Desperate times, desperate measures: as the bombardment of media outlets by Fringe acts shifts into top gear, comedian Caimh McDonnell’s offer to pay critics to review his Edinburgh show has already paid off.
McDonnell says he will pay £100 for every review published by a “recognised media source” by 20 August, offering to spend up to £3,000 rather than blow it on a costly publicity campaign.
“Every year performers at the Edinburgh festival spend thousands of pounds on PR for their shows,” he says. “I’ve decided to cut out the middleman… That’s right, I really am paying for reviews.”
But not quite. The money will go to charity – MacMillan Cancer Relief – rather than being paid out as a simple bribe.
McDonnell’s offer has already won him exposure on the Chortle website, and last week the Edinburgh Comedy Awards boss Nica Burns flagged it up as an example of the “spirit of anarchy” around Fringe shows like his: “The point he made very clearly is that everyone comes to Edinburgh to be discovered, but they are concerned about the amount of space and coverage there is going to be for reviews.
“In Edinburgh comedy at the moment it’s very hard for comedians to get much space unless they are very famous. Reviews from Edinburgh give them their quotes for the rest of the year.”
All right, here’s the review – “Caimh McDonnell’s show The Art of Conversation takes chequebook journalism to a new low.” Now, pay up…
Comedian Nathan Cassidy, meanwhile, is also handing out cash – to the audience. They will get £1 to watch his Fringe show “Free Pound” (price of admission: -£1) or 50p to watch his 50-minute documentary show, I am Orig.
Both shows, he says, are “about money, generosity, and a man who saved his whole life for a day that never came,” but again there’s a catch. “I’ll be asking for generosity back from my audiences, and all profits will be going to charity.”
The London ‘Fringe’
After years of worry about the impact of the Olympics on audiences at the Edinburgh festivals, visitors to the Olympic Games are promised easy access to the Fringe.
The Fringe 2012, that is – a “unique pop-up members club” on Swan Wharf, just 100 metres from the Olympic Park. Membership will cost you £150 a day, including meals, access to five bars, wi-fi, and “a large screen video relaying all the Olympic action”. Not a comedian in sight.
Tweed in the Park
For those of us with a weakness for John Buchan’s old stamping grounds, Tweedsmuir in the Scottish Borders has rolled out the line-up for its music festival.
Headlining the event on Saturday 8 September are the Capitals. Recently named by The Scotsman as one of the top 10 Scottish bands to see this summer, the band are playing T in the Park, but this provides another chance to catch up with them along with other UK talent.Also in the line-up are Zoe Bestel, a 14-year-old enthusiastically described as “the next Adele with a ukelele”, along with Borders singer/songwriter Katie Forbes.
The festival, in its fourth year, was set up to raise funds to save the village pub, the Crook Inn, one of the oldest pubs in Scotland. The 400-year-old inn, one of the first licensed establishments in Scotland, was closed in 2006 when the owner attempted to convert it into homes. The Tweedsmuir Community Company (TCC) has now reached an agreement to buy the premises but must raise £160,000 by the end of the year to do so.
The inn was a haunt of Robert Burns – who wrote his poem Willie Wastle’s Wife there – and of Sir Walter Scott. Buchan also frequented the pub during the time he wrote his adventure novel, The Thirty-Nine Steps, and immortalised the hostelry in his short story, Gideon Scott.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: West