The things I saw @FlowFestival 2013

Quite simply: the best weekend I’ve ever spent in Finland.

FLOW FESTIVAL IS FUN!

After the intense theatre-going antics of the Edinburgh Fringe, I hopped on a plane in Glasgow and flew my tired behind over to Finland for what is their biggest and best music festival, Flow.

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For the past six years, behind this former power plant in deepest darkest Helsinki, the people of Finland have laid host to musicians many, and fearless festival fashionistas too.
But we’ll come back to that one shortly…

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Arriving on the Thursday meant that I’d missed the opening party on the Wednesday (featuring The Knife) however, not to be perturbed, I embraced Friday’s antics like there was no tomorrow.

In fact, instead of just reeling off what I saw on each day – I’m going to list the, quite frankly, AMAZING bands/singers/acts that I managed to see over the course of the three nights I was there. Before I start talking about just how awesome the festival is, you need to understand the breadth of musical talent available to you, via FLOW. Ready?

Friday

  • Kendrick Lamar – ‘Good, but not as good as I hoped it’d be’.
  • Cat Power – ‘Really bloody good’.
  • Alicia Keys –  Ahhh Alicia! I actually met Alicia Keys back in 2001, when she was doing the circuit promoting Songs in A Minor (I’ve got the copy that she signed for me knocking around the flat somewhere) and I really wanted to see her again. She was… AMAZING (of course).
  • Moderat, never heard of them, turns out they’re amazing. We danced. HARD.

It was an amazing day.

And it ended with a random house party somewhere in south Helsinki at a converted loft apartment with our host serving champagne and salmon until the early hours. No, really.

I bloody love the Finnish.

Sidenote: Look up Huotron

Saturday

  • Lieminen. A Finnish sensation which basically culminated with every Finnish person I knew leaping around shouting – ‘Party time! Excellent!’ – like this, but with a stronger beat.
  • Tim Sweeney, with his Beats in Space radio show – SO good.
  • Space Dimension Controller (MENTAL). With trippy inter-galactic chill out tunes and voice-overs such as ‘Flying through space and meeting a robotic prostitute that wasn’t mentioned in the tour guide’, SDC was certainly a festival highlight.
    Sidenote: The RBMA Backyard, where I heard the last two acts mentioned, was my discovery of the day on Saturday. With myriad electro-beats from Tim Sweeney and then into the mind-bending acid-tripping storytelling from the Space Dimension Controller, it all got pretty weird, pretty quickly. Great vibe though)
  • Cody Chestnut. Everyone had a really good dance to this stuff. A really good dance.
  • My Bloody Valentine. The signs said ‘WEAR EARPLUGS’. The Englishman said ‘Don’t be so daft! You Finns worry too much!’ My friends said ‘JAMES. WEAR EARPLUGS’. I said… ‘AAAAAAAAARGH MY EARS!!’
  • Circuit Des Yeux. This was our attempt to see something random at the The Other Sound stage. It was pretty random, definitely. Imagine soft folk music, with a dash of whale song. Now strangle that whale and beat it against the kitchen table. Yeah, that’s what it sounded like. Still, they had bean bags. Which was nice. After three songs we got up and left, took a stroll past Nick Cave and wandered off for…
  • Mount Kimbie. Another recommendation from my host, Robin. I don’t know how we ended up in the tent where they were playing, but they turned out to be bloody EPIC. And the perfect way to end the Saturday night. Must look them up some more when I hit home turf. Similarly to Moderat, a really good dance discovery.

Ended back at Siltunen for dancing til 4am.
Blagged my way in.
Danced like a maniac.
Job done.

Bonus from Saturday? Regular readers will know that I’m currently reviewing a neat little gadget called the Autographer. On the Saturday I decided to clip it to my friend Ville just to see what happened. Not only did Ville (with the Autographer) end up taking nearly 1800 photos(!), but he also threw them all together into one awesome little 3min video. Check it –

How awesome is that? Scratch one up for ‘useful applications of wearable tech’, right there.

