Ashley Frieze – On Tour and Other People’s Work

If what happens on tour stays on tour, then what I’m about to say is going to break all the rules.

I spent the day in Newcastle, having come up North in advance of last night’s show to avoid being exhausted from the long-haul drive on the day of the performance. Generally, though I perform all over the country, and have done various dates of my show enough to say I’ve “toured it” (very much in inverted commas, I feel), I don’t quite tour like this.

Spending time in a distant city during the day is quite a novel experience and it’s even more novel if the city in question is somewhere that ought to be familiar, but kind of isn’t any more. I used to live in Newcastle, and I had a good walk around the streets that I remember clearly, with various memories coming back to me. I found it quite depressing though. A lot of stuff has closed down or become dilapidated since my day, and I felt a little like they’ve been neglecting the place since I left. I also found that the person I was when I lived here is quite a bit different to the person I am now, so I couldn’t really wander to old haunts, since they didn’t really interest me the same way.

I kept myself amused by thinking of a rather funny MP3 Album I bought to amuse me in the car on the way here. The performer in question is on at the Fringe and I’ll be going to see his unmentionable act at some point, I hope. The time has come. I think he may be bordering on genius. It’s nice to appreciate someone else’s work – it can take your mind off your own worries.

However, with every show there come fresh technical challenges. Though I was sure the venue would be up to it, I felt the need to ring them up to make sure they’ve got the technical facilities for me to do my show. My musical show with instruments wouldn’t work so well if you couldn’t plug them in. By “so well”, I mean “at all”. No problem, though – they had plenty of sockets/room/amps/watts etc.

So, on to the show itself. It was my last preview and the last chance to video the show for any promotional stuff before Edinburgh itself. As previews go it was a pretty good one. I judge it partly on audience reaction and partly on whether something funny happens that makes me gleeful during the show (that’s “gleeful”, not “Gleeful” which would involve some annoying American high-school kids). As such, it was brilliant fun.

It was also great to see the last preview of my fellow act last night. He’s doing the non Free Festival. It’s a big investment we make in our shows, both in money and also in self-esteem, pride in ourselves, waking hours and, in many cases, sanity. It’s good to share in shows that work well.

With the last preview out the way, all that remains to do is learn the new bits that were “under construction” tonight, ditch the things which probably never worked anyway, and get ready for Edinburgh audiences who can either be tougher or easier, and there’s no way of predicting it.

Edinburgh with several shows a day is the ultimate tour, but it’s going to be different to this.

Ashley Frieze – The Seven Deadly Sings (Remastered), 2:30PM, 13-28 August, Pravda Room, Espionage, Venue 185. Part of the Free Festival

You can also follow Ashley on Twitter.

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