Sunday, 31 August 2008

Today I finished Sorting Out My Photos

I finally finished going through all my photos today. Sometime tomorrow (today as it is now) I'll make a start uploading photos.

Hopefully I'll manage to get the bulk of them posted as soon as possible. And then I'll start the task of getting images out to those of you waiting for photos.

And just a few posts down is the Party review and photos. It almost became a blog in it's own right. I don't think I've ever uploaded as many photos ever in just one section. So hopefully anyone who was there when my camera came out is captured for all to see.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

A Request for Photos

I got an e-mail request a couple of weeks ago asking if someone could "borrow" some photos I'd taken.

My responce as always "yes." As long as people know where they came from.

Downward Slap Dance Company performing 'Sidelong Glance' . Energetic and vocal their first week. Great t-shirt sloggans. And a visual treat with their slow motion Olympic 100 meter sprint the second.

Flyering on the High Street needs many kinds of gimmicks to made yourself noticed.

Or just offer them to passerbys.

Are You Andrew?

My time on the High Street has it's moments. From standing on top of the many bolards that now form part of the street furniture that adorn the the Royal Mile. To relaxing while listening to music being played in the alcoves first thing in the morning.

This year as always my statueesque pose became the focus of a great many cameras yet again. But this year I was found by a couple of people that had found my blogs and had searched the High street looking for Andrew of the Edinburgh Fringe Photographer blog.

I had become imfamous through my reporting of what happens on the High Street. Now that is nice to know.

A lucky Break

Before I started this year’s coverage during my holiday I was only going to be around for two weeks. But luck would have it that I managed to yet again achieve three weeks holiday.
If I hadn’t got the first week then I’d have missed running into my friends from Livewire Theatre Company.
Livewire have always inspired me. When you have a cast with elegantly dressed actresses in costume what else can you feel but inspired. Jess and her sisters along with the rest of the cast take over the High street. They fight; they fight for their place on the stages. Their stage fighting skills mastered over many years of performing. From my first memories of them on the High street promoting an outdoor production of King Arthur.
This year they were on the move a little more than normal as Fringe casts forming human tableau on the street were quickly moved on by the Fringe staff. A pity really as a cast standing in a quite group is a lot better than a rockus crowd infringing on everyone else’s space. But with Livewire productions when they were moving to the beat of their drum up and down the high street Livewire stopped drumming as they moved around the edge of street performers, respecting their stage as if it were their own. For that another five star review for their efforts on the street, as yet again for another year I didn’t manage in to see their shows.

Fringe Staff

The Fringe staff this year were mostly new to the experience of what the Fringe brings to the High street. I was only asked once in my three weeks about what I do on the High street and if I had a Fringe Press pass.
Their inexperience showed at times when watching a street performers show when at the end of the performance they were asked by the performer the question.
“how was I?”
“great, show,” the reply the wrong answer; nice to know, but alas the wrong answer. The High street runs on 45 minute shows. From 11am in the morning till 8pm at night. There are a few minutes extra to play with, but anything over that can mean a performer is banned from the next days draw.
The rules this year for performers had changed quite radically from previous years. New rules and being charged to perform was a topic that raised it’s head on numerous occasions through out the festival.
Timing peoples shows is great. Having boards telling regular Fringe goers which performer is on where is great too. It’s like having your own mini guide to all that’s happening on the High street.
But if you do charge then you do have to manage the space a little better. What’s the point of having a Soprano singer batteling it out with a brass band. Or a street performer not allowed to use vocal amplification on the High street, when you have Fringe acts doing just that.
It can’t be the easiest job in the world but it did seem to break down this year. As an outsider looking in I saw so many flaws and fractures. The weather didn’t help any thing this year.
Performers new to Edinburgh found the rules daunting and strangling their creativity. For some entertainers it’s not about making any money it’s about putting Edinburgh on their personal CV. Take into account the cost of travel, living expences and all they day to day things you need to get by on Edinburgh is at times a showcase venue and nothing more. With at times over fifty performers and only thirty plus slots available every day not everyone is guaranteed a show. And there are some shows that need the warmth of a summer day to inspire the audience to lift the spirit. Other shows can perform come rain or shine.
The staff I met were nice enough, maybe at times to nice for their own good. Standing your own ground on instant decisions can be a necessary tool in your box of tricks. And a little give and take when required the other.
Decisions you are told to take, you need to stand against, say no. I learnt that. I challenged my boss at Skirmish because I loved what I did and I was batteling for better rules for staff and customers. One of the best feelings is standing up for the rights and condition of others.
Next year who can say what will happen. There may be a new set of staff ready to take on the three weeks that is the Fringe on the High street.