Sunday

  • Public Enemy. It’s a bold man that dedicates a set to both trayvon Martin AND Michael Jackson but that’s what Flavor Flav did. Legend. That plus Mixes, raps and crowd runs. Full on, rubbish and yet brilliantly bonkers all at the same time. Towards the end of Public Enemy I was encouraged to leave a bit early and head to…
  • HAIM. So I did. My reward? A damn good spot for what was probably my performance of the entire festival. Even though the lead singer had a throat infection (and yet refused to cancel – like oh so many others) the set was re-organised, tracks rearranged, and everyone had an epic time. Seriously, I loved them –

After that we wandered back to find our friends and watch some…

  • Of Monsters And Men – Hey! – that’s all I need to say really.
    (…then we skipped Disclosure for…)
  • Bat for Lashes! YES! MAD as a March hare but oh so amazing with it. I really enjoyed this, as did my guests and friends. I think BfL was one of the few ‘full’ performances that I caught all festival. And I was glad for it. After that, we donned our glasses and sought out ourselves some…
  • Kraftwerk………
    AUTOBAHN in 3D, bitches. IMMENSE.

3D ARMY

Much laughter ensued. Post-dicking-about here, we went off to catch the..

  • Opening tracks from Goat (mental) seriously, WTF-levels of AWESOME. And then, last but not least —
  • Grimes, who must’ve been hammered. She couldn’t get her sound right and then had these random dancers.. it was just, strange. Give me a repeat of HAIM any day.

And that, was that. Well, I say that, I mean – that was all the MUSIC that we saw. IN THREE DAYS. Amazing. I know I’ve used that word a lot over the past several hundred words or so but seriously, Flow Festival was amazing. My original plan was to just list the music and then talk about how much of an awesome time I had. However, I think I’ve managed to kill two birds with one stone with the above descriptions…

However! One thing I do know though is —

Next time anyone asks me, ‘What is FLOW?’ I will answer:

  • Flow is the best festival I have ever been to overseas.
  • Flow is the most fun I have ever had in Finland.
  • Flow is the best place to find the widest selection of popular, random, esoteric, and world music.
  • Flow is home to some of the best-dressed festival-goers in the entire world.
  • Flow is where I’m going to be this time next year.

I’m serious: if you’ve never been to Finland before, go for Flow Festival.

You’ll have the best time ever.

——

PS. Early bird tickets for 2014 are on sale NOW.
PPS. Want to see more? Check out my Flow Festival Flickr album!

 

 

 

Review: The Edinburgh Fringe // #edfringe

‘Fringe Notes’

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Leg one into my two leg holiday and, flying somewhere over the North Sea, I figured I’d write up the short notes I made during my first ever trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, in Scotland.

In total, my good friend Robbie and I managed to cram in eighteen shows in just under three and a half days. If you’re off to the Fringe yourself this month (it’s on until the end of August) then the following reviews and recommendations might be of use to you. If you’re not off to the Fringe this month, why not read them anyway? They might be interesting and I’m sure the performers behind them will be hitting the road again real soon.

Lets do this.

Day One – August 4th, 2013

1. HOLES

Waiting for Holes #edfringe #flowfringe

Blurb: Three conference organisers and a teenage girl are the sole survivors of a fatal plane crash on a remote tropical island.

Original Notes

  • Oh look, it’s the bloke from the BT ad
  • Started well / funny
  • Central conceit of plane crash fairly believable
  • Twists and turns throughout? Not so much
  • Why did that character do that?!

Review
HOLES was the first thing we saw at the fringe and was probably the weakest of everything we saw. The actors were generally quite good, however the script (and to an extent the directing) let it down considerably. Part of the set up was that the play was being held at a ‘secret location’ which, as much as Robbie and I discussed it over the coming days, really added absolutely nothing to the overall concept. — ‘Hey, they crash land on a beach so let’s do the play… Near a beach!’ (note: near, not on). Bah. Anyway, I don’t like being highly critical of stuff. I just thought / hoped it’d be better.

Verdict
Skip.

2. Vikki Stone: Definitely

@vikkistone Boom

Blurb: After her smash hit, sell-out run in 2012, Vikki Stone returns with a whole new hour of songs, stand-up and depending on whether or not her dog can learn to dance…

Original Notes

  • Laugh my face off hilarious
  • Amazing songs
  • Dogs
  • TV
  • Simon Cowell
  • She was just… Great!

