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There's no particular need in the world for another Fringe guide but I want to write this so what the heck.

1) What is the Fringe and why would I want to go?
Basically, over three weeks in August in Edinburgh there are a bunch of different festivals- film, books, international theatre and music, jazz- but the Fringe overshadows them all. It's the biggest arts festival in the world by quite some margin, featuring nearly 3,500 shows over three weeks (on any given day there are probably only 2,500 performances. People need a day off now and again.) There are a LOT of venues, mostly smallish rooms in cellars hastily transformed for the occasion. More than half of the shows are comedy, but that still leave a lot that aren't!
It's one of the main engines of the British performing arts scene, and shapes pretty much everything about how live comedy works here (performers work up an hour-long show for the Fringe and then tour it; winners of the Best Comedy and Best Newcomer awards get a lot of opportunities.) It's an immersion into a different world, with its own priorities, vocabulary and time zone. Also, Edinburgh is an amazing city.

2) OK, I'm sold, that sounds cool. Why are you doing a guide specifically for a middle-aged person?
Because teenagers may be able to see 8 shows a day, drink 20 pints a night, sleep on the floor for a week, and not break themselves, but I can't. I have handy hints and tips if you can't either.

3)Is there any need for the whole guide to be in Q and A format?

My main points, I suppose, are to cover some of the issues that you wouldn't necessarily realise when you first think about going, and to strongly suggest you keep in mind what you already know about what keeps you happy.
now read on... )
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OK so this is not a review of the Reeves and Mortimer tour, Read more... )
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So I managed to get leave midweek and have a few days in London; did sort-of-sightseeing that involved lots of eating dim sum and accidentally getting people Christmas presents, and mainly went to see comedy things that I was very excited about, and they totally lived up to expectations. (NB: as with Edinburgh stuff, this is a transcript of scribbled notes and may not make sense to anyone who isn't me.)
Alternative Comedy Memorial Society )
Here are a whole bunch of photos and short video from lots of Soho ACMSs, including the 4/11/2013 one I was at. (And here are some five-minute films they did for Channel 4's Comedy Blaps, they're funny.)

Austentatious )

I also went to see The 39 Steps on a half-price ticket for the matinee, and that was excellent fun as well.

Thom Tuck- Straight to DVD )
tl;dr- Laughing is good. And if you get a chance to see an ACMS or several, TOTALLY GO IT IS AMAZING.
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Sometimes everyone needs a friend just to tell them that everything's going to be OK. Or that there will be a new pixie in the eye of heaven.

(It's a pretty good clip right from the start, actually, as Ian's wig falls off and Dom stomps on furniture...)
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I put up a TV Tropes page for Dick and Dom In Da Bungalow; looking at it again this morning, there are a couple of wiki-internal links that aren't working, and I totally did put it on an index page! so I need to work out why it thinks I haven't. But the content is there.
Any improvements that need making? Edit it there or suggest them here. (In particular, any thoughts on good examples of it having medium awareness and no fourth wall, slapstick and surreal humour? I just went "....self-evident from the minute you turned it on, my brain hurts.") I'll go through and put pointers on the trope pages to lead to the entry once I've tidied up those non-functioning links; they charmingly refer to this as "entry pimping" but it is encouraged in moderation.
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All right, look, this is Dick and Dom, but it's not slashy- it's just one of the wierdest fucking things I've ever seen. It's a surprise the cow only looks sarcastic, I'd have thought she'd be apopleptic...

(The CBBC continuity links with Dick, Dom and Dodge the Dog have been taken down off Youtube. TRAGEDY.)
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I am, as my loyal readers will know, definitely not the kind of person who becomes so obsessed with performers that I will track down and watch avidly any old rubbish that they're in for five minutes. That is not a thing that I do, at all.

In other news, I saw an ad on the side of a bus giving some of the casting for Horrid Henry: The Movie, and immediately went to see it. It was quite a bit better than I expected, actually. I liked the plot being driven by a wicked private school headmaster (Richard E Grant, who is probably still finding splinters of scenery in his teeth) trying to get a local primary school shut down so the parents would have pay to to send their kids to his school.
Jo Brand was rather wasted- I think her dinner-lady character had one line, unless you count "Stew. Vegetable stew," as two lines; Noel Fielding's rock star character was effective; Anjelica Huston's English accent was impressive; I'm not sure why Mathew Horne didn't get a higher billing- his quietly resigned Dad was very watchable; I wanted to give Rebecca Front, as the headmistress, a hug. Of all the star turns, though, Dick and Dom's insanely creepy game show hosts were probably the most fun. I'm not sure if they were actually meant to be undead and have been presenting the show for 50 years or if that was just my interpretation (to be honest, what with the level of reality of the game show shifting between "TV studio with a live audience" and "magical doors that open into different rooms, or into a vast white space", I'm probably giving the back-story of the hosts more thought as I type this entry than anybody on the production did.)
Anyway. I am not sorry I saw this and will probably buy the DVD if it has some behind-the-scenes stuff on it, but I think there is only a pretty small proportion of the childless public that I could possibly recommend the film to (and by that I mean that [profile] totaldrwhofreak might enjoy it).
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Incoherent glee noises.

