Gill Smith – The Singing Obsessive

Gill Smith

Right, so, 2011 will be my fourth Edinburgh solo show, and I can’t quite work out if I’m more excited or terrified. Why? Well, it’s actually a fairly short story, so I’ll tell you.

Sometime in 2007, I decided it’d be a great idea to take a show to the Edinburgh Fringe. Now, I’m a little bit OCD, quite anal, and generally could be considered to have trust issues when it comes to working well in a group. It’s not that I’m anti-social, but I find that sometimes it’s quicker to just do something yourself, than spend your life worrying if the person who said they would did. So a solo show it was, for August 2008.

That was “OCD: My Family and Other Anals”. And yes, given my then level of experience as a stand up, doing a 40 minute solo show was… maybe not certifiably insane, but certainly suspect.

I loved it. All of it. The show, the flyering, the drinking with other comics, and just about everything they sell at “Chocolate Soup” (though to be fair, I already knew that from a number of years as a fringe punter and reviewer.)

So once that rare, sunny summer was over, and to follow that, I wanted to do more, and to challenge myself. Somewhere during the planning, I think I forgot the little detail that writing a whole new show from scratch was in itself, a little bit of a challenge, and signed up for two shows. And got pregnant. So I spent 2009 performing “OCD: Truly, Madly, Neatly” and “The News at Ten(ish)” with a large bump and with only a celebratory water afterwards. Lunacy. and it rained much, much more. Still loved it though.

So, 2010. It’d be completely insane to try and do a solo show with a baby in tow, right? Yeah, probably. So that was “OCD: The Next Generation”. Half my previews were to groups of mums from ante-natal classes, some had crawling babies, and my daughter pulled their hair as they passed her, and writing time was limited to nap times. It’s amazing what you can get written in the supermarket cafe while still keeping a buggy rocking. Once at the fringe there were challenges too – I had to breast-feed just before each show – partly to ensure hubby didn’t have a wailing little girl, and partly so I didn’t leak on the front row. But again, it was amazing.

And now 2011 is looming. I’ve booked a slot once again with the Laughing Horse Free Festival. I’ve started work on my material, and I’ve finally managed to nag my photographer to send me the invoice for last year’s shots. So, what am I going to do to prove myself asylum-ready, and make this year’s show even more of a challenge?* I’m singing it. Still on OCDs (what other theme could you justify being this obsessed about?) and still comedy, and still, I’m sure, due plenty of panic moments where I wonder if this was a good idea. After all, I’ve spent my life being told I can’t sing. Except, for some reason, by singing teachers, who thankfully – for me, and for you, if you’re thinking of coming – have a little more faith in me than my dear sister.

Song spoofs are what I love writing. I also love singing, and I honestly think (hope!) that this could be my best show yet! I haven’t been this excited about doing a show since… oooh, maybe last year! So, this August, join me for “OCD: The Singing Obsessive.” Meanwhile, I’ll keep you posted on my progress…

Did I mention I also start an MA course next month?!

* No, she’s staying an only child! (For now, at least…)

OCD: The Singing Obsessive Laughing Horse @ The Three Sisters 6:05pm(1 hr) 5th-28th August (not Tuesdays).Also on at Laughing Horse @ the Quadrant, Brighton 3:45 (1hr) 28th, 29th, 30th May.


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