Review
I first met Vikki Stone about five years ago (ish) through some mutual friends and even back then I thought she was pretty awesome. Up until the Fringe however I’d not actually seen her perform any of her stuff on an actual stage in real life. So, along with only a couple of others, Vikki was on my must-see list and, to be perfectly honest, she should be on yours too. Musically gifted, comedically talented, and imaginatively filthy, Vikki’s musical numbers and deft storytelling set up one of the best pay offs I saw at the Fringe. By the end of the show, both me and Robbie were crying with laughter.

Great work, Vikki. And good luck with the rest of the fringe, x

Verdict
Vikki is awesome. DEFINITELY (see what I did there?) book your tickets right now.

3. Adam Buxton: Kernel Panic
Blurb: Cult buffoon, award-winning radio host and tech-lemming Adam Buxton looks within the soul of his laptop and considers how we present ourselves in the net age (he shows stuff he’s made and reads out web comments). Just four nights.

Original Notes

  • I thought he was OK
  • I think he’s been funnier
  • I’m not sure how I feel about ‘PowerPoint comedy’

Review
I’m not really sure to say about this. Adam Buxton is Adam Buxton. I guess I went in expecting to laugh a lot more than I actually did. PowerPoint comedy is okaaaaay, if done properly. But when you work with slides and give/see presentations week in, week out there isn’t much that you can do with a slide that you haven’t seen before. I know that sounds incredibly pompous – but it’s true. That aside, some of it was genuinely funny (and Adam is obviously incredibly talented when it comes to mixing technology with giggles), I just thought it could’ve been stronger is all. I mean, there’s only so many times you can read a YouTube comment in a funny voice, right?

Verdict
If you’re a fan, go see. If not, maybe consider passing.

4. The Room (film)
Blurb: Bring your plastic spoons and enjoy a Sunday night screening of the cult phenomenon that is The Room.

Original Notes

  • O.M.G. AMAZING.
  • ‘What candles? What music? What sexy dress?!’
  • Spooooons!

Review
OK, so while those original notes might well be the most random set so far (and perhaps throughout this entire thing), however The Room deserves them oh so much. A bit of background is required. Basically, the room is WITHOUT DOUBT one of the worst films ever made. Shot in 2003 by a chap named Tommy Wiseau, The Room has developed such a cult following that, whenever it’s shown, people get together and heckle and yell and shout at the screen whenever parts of the plot/script/etc stop making sense (which is basically ALL OF THE TIME). If you’ve not seen it before, make sure you see it at an organised screening. Watching it at home will be fun, I’m sure, but seeing it with others (who know the heckles) is just brilliant.

One of the best cinema experiences I’ve ever bad.

Verdict
If you can’t see it at the Fringe, go see it somewhere else (I hear there’s regular screenings in London).

Day Two  – August 5th, 2013

5. Avenue Q
Blurb: A coming of age story like no other, join us in Avenue Q with a cast of fluffy, filthy and unforgettable characters who’ve found themselves living on the wrong side of Sesame Street… Featuring an enlightening repertoire of Tony Award winning songs such as It Sucks to Be Me and What do you do with a BA in English? Don’t miss out on this celebration of a decade of mischief, bad behaviour and political incorrectness.

Original Notes

  • Least favourite so far.
  • Not up to the standard I was expecting.
  • 2-3 good characters/ actors in it overall, the rest fell a little flat.

Review
There’s not much I can add to the above if I’m honest. It was a bit painful in places. If you’ve seen it in the West End, then don’t worry about seeing it again. Needed stronger directing, better pace, and generally tightening up all over.

Verdict
If you’ve not seen it in the West End, go and see it when it returns. That’s all I got.

6. Ten Out of Ten


Blurb: Ten Out of Ten is a comic peek into our absurd world of triumphs and disasters. Three experts put our successes and failures under the microscope using electric guitars, the raising of hands and chalking on walls. It’s all here: brownie badges and driving tests; failing Grade One Flute and that first date; climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Join the team for an evening of achieving that will feed your eyes, ears and sense of ambition.

