New Art Club's Tom Roden: My first Edinburgh Fringe
Tom Roden, one half of comedy act New Art Club, reminisces about his early experiences of the world's largest arts festival
My first Edinburgh Fringe as one half of a comedy double act New Art Club was in 2008.
Although I'd been around the fringes of the Fringe and the International Festival several times before this was my first full immersion into the full Fringe experience and I relished it.
We were sharing a miserable flat with a dance company who chose to leave their support underwear drying on any available surface. The kitchen which was unfit for the preparation of food to be consumed by humans, or dancers so during the run we didn't just lose money we also lost weight.
My memory of our venue was that it was sticky, smelly and fantastic. I stayed and watched the rest of the shows in the room. I love the camaraderie with other acts in your room or venue. Like brothers and sisters in arms fighting for a common good, in the name of art or entertainment or stupidity.
We were followed by the mighty Simon Munnery. He nightly enquired about our audience numbers to compare with his. He always won, not just because he is a comic genius but also because, as we are a double act, we had to halve our total.
Our first preview show went pretty well. We had four in the audience and 50 percent of them didn't invite us outside for a fight. The 50 percent that did were drunken Scotsmen looking for somewhere to keep warm for an hour. We declined, choosing to concentrate on finishing our performance and after that taking refuge in a bar with all the other excited/intimidated first timers.
Things got better. We watched Phil Kay weave his life changing magic, night after night. We learn't how to stand on the street encouraging people to come to our show instead of the student production of Bugsy Malone with a cast of thousands. We were close to an extremely embarrassing incident with Jennifer Saunders when a fan of ours tried to convince her to come and see New Art Club rather than the one she was there for 'because it's terrible'. Yep, her daughter was in that show (the act was Lady Garden and they weren't at all terrible).
The highlights were a TV appearance, so short you'd definitely have missed it without the use of a pause button, and driving away at the end of the run making plans to come back eleven months later and try again.
New Art Club: Feel About Your Body continues at Assembly George Square until 25 August