They were back on stage on the High street. Where they belong. After a year away they roamed the street and pounded the stages. Stage slots seemed difficult to come by at times and someone had to be the peanut! Maybe they had drawn lots, or maybe it was chosen that Sian would play the part. (probably due to the size of the costume. And Adrian and Jon would have trouble fitting in it.
Pluck the Titanic show the flyers proclaimed; even came this year with an origami boat challenge. If during one of their pieces of music on stage any participant could complete a boat from the sheet of paper provided they won a CD or DVD.
Taking ten minutes break from the proceedings from the High street I spent a few mornings, listening and relaxing to the music, on the odd occasion grabbing a bunch of flyers and making sure members of their expanding audience knew who were performing on stage.
Pluck a fantastic draw round Fringe stages at times taking over the High street reminiscent back to the days where three street performers competed for an audience on the High street. Adrian himself a master of crowd manipulation had his crowds cheering to compete with performers drawing their audience. Even when up against the best on the street Pluck held their crowd and a defiant gesture in the spirit of the fringe signalled an end to that days cheering competition.


However wet it was this year there were always smiles on the mile.
Whether wet or dry the weather there were smiles. From the girls from the production of Flush, Gemma in pink of Involution. The girls in green from Little Shop of Horrors. All smiled; at least on the outside while on the Mile.
But for me there has been one smile that has always stood out from the rest on the High street, more than any other; and I don’t even know her by name. This year promoting the Gingerbread House, her smile brightened up all the dull days she was about on the High street.
Her smile I spotted now a couple of years ago. An ad mans dream smile. Certain I am that anyone who knows her will find their day brightened just by her smile.

A Party, My Party, A Street Party

It’s been a few years since I last held an end of Fringe party. This year I suggested the idea to Merrisa. She took on the idea and was able to help out with a data projector and a bar tab to help the evening start with a bang.
Going with a bang (was appropriate as some of the Fringe staff didn’t make it due to a fire at the mound)

The venue this year The City Cafe, Blair Street. We took over their downstairs function space.

It was a perfect space. The right size for the numbers that had arrived throughout the night. The bar staff at the start of the night must have regreted the fact to start with they were working on the downstairs bar. As being a smoker I did have to make a break a few times during the night for a cigarette; and upstairs seemed a little quieter than normal. But at the end even working in a bar can be fun when you've the right mix of people and my party does have the ability of bringing the right group of people together.
Performers, Fringe staff, rubbish busters and one or two invited guests.
I was amazed that being it was a slide show party that people were watching. Imagine back a few years to when you might have been invited to holiday photo slide shows; something that you’d do your best to avoid. This one seemed to have attracked everyone that mattered.
“Even Phil Kay, who I’d shot just a few days before made it down.”

Once again I’d been told that I had to put down a hat. It’s not something I do easily. It’s great to be appreciated, and that’s the reason I do it. I’d rather have work borrowed or in a worst case scenario stolen, than put prices on it to sell. Not everyone can afford a photo valued at hundreds of pounds, but as a gift it’s value increases beyond compare. My hat was light. My origami line thought of on the night went down well. “An original line by Mr Brown.” Not borrowed or stolen from the many botteling speeches I’ve heard.
The night lasted well into the early hours. And as the numbers thinned out the more energetic performers and Fringe staff took to the now empty dance space. Noel described the chance to dance the night away as the best he’d experienced throughout the Festival.

During the course of the evening I'd not taken my camera out early on. As I've always said for me it's a PR exercise. It's about thanking people for allowing me into their "space" to take photos. Whether it be a Fringe steward, rubbish buster or street performer.

I did try my best to catch as many people as I could. But the blur of beer was making life a little more difficult as the night wore on.

And for a few moments I did pick on one of my favourite subjects as someone to annoy.

She does have an amazing range of clothes in her wardrobe. And always looks amazing in them.

And the other

exciting thing I like about this as an exhibition party

is as I've mentioned in previous blogs; there can't be many exhibitions that the exhibition and the exhibition party venue

becomes part of the exhibition.

(Just this moment had a wonderful idea for an exhibition for sometime in the future all I need is a venue.)

Over the next few days I was asked about how I felt the party went.

My response was to ask the question of the person asking.

Everyone seemed to have had a great time, which for me was the answer I’d give them back.

The party was not about me, but about everyone else.

And a great time was certainly had by all that I spoke to.

And one final word on the evening. I do have to thank Stickman for providing his laptop and skill in dealing with the AV issues we had. My laptop didn't talk to the Fringe projector, and the Fringe laptop just didn't like or couldn't cope with just as many images.

So Tim I really do owe you a beer.