Original notes

  • Moving
  • Funny
  • Poignant
  • A story about love, achievement, and validation. I cried, twice.

Review
Looking back over the past few days, I think Ten out of Ten (TooT) really is my most favourite thing that I saw at the Fringe. It’s a big statement. TooT was funny, sad, moving, and such a genuine surprise (apparently Robbie stuck a pin in the programme!) we just got completely swept away. Yep, I cried. Twice. And I don’t mind admitting it. An emotional roller coaster of immersive theatre which tugs at the right heart strings and challenges what qualifies as achievement (and what we perceive as validation), TooT really was just ace. It spoke to me on a number of levels and I left valuing life, and all that is in it, just that little bit more than I already do.

Verdict
One of the best things I saw at the Fringe this year. See it.

7. Festival of the Spoken Nerd

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Blurb: Sci-curious comedy for the fearlessly inquisitive. Stand-up mathematician Matt Parker (Things You Need To Know, BBC2), geeky songstress Helen Arney (Infinite Monkey Cage, BBC Radio 4 ) and experiments maestro Steve Mould (Britain’s Brightest Street Scientist, BBC1) bring you Full Frontal Nerdity with live experiments and unashamed geekiness. Joyous, anarchic and exponentially entertaining – Nerd is the word! It’s time to get your geek on.

Original Notes

  • Brilliant! Maths! Science!
  • Songs!
  • Conditional formatting!
  • “That’s great”
  • Magenta – NOT REAL

Review
Three nerds (one physicist, one mathematician, and one scientist) get together and, through comedy and song, share insights about the world around us AND make jokes about the geekiest things EVER.

First Fringe magic moment: when Matt Parker demonstrated the rather intricate conditional formatting on one of his spreadsheets (stay with me on this one, it was funny) I said, in somewhat involuntarily awe (and quite loudly) – ‘That’s great!’

Of course I was right near the front and of course he heard me, he made a joke about it and moved on. A couple of days later I ran into him and explained that I really was genuinely impressed with aforementioned excel excellence and we had a hug, and hen laughed – a lot. Amazing.

Sidenote: one of my favourite things about the Fringe is that the performers try and see as much, if not more than, the actual attendees. Which means the chances of running into one of your favourite acts in the street or in the back of a theatre room are actually quite high. So yeah, that’s awesome.

Verdict
If maths or science (or even spreadsheets that do awesome things) tickle your inner geek: go see. Even if they don’t, the three nerds are all super likeable and you’ll leave having learnt something new anyway.

8. Pajama Men
Blurb: Beulah would eat a spider to fit in with the cool kids. Nadine’s arm is missing and she wants it back. Franz’ biggest problem is life is too easy. A procrastinating king has only 700 years to get his s*** together, if he doesn’t it’s certain death for everyone. ‘The Pajama Men create a cartoon of the mind, a shape-shifting world in which anything seems not just possible, but imminent

Original Notes

  • Just. Wow.
  • Mime
  • Improv
  • Great narrative
  • This reminds me of college (in the best of ways)
  • Intertwined storytelling, energetic, fast, smart, clever, innovative, and hilarious

Review
Two guys, in pajamas. What else do you need? What at first starts off as a bunch of skits featuring all kinds of characters from all walks of life, slowly culminates into one epic tale that spans hundreds of years. Already I feel like I’ve said too much. Robbie had seen these guys before and apparently they’re quite famous for who they are and what they do. This is the first I had heard of them and I enjoyed every single minute. The characters were hilarious, the confidence in both the material and between the two gents on stage was immense, and overall the thing had gasping in awe and wonder at how well the whole thing had been crafted together (and yet still with enough room to ad lib here and there as needed).

Oh, and if you don’t walk away with the words ‘TOO EASY!’ stuck in your head as your new favourite catchphrase, you’re doing it wrong.

Verdict
Go and enjoy the madness.

9. The Horne Section
Blurb: Rolling into Edinburgh with a brand new barnstorming show, The Horne Section will yet again provide the festival’s best musical mayhem. Top comedians plus amazing performers combine to make this an unmissable show. Fresh from their second BBC Radio 4 series, the first band to ever host Never Mind the Buzzcocks are this year rocking an enormous cow. Be there.

