this work has been made for a middle class audience. The second is Fat Blokes because we think that our radical fat dance show should be seen by weirdos overseas and so we’re luring in the international producers to see if they agree.
I’m (not so) secretly bricking it - it’s a scary prospect at the start of July that I will in about four weeks be standing, on my own, in the middle of a stage, in a very big room, asking for people’s attention. The imposter is shouting at those of us who don’t come from money and privilege, its saying that this monied and privileged space isn’t where we belong, where we’ll be heard and in some cases induces anxieties that we might lose whatever we’ve managed to gain through our own doing.
With all this in mind the start of July comes a weird mix of anticipation, desperation and fear for many artists who are presenting new work. We start having dreams that no one turns up, we have to grapple with the reality of what happens if we don’t make our box office targets, we panic a bit, we talk with friends who calm us down. Competition enters the ring and everyone starts to fight for the same audience, everyone trying to make their show the loudest and most visible. Thousands are spent on marketing, publicity, boosted posts and flyers that will never be seen - just to claw what you can to ensure you play the game and play the game well - it's like monopoly but with real money and in the end we all lose.
I wonder instead of fighting for the one golden ticket what would happen if we shared it amongst us? What would happen if we signposted each others audience to each other's work? I also wonder what would happen if we decided not to take part but that's a conversation for another day.
With this in mind, here are just some of the work I will be seeing and what I’d love you to consider seeing should you be making your way up to that part of the world.
This are largely working class // queer // activists works cause them are my kinks...
Fave babe is gonna be flipping burgerz and TERFS
You too can spend an hour with Sofie talking about their fat arse
This ones about tenderness and optimism - much needed.
Harry Clayton Wright
The only queer ever to be both a celebrity of Blackpool and Tumblr simulatanuosly
Underground artist I’ve never heard of does show about being mental - apparently it’s good
A show about being a fat witch? Obviously very me.
Ginge is possibly the weirdest wimman you’ll meet - in her head it all makes sense.
One of the only spaces at the Fringe that puts working class comedy to the forefront and steers it away from posh people telling jokes about being posh
Actual babe. We keep meeting, plotting and moaning in various places across England over coffee. See this work.
Babe femme on dead friends and past idenitieis
These two are proper weirdos, they’ve made a show about having bevvies with strangers in that there Europe
Rotherhams finest and worst. Shes been on the telly but I remember her when we did our first together in 2010 - she was brilliant then (I wasn’t)
You can catch the info for both my fringe shows here...
Class & Fat Blokes