Damned statistics!!

Pardon me for not blogging recently and now I’m back just to have a rant! I have this particular rant every year around this time, every year? I hear you ask, yes indeed, let me tell you all about it, you might want to make yourself a cup of tea first…….

Ready? Then I’ll begin. Edinburgh Fringe 2018 put a post on Facebook to announce another record breaking year with ticket sales up 5% on last year. But Brucie, surely that’s good, isn’t it? Ah, but, dear friends, that statistic doesn’t really mean much on it’s own. The next statistic was just laughable, that ticket sales were up “a whooping 52% on the 2009 figures”, I should bloody hope so considering how much bigger the Fringe is now!

They also attached an article from The Scotsman about the latest statistics from the International, Book and Fringe Festivals, which was a bit more illuminating as it pointed out that in 2017 there were 53,232 performances of 3,398 shows compared with 56,796 performances of 3,548 shows this year. Hmmm, so that 5% increase in ticket sales isn’t a big deal considering the increase in tickets on sale, was it even enough for audience percentages to remain the same?

Oo, I was going to mention that the Pleasance audience figures were up this year, but on reading and re-reading and re-re-reading that part of the article again I rather think that bit is somewhat ambiguous (at least I don’t think it’s very clear). I think they are up, but not as much as I thought on first reading. Hurrah for the spokesman for Space UK, he said attendances were up 11% and they had a 20% increase in sold out performances. At least that does mean more bums on seats.

See, that’s my point! A 5% increase in ticket sales doesn’t mean diddlysquat on it’s own. So there was 5% more bums on seats, but if the overall number of seats for bums to sit on (ie, the number of seats available for every performance of every show) has also increased by 5% then there’s no real increase at all and a 6% increase in seats would mean audience numbers are down – audience statistics would be a far better way of judging whether the Fringe was more successful than previously.

Also, might one enquire how many tickets were sold at the Half Price Hut? After all, every ticket sold there is kind of like half a ticket, and let’s not forget the Friends of the Fringe 2 for 1 tickets, again they’re like half tickets too. They might make a company feel better seeing more faces but if all the tickets sold were at half price, how much of a comfort is that?

As a punter I love the Half Price Hut, it is a necessity with the Fringe having become so huge to help some shows get folk in, I check it most days hoping one of my possibles comes up. On the other hand, there wouldn’t be such a need for it if the Fringe had a slightly smaller huge choice of shows. Ok, so no one outside of the big acts makes any money, but if a show with tickets priced at £8 only manages to sell tickets at £4 it’s not doing well at all, surely?

Now I’m feeling despondent for all the little shows trying desperately not to sink beneath the waves of the great ocean that is Fringe. I do love the Fringe but sometimes I wonder where it’s going.

Nighty night  x

 

 

Bruce loves candy

Hurrah! Those lovely people at Assembly announced on Friday that they are once again doing their Locals discount, that’s all Assembly shows from the 1st to the 5th for a fiver (to a maximum of six shows) at their box office, evidence of an EH postcode required. Woohoo! A swift perusal of all my cutouts and the Venue guide section of the Fringe programme  (it lists all the shows at each venue), et voilà, five more shows picked out.

This is a particularly good deal as Assembly shows are not cheap, even the previews can be costly – I paid a tenner for Thrones! The Musical! preview show just in case the residents offer wasn’t on this year. I can now happily snaffle sweets from the Baby Wants Candy flyerers as I’m finally going to see them (I’ve always felt a teensy bit bad taking their sweets as I never saw them or intended to). Again, their previews cost £10, then up to £14-£15, yeah a fiver sounds good to me.

Sleeping Trees have uprooted themselves again and are now in one of Assembly’s Studios. Couldn’t miss these guys but again, Assembly prices, so though they should really be in the middle week (see  It’s the wrong order, Gromit!) I’ll be seeing them the first weekend for just the fiver and I can see another show with the change! Fingers crossed they do Sleeping Trees and The Chocolate Factory again, that’s oodles of fun. It’s not in the programme, never is, but watch out for posters around the Pleasance Courtyard.

Assembly already have their George Square Gardens set up and running as part of the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, so when I ambled up to get my tickets I was able to check this year’s layout. There’s a new bar at the bottom of the garden that has an upper level. Silly me, I didn’t check the drinks prices to see how much I won’t be drinking, but I did notice that whilst there’s no decent cider, they do have a couple of IPAs, so I may treat myself to a Deuchars before a show.

Toodle pip!