Original Notes

  • Funny songs, hurrah!
  • Alex Horne is GREAT
  • Plus Guests!
  • Le Gateau Chocolat is hilarious
  • Robin Ince was shouty rubbish
  • David O’Doherty – read the euology to his still alive father whole the latter was not only in the room but also playing jazz piano with the band. Effing. Amazing. Magical.

Review
Where do I begin? I mean, the original notes above kind of carry across how amazing it was. But look, let me try: Alex Horne is a good comedian. He’s also a good musical comedian. He also has an awesome band called the Horne Section. And together they’re just really, really good. Obviously they have a show that they do each night but each section is punctuated with having a special guest or three with whom they just jazzzzz…

We had Le Gateau Chocolat (amazing cross dressing black guy with a velvet voice of win), Robin Ince (not as funny or as good as he thought he was), and then – Fringe magic moment number two, David O’Doherty delivering, along with his dad, one of the most moving, and hilarious speeches I’ve ever seen or heard. His dad can jazz. Brilliantly. And the band jazzed with him. Just amazing.

Verdict
While I doubt you’ll get the same magic as we did, you might get something else. Go see.

Day Three  – August 6th, 2013

10. Devil in the deck

And now at the #edfringe? SOME MAGIC!

Blurb: A timeless fairy tale of love, magic and adventure set to alluring live musical accompaniment. Jack Swindle is a smooth-talking grifter cursed by a bad Tarot reading. Jack leads us into the compelling world of stings, scams and the con. Together we travel the world in search of a cure to the curse, cheating at cards to cheat death.

Original Notes

  • Storytelling from the Deep South with a healthy smattering of card tricks.
  • Great card tricks in fact.
  • Close up magic of the best kind.
  • It was a lot of fun, I cheered and whooped.

Review
Robbie and I picked this one at random, from one the huge boards outside one of the venues, after I expressed an interest in seeing some magic. ‘Devil in the deck, that sounds like its got magic in it, lets go to that’ – and we did. And it was awesome.

Small space, intimate setting, just two guys (one magician, one musician) and a beautiful story told from a man’s heart. Every now and then he’d stop and share a trick with us, and every now and then you’d gasp as the story twisted and turned a different way. I really enjoyed this and it was quite refreshing and quite different.

Verdict
Need some card tricks in your life? Delivered by a magical and story-telling pro? Go see.

11. BBC Radio 4 recording of ‘Its not what you know…’
Blurb: Miles Jupp takes the chair of It’s Not What You Know, the panel show which sets out to see how well panellists know those closest to them. For in this show it’s not what, but who you know that matters – and more importantly how well you know them.

Original notes

  • Kevin Bridges
  • Funny
  • Good wit/banter
  • Went on a bit (maybe I was just tired!)

Review
Robbie managed to bag some free tickets to this recording and, given the knackered state we were in, it was probably just what we needed [to sit down and listen to some Radio 4 be recorded]. It was great having Kevin Bridges on the panel  and the banter between him and Miles was hilarious. Looking at the scheduling I don’t think it’s actually been broadcast yet… Maybe worth a listen when it goes out.

Verdict
Fun, but probably other/better stuff you can find at the Fringe.

12. Worst of Scottee
Blurb: Scottee encounters past flames, ex-friends and people who no longer like this ‘edgy innovator’ (Independent) in his debut solo show. Find out what people really think of him, why he pretended to have AIDS and what prompted him to steal money from his Nan. This show will give you reasons not to like him: it is Scottee at his very worst.

Original Notes

  • Painful
  • Funny
  • Honest / True
  • Heart-wrenching
  • Bonus tickets!

Review
Another random find for us: my friend Benny alerted me to the fact that he’d seen Scottee put on Facebook that he’d hidden two tickets to his show in a photobooth in Boots on the North Bridge. So of COURSE we had to go find them!

And I’m really glad we did – #worstofscottee is gut-aching review of the worst things that Scottee has ever done (and the reasons why). It is at times hilarious and yet, by the end, so heartfelt and so bare – it’s almost painful to watch. I wished, when it ended, that Scottee didn’t leave the stage. That instead we could have all got up and collectively hugged him as we left. The openness is staggering.

