On it grinds. Not feeling as awful again today, but very tired, even though (weird dreams aside) I have slept better this week than for a long time. I decided to spend the day in bed in the hope that that would sort me out. Once again forced to cancel Twitch of Fun, so it’s not just my loss, but a great loss to the world of art.
A lot of performers understandably a bit miffed to hear that the Edinburgh Fringe Festival are being given £8.6million by the government and plan to spend £7 million of it on a new permanent HQ. Whatever the reasons behind this might be (journalist Brian Ferguson seems to suggest there is more to it) but it is galling as a performer (most of whom will be paying out significant amounts of money for the pleasure of being at the Fringe) see the money going there, when the same report admits that the Festival raises £300million a year for Scotland (and some sources suggest up to a billion pounds). It would be great if there was even the slightest attempt to do something about the increasing rents for acts and for punters, that are turning the Festival and the Fringe into luxuries that can only be visited by the wealthy. I appreciate how hard that is to do, but the desperate and sarcastic and angry tweets from comedians this morning suggest that they do not feel the Fringe organisers are doing all they can to help the people who actually make the Fringe happen.
It’s a tough one because those performers are generally speaking not motivated by money (or if they are hope that the Fringe will make them such a success that they will pay their debts) and so it’s easy for people who are motivated by money to step in and exploit the situation.
Despite claims in the media I am not boycotting the Fringe - I’m just not going and mainly for my mental health, but that is exacerbated by the uneasy nausea I felt last year at how extreme the problems were becoming - and it would be an almost impossible and probably unwelcome task to persuade all the performers not to go for a year (couldn’t be this year anyway as people are already financially committed). But it feels wrong that the people who put on the shows (and the techs who work on them) are paying out large amounts of money, when the fringe as a whole is bringing hundreds of millions of pounds in. If the government has eight million pounds to donate to the Fringe, might it go to benefitting the performers?
Ultimately it doesn’t have to, because performers will (for the moment) keep going up there, but if younger acts and punters are discouraged from going due to the costs then the Fringe will only last as long as the old farts continue to patronise it. And we old farts don’t have an unlimited amount of road.
Anyway, boring myself with this pointless discussion. I hope someone will think of the performers and the people who would love to come to watch but can’t possibly afford it.
Before school Ernie walked around in a box with a slit cut out for his eyes and pretended to be a robot and then we went to see Phoebe knock it out the park at school Assembly taking part in a presentation about Brazil and inspiring people. She had learned all her lines and spoke loudly enough for everyone to hear. The whole thing was impressive, but she was (objectively) the best. Due to having had the last eight years of my life sucked out of my head by tiredness and age, it is sometimes quite a jolt to look at my kids and realise how old and together they are now, but a little robot running round the house and this assured and confident young woman both made me proud and grateful. There’s so much stress and shouting and tears and tantrums in parenting (and that’s just from the parents!!!!!!!! No seriously, it is. I am not joking. It’s horrible) that it’s easy to forget how brilliant it is and how remarkable your kids really are.