 

 

 

Tidy flat up ✔

So that’s all my ironing finally up to date – who knew a moose could own so many shirts?! I do also iron my bedsheets, that first night getting in between clean, ironed sheets is bliss. What?! So I’m a moose who likes his home comforts, what’s wrong with that?

The kitchen surfaces are visible again, I have clean glasses and mugs and all the pizza boxes are gone (there is a rather good, cheap pizza takeaway just up the road where I can pop my head through the door and though there may be a crowd between me and the counter an exchanged nod has my funghi pizza on the go). All the pots and pans are back in the cupboard, neglected plants are all watered.

My Ukulele Death Squad cd has been a great accompaniment, some tunes really are worthy of a Tarantino soundtrack. Keeping with the aussie theme, after about the fourth playthrough I put on some Screaming Jets to keep the cleaning pace up. Maybe some AC/DC later on? Oh yeah, there’s an INXS album somewhere around (yes, that would be a vinyl album) haven’t played that for years.

Fringe Fund checked and approved. Another Fringe over with some left in the kitty, yay. So that was 44 shows in total: 12 previews, 5 Assembly residents offer, 1 241 Tuesday,  10 Half Price Hut,  2 Pay What You Want,  5 Free Fringe and 9 full price tickets. And despite the rants of some folk about how expensive Fringe tickets are (they seem to think all shows cost at least £15), my average price has been under £6 a ticket! Ok, so I have not included the booking fees of £7.20 in that, but that would still be under £6.

I didn’t even use any of my Friends of the Fringe 241 deals, mind if we’d arranged to see Aidan Goatley a day later that would have been one. So is it worth still being a Friend of the Fringe? Well, I did make the most of this year’s new benefit of being able to buy Half Price Hut tickets in the Friends of the Fringe Hut, really that saved a lot of queuing and no booking fees!

Still nibbling my way through a Fringe chocolate bar. This year Edfringe In Your Mouth was launched and very tasty it is too, especially the Dark Chocolate with Rose Oil – there’s rose petals in it too! As a young moose I didn’t care for dark chocolate, but in the last few years I’ve come to appreciate the luxurious, velvetiness of the dark side. One small piece savoured is enough at a time. After all, a little of what you fancy does you good!

 

 

 

 

Local prices for local people

Those lovely folk at Assembly Festival are putting on a special offer to local residents. From the 2nd to the 6th we can buy tickets for a fiver for shows at their venues (proof of being local like a utility bill required). So who was I to refuse?

I’ve just about wrapped up my preview shows but nothing much further. A quick reconnoitre of my possibilities and the venue show lists, five shows presented themselves, utility bill found, five tickets bought (and no booking fee!), huzzah!

One show I’m really looking forward to is The Establishment: Eton Mess at the Omnitorium. I saw them last year the Dragonfly bar, quite odd, surreal and slightly discomforting but still somehow charming and so terribly British. I reckon the Omnitorium will be a great venue for them, as it too is quirky but with its own charms. It came into being last year and a real ragtag bunch of vaudevillian oddities gathered to it, not the least of whom were the irrepressible Boris and Sergey and huzzah, they’re back again. I love those guys!

Another wee rant

Booking fees!! Finally they’ve nabbed me, the blighters! As a local I’ve always just trotted along to the Box Office in person, thus avoiding what had been a 90p booking charge per ticket (on phone, online or app bookings up to £5.40), so imagine my horror when I discovered that this year they’re including counter sales too!! How very dare they!

At least they’ve had the good gracious to reduce it a bit to 80p a ticket  (to a max of £4.80), but still!!?*##%*!! Yes, I know, its only 80p, but it’s the principle of the thing. Oo, and a sudden thought (I do have them occasionally) – what about shows that are Free Ticketed? Huh? Not quite free anymore, that’ll be 80p, sir? Another thought occurs ( I’m on a roll today!), is this booking fee right across all tickets or is it just at Fringe Box Offices? i.e., not charged at the venues themselves? Hmmm.

Now if the Fringe had just decided to add an extra 50p on to every ticket instead of an additional booking fee added on afterwards, everyone would have just thought, yeah just another wee price rise. And the phone/online/app bookers may primarily twig on, but they would have been delighted too. No extra booking fee always sounds better, even though most of us realise its only because its just been put into the ticket price.

Jeez, three thoughts in a day! The new way of “Buy a ticket in advance to guarantee entry or Pay What You Want at the venue” for some shows may find fewer advance tickets being sold, the paying public can be a very principled lot especially when parting with cash – that 80p will be needed to pay the extra hike-up in beer prices!