Verdict
Want something challenging and different? SEE SCOTTEE.

13. School Night
Blurb: Don’t end up in detention, head to School Night! The comedy circuit’s greatest acts tackle their own specialist subjects.

Original Notes

  • Stand up
  • Robot Wars
  • One. Miserable. Heckler.
  • Musical history
  • Hiding the audience

Review
Again, another ‘Let’s just do this on a whim’ thing – School Night was pretty funny. Obviously it’ll be different every night but one of the highlights for me – and probably Fringe magic moment number three – was when, after one particular audience member put her hand up to ask to go to the toilet, the compere jokingly remarked that we should all hide before she gets back. Well, WE DID.  MWAHAHAHAHAHAAH. Amazing.

Verdict
Worth a punt, definitely.

Day Four  – August 7th, 2013

14. Choose Your Own Documentary
Blurb: A found diary, a film crew and an incredible true story. Inspired by the Choose Your Own Adventure books of the 1980s, you determine Nathan’s fate in a unique interactive experience. Every twist and turn is in your hands. With over 1500 versions and multiple endings, where will the story lead? Who can help you discover the truth behind the diary’s pages? You decide.

Original Notes

  • Gorman-esque delivery
  • Choose Your Own Adventure style – I like!
  • Funny and oddly moving
  • GOOD. WORK.

Review
This really took me by surprise. Nathan Penlington is a self-confessed obsessive nerd and his hobby of choice is the Choose Your Own Adventure books that were huge in the 80s. As a result, the audience themselves get to choose their own adventure and route through the tale that Nathan wants to tell. And what fun it is. I really, really enjoyed this. Nothing makes me happier than listening to eloquent geeks talk passionately about what makes them tick. Good work, sir.

Verdict
Definitely worth a look (more so if you’re a child of the 80s).

15. Casual Violence: House of Nostril
Blurb: Award-winning sketch terrors ‘creative, strange, brilliantly performed stuff’ (Kate Copstick, Scotsman) and double Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality nominees (2011 and 2012) present the rise and fall and fall and fall and fall and fall and rise and fall of the most villainous bloodline in human history. There will be taxidermy.

Original Notes

  • League of Gentlemen-esque
  • Weird
  • Dark
  • Energetic
  • A bit hit and miss

Review
This was our one and only ‘leaflet purchase’. There are a MILLION different things you can see at the Fringe each year and of course, there are a BILLION leaflets to tell you about them all. We took one for this, and decided we’d go. It was, in places, quite darkly funny. In others, it was just a bit… much. Not sure I’d see it again. Definitely thought there was something there, just not.. quite there. If that makes sense?

Verdict
Very dark. Talented performers. But not something I’d see again.

16. Tom Webb’s Wedding
Blurb: I do comedy… My dad got an MBE and now I can get married in St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s like getting a Golden Ticket from Willy Wonka. I just need to arrange the wedding … and find love.

Original Notes

  • I really enjoyed spending an hour with Tom
  • Nice central idea
  • Warm, chatty, funny

Review
Tom is the compere at the monthly film/pub quiz that I attend and, fortunately enough, is actually really quite funny. Given that I’ve only ever spent time with Tom when he’s posing such questions as ‘Can you name me ten films in which a main character loses their virginity?’, I was really quite looking forward to this. And I’m pleased to report it was actually really bloody good. Tom is a likeable and charming host and gets the audience on side pretty damn quickly because of it. Part of the ‘free fringe’ (you don’t pay for a ticket, but are encouraged to throw some cash in a bucket at the end), Tom’s Wedding is definitely worth seeking out if you fancy a comfy giggle with a comedian who includes you for your laughs, not just everyone else’s.

Verdict
Yeah, I’d see him again.

17. Piff the Magic Dragon
Blurb: He’s played Sydney Opera House. Toured with Mumford & Sons. Had over ten million hits on YouTube. And performed to over 200,000 people in a year. But enough about Mr Piffles – The World’s First Conjuring Chihuahua. Piff’s back too. With brand new tricks and a mind-reading fish, Edinburgh’s favourite magical dragon returns.