[ profile] sigmonster and our parent were here at the weekend and put on a new toilet seat for me. Oh, and we walked a lot (well, a lot for me)- a circular walk from a microbrew pub one day (rare breed sheep, a ford, a wobbling stile, a headwind that pushed my hat brim over my nose for about a mile, a clapper bridge, bilberries, and surprisingly little mud); the next day, ice-cream and a farmer's market in Settle, industrial archaeology at the Ribblehead viaduct, and deliberately walking to a cave and then not going into it. Plus we ate apple pancakes and a non-barbeque. It was lovely. And my joints didn't even hurt afterwards.
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So: [ profile] sigmonster was here for the weekend and we did quite enough DIY for my liking, thank you very much. My ridiculously cheap giant swivelly chair works again, which is spiffing.
Also I have been to see Yeomen of the Guard and frankly I reckon there must have been Victorian girls writing fixit fic when it first came out (there are two heroines- one of them gets a dashing soldier and the other one (spoiler!) is blackmailed into marrying a torturer; WS Gilbert at his charming best there. No terribly memorable tunes, either.)

Dick & Dom: tinhattery )
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It looks from Emma Kennedy's tweets that This Is Jinsy is getting a series- yay.

In other TV news...
There's a series, right, that I'm really really liking and would love to read fic for. It's not terribly surprising, because it ticks an awful lot of my boxes; there's a male double-act who are really comfortable with each other (and cute), and it's set at a theatre- they get in current comedy groups to do a sketch (Pappy's and Idiots of Ants have both been on), and then there are backstage antics as well, and then on top of that they do another layer of backstageness like pointing out when sombody's had to have his lines written on a board. And the writers keep doing homages to the 1948 Show/Python custard pie comedy lecture sketch, and the Adam and Joe soft toy film sketches, and so forth. It's just silly, and great fun, and very very slashable.

And um. Look, it's Dick and Dom's Funny Business, OK? I just- when Dick kissed Dom's finger better in the latest episode, I just knew that for most of the sketch shows I like, there would have been a kink meme set up before the episode finished showing, and I was saddened. (I may have watched all of The Legend of Dick and Dom episodes on iPlayer in an attempt to desadden. You can't prove anything.)

I'm sure that there's a lot of other people who love this. It's just that they're all under twelve and fairly unlikely to be writing the sort of stories I'm after...
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Ate with [ profile] sigmonster last night, a kind of noodles I hadn't had before (la mein- hand-pulled- very nice), then we saw Stewart Lee's Vegetable Stew- three 25-minute bits, in preparation for his new TV series: moving to the country; charity gigs and "a sustained personal attack on Adrian Chiles"; and the difference between comedy in the 80s and now (all with lots of digressions; also, wilful obscurity, attempting to completely alienate the audience or at least anybody who wasn't already a fan of gagless comedy- "some people would take an 8-week run in the West End as a chance to build their audience. I prefer consolidating", and a song about false observational comedy.) It was smashing. I particularly liked how he told us how useful tuning a guitar is as a shield in case the material isn't going well, and then spent ages tuning the guitar.

Earlier we had Unexpected Trip To IKEA- failed to not buy anything, but it's a very nice throw- and wrapped the first lot of presents.

And today I'm going to stay in all day and watch all the telly I missed. Lovely.
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Booking's opened for the Boosh's show in Leeds and I've got a seat in row C!
Ju's home town! Last date of the tour! [Apart from all the extra dates that will certainly get added in London. Ssh.] Eee! Huge!

(I may still come in tomorrow to get a ticket in Wakefield - I mean, that's two months earlier! By the time they get to Leeds it'll have mutated in all sorts of ways from how it started. It's totally worth going twice! Or even {cough}four times{cough} like I did last time, but I don't think I can justify that again...)
I am slightly embarrassed about booking a ticket a year in advance, yes. But next year I'll be stony broke, and it's seriously gonna sell out tomorrow, I think- there were very few seats left in the stalls already. It's just luck I was getting a ticket for something else there [Dara O'Briain in March] and had a quick look to see if by any chance...)

It's nice to have something to be all squeeful over, life's been alternately boring and stressful for the last couple of weeks.


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