Original Notes

  • One that we booked in from the off
  • REALLY FUNNY
  • Both Robbie and I got dragged on stage (me for the mind-reading goldfish, amazing)

Review
I first saw Piff perform at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London (for Shakespeare’s birthday) and he was brilliant. He pretty much brought the house down with his now trademark mix of dark humour, sardonic wit and smart magic tricks; all of which both made you laugh and gape in awe. My face hurt I laughed so much. It’s true. When we saw Piff would be at the Fringe too, then he was a dead cert. AND HE WAS AWESOME. Both Robbie and I got pulled up on stage (for two separate tricks), and I just giggled like a stupid school boy throughout.

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It was just hilarious. I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Verdict
Go. See. Piff.

18. Fleabag
Blurb: F*** it. Today I am going to be a new person. No more slutty pizzas. No more porny w***s. Lots more lovely threesomes. Go. The Fleabag bites back.

Original Notes

  • OK, this is a riot
  • Strong
  • Monologue of hilarity
  • Majorly dark, but so spot on

Review
I loved this. I really, really loved it. Writer and performer, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, was simply brilliant. I laughed. I gasped. I got it. This was so good. So so good. This tale of a twisted life, told through a series of semi-successful drunken attempts at living, really does make you laugh hard. Both at the hilarity of the situations our lead finds herself in but also at the stark stupidity of it all and just how easy it is to mess things up when you let go. Go and see this. I really thought she was ace.

Verdict
Definitely one to see.

In closing…

If you made it this far, then good on you.
If you’re headed up to the Fringe, then I hope this helped.
If you’re one of the of performers I wrote about above, then thank you. Whether I enjoyed it or not, it was still amazing to be a part of what you pulled together.

Edinburgh Fringe 2013 is/was amazing.

If you’ve never been before, start looking at hotels for next year now – AND GO.

Update: Robbie’s written up his words too. Also worth a look. 

I got an @Autographer to play with

LOOK!

Autographer

OoooooooooOoooo…

I know, right? A wearable camera that I AM TAKING ON HOLIDAY*.

TOMORROW.

YES!

Also: I unboxed it…  USING VINE

(I am too cool)

More to come on this, VERY SOON.

(if you can’t wait to hear more, there’s a teeny tiny segment on what this is, what it does, and how I’m going to use it, about seven minutes into Episode 59 of The Voicemail). 

 

*Where am I going? First to Scotland, for comedy-based shenanigans at the EDINBURGH FRINGE festival and then, after that, straight onto Finland for much musical merriment at FLOW FESTIVAL.

Amazing.

 

See you on the flip side gang…

 

 

Six awesome PureView shots at take off

I’m trying out the new Nokia 808 PureView at the moment and, while there’s a full review to come very soon, I thought I’d share these long exposures I snapped just as we were leaving the runway a week or so ago for Cape Verde –

I am in love with the camera on this phone.

Enjoy –

Long exposures over Lisbon

Long exposures over Lisbon

Long exposures over Lisbon

Long exposures over Lisbon

Long exposures over Lisbon

Long exposures over Lisbon

Click through each image for the original Flickr uploads

 

The Weekend Media Festival

Back in late September 2011, I was fortunate enough to be asked to lecture at the Weekend Media Festival in Rovinj, Croatia.

Weekend Media Festival!

Now in its fourth year, the festival is known for being the key event for the local communications industry and, with an expectation of 3000+ attendees, Nokia were onboard as sponsors; with both a device launch and a booth on site, part of the deal was that they were able to nominate their own speaker for the weekend.

The brief? An introduction to word of mouth marketing; a relatively unknown discipline in that part of the world. Case studies would be a necessity but, while I was permitted to talk a little about the work with Nokia, any heavy-handedness would not be welcome.

‘Perfect’, I thought. ‘It’ll be me, a room of 20 or so people, talking about (and probably kicking ideas around) the idea of word of mouth marketing and what it means to the modern-day brand’. Donezo.

Upon arrival [landing just after midnight, after leaving Beirut in the morning and making a short stopover in London for lunch – long story], I was asked to come down to the venue to meet the team and pick up my credentials.

‘But it’s really late and I doubt it’ll go on for long, I’ll do it tomorrow’, I said.
‘No’, they insisted ‘the party is only just starting. Come now.’

I did, and they were right: the party was only just getting started. However, that wasn’t the only surprise of the night. After meeting and greeting the rest of the people I was there to represent, I was asked if I’d like to see where I’d be speaking on the morrow – ‘Yes’ I replied, ‘that’d be great’, expecting to be shown to some corner/booth somewhere in the main hall.

Oh no. How wrong could I be?

Imagine my surprise as I was shown into the main conference hall and simply told ‘Yes, you’ll be in here’
‘Sorry? How many people can fit in here?’
‘Oh, about 900 sitting but probably closer to a full thousand when we fill up at the back’

Right.

The following day I rewrote the entire presentation (less Q&A and small numbers, more pretty images and big stories). I had potentially one thousand people to entertain. At 5:30pm. On a Friday. Plus, after once reading about Jyri Engestrom‘s tendency to wear bright red cardigans whenever he gives lectures to large groups of people (it helps the audience keep track of the presenter on stage apparently), I thought I should rock the red trousers too.

So I did – and it was awesome.

http://vimeo.com/30436391

PS. Rovinj is gorgeous, I thoroughly recommend visiting if you ever get the chance.

The BWA*

*Big Wall of Asia

Beijing North Train Station

Moleskine Entry: 24th April, 2011

Up early today, we’re on the 9:30 train out of Beijing to visit the Great Wall of China.

One ticket to Badaling please!

We came, we saw and the Big Wall of Asia did not disappoint.

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

MPD Sufferer [at the Great Wall]

The Great Wall Skyline

Tonight most of the friends I’ve made are off home and I’ll be venturing out into the city on my own for another week.

I say ‘on my own’, there other people here, friends I’ve made along the way, plus one of my train buddies has extended his stay to hangout a bit longer. Should be cool.

Can’t believe I’m less than a week from home.

Moscow – nay London! – seems an entire world away.

Other things:

– – — – Whatley out

One world. One dream.

Bare Jing

Writing up my diaries, it seems that China really did get the better of me and my Moleskine. What lies below is the last full entry, after here it’s just random scattered notes that I’ll do my best to put into some kind of coherent timeline. Wish me luck…

I. Love. It. Here. Already.

Moleskine Entry April 24th 2011

  1. Bejing (and China in general actually) is beautiful. Stunning even. I am more at peace now than I think I have ever been. I am calm and immensely happy.
  2. We have been busy.

We arrived on April 22nd. It was raining. Hard, Asian, Bladerunner-esque city rain.
It was perfect.

I had video to show you, but it never saved – this makes me sad, but I think the definition above does it justice.

China!

After checking into our hotel and getting our debrief, we ventured out for some food.

OH MY GOD THE FOOD.

Oh my God it was so good

THIS WAS AMAZING

Plus, naturally, my first experience of Chinglish.

Chinglish... YES!

Eight ate, total? £40. You can see why we love it here.

After our appetites were full sated, we ventured out to the bizarre food market to try out the the strange delicacies therein.

Starfish @ The Night Market

How about some lobster?

I ate a scorpion. Nuff said.

The lights, the buzz, the constant chatter of bartering; the atmosphere is enchanting. With my new found friends in tow, we continued.

Our guide had mentioned a lake far north of the city surrounded by bars. It was a fair old walk but we found it, eventually.

Gorgeous lanterns

Walk far enough around and you’ll make your way past the over-priced tourist spots and find more appeasing, friendly bars who create new prices on the spot (and, when asked nicely, will let you play your phone’s Spotify playlist through in-house sound system).

It was ace.

Which leads us nicely to yesterday; April 23rd:  Mao Money, Mao Problems

Today we did as much as we could. We’ve planned to do the wall tomorrow and as such, the others don’t have much time left to do the tourist bit. Our honcho this time ’round is a bit more hands off, choosing to show/tell us things and then let us find our own way.

Things we did:

— – — – Whatley out

Silent Tee Protest