Monday, August 29, 2011

Edinburgh Evening News Column

I wrote this for the Edinburgh Evening News - published 29th Aug 2011

They wanted my take on living in Edinburgh:


Jo Caulfield: Express service through festival


I've just got back home to Edinburgh from a week of shows in London and I have to say, "Wow! What a train journey".

The scenery from Newcastle to Edinburgh is breathtaking. All along the coast, the craggy cliffs, the crashing waves, simply breathtaking. I actually came out of the toilet and stood in the carriageway for a better view. I thought, "I don't care if the ticket inspector catches me, this is definitely worth paying for".


Arriving at Waverley Station I couldn't believe it when I overheard some locals complaining about the crowds of tourists and all the visiting performers. Stop it! Don't be like that, Edinburgh! Be thankful for what you've got. Glasgow would love to have your Castle, Aberdeen would love to have your festival, and Dundee would love to have any old clothes or shoes you don't need.


See what I did there? I used Dundee as a punchline. I did that because I've been told by several Scottish comedians that Dundee is the perfect victim for jokes about Scotland. Obviously those comedians have never been to Peterhead.


See what I did there? I used Peterhead as a punchline.


Mind you, the crowds during August can get a bit tiresome. Last night I got stuck behind several hundred pensioners coming out of the Tattoo, heading for their tour coaches - it was like watching one very long episode of Walking With Dinosaurs.


So we're into the final days of the festival. Personally I'm looking forward to getting my front room back. I've had a rotation of family members, friends and comedians sleeping on my couch. My front room has been like Piccadilly Circus. Which is like Hunter Square - but with lower cholesterol.


But there are some things I don't like about the festival.


I don't like the "Edinburgh Festival Look-Around" - this is when you're speaking to somebody and you know they're not listening because they won't look you straight in the eye as they're far too busy looking over your shoulder to try and find someone more interesting to talk to. Oh well, I suppose it was my fault for marrying him.


And I think it's a shame the way the festival has become so commercially driven. It's all about marketing. And promotion. And raising your profile. That's why there are posters and leaflets everywhere. But the leaflets do work. At the end of this month the faces of all the comedians will be extremely well known . . . to every road sweeper in the city.


And don't get me started on the manipulation of the press. Too many performers have too many quotes stuck on their posters taken completely out of context. For example, if I were to say "Jo Caulfield is one of Britain's best comedians and every show she does is a five-star show" that would just be my opinion. But now my opinion has been published in the Evening News "my" opinion becomes an Evening News "fact". You see? That's how the press is continually manipulated.


And I don't like that, although I WILL be using that very same Evening News quote on my posters next year.


I haven't been to the Book Festival yet, but it is on my list of things to do. I've heard it described as "a lot of people drinking alcohol while surrounded by books”, which makes it sound less like an internationally acclaimed literary event and more like a visit to the Macdonald Road library.


Of course, some of the UK's finest writers live here in Edinburgh: JK Rowling, Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith, me. I don't like to boast but have JK, Ian or Alexander been asked to write a column? No, no and no. I think that speaks volumes about who the Evening News considers to be "the best writer" in this town.


By the way, both John Hannah and Ken Stott have approached me with substantial offers to buy the rights to this article. ITV is also quite interested although it wants to relocated the entire story to a London newspaper office, gloss over all of my unique character foibles and put Russell Brand in the lead role.


You're pulling my legend

This Sunday saw the first Hearts v Hibs Premier League game of the season. According to the Hearts website, hospitality in the Gorgie Suite was available at £165 plus vat and it added: "You'll be able to meet past and present players including the Legend that is Wayne Foster!"


I looked up the word "legend" on Wikipedia.


It said: "A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude."


Sounds interesting, doesn't it?


I looked up Wayne Foster on Wikipedia. He wasn't listed.


To be honest, I don't know much about Scottish football, but I do know that in today's precarious financial situation £165 plus vat seems like an awful waste of money - that could have been put towards a Christian Louboutin sequined evening bag.


PS. I was just joking about Wayne Foster. He IS listed on Wikipedia. He's described as a large, bipedal humanoid, also known as a 'Sasquatch'. Oh no, sorry, I looked up Colin Calderwood by mistake.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"Cruel To Be Kind" Tour...


Thursday 22nd September - The Maltings Theatre, Berwick-upon-Tweed

Box Office: 01289 330999

Website: www.maltingsberwick.co.uk


Friday 23rd September - Otley Courthouse Art Centre, Otley

Box Office: 01943 467466

Website: www.otleycouthouse.org.uk


Saturday 24th September - Chorley Little Theatre, Chorley

Box Office: 01257 264362

Website: www.chorleylittletheatre.com


Thursday 29th September - Birnam Arts Centre, Birnam

Box Office: 01350 727674

Website: www.birnaminstitute.com


Friday 30th September - Electric Palace, Bridport

Box Office: 01308 424901

Website: www.electricpalace.org.uk


Sunday 2nd October - The Quay Theatre, Sudbury

Box Office: 01787 374745

Website: www.quaytheatre.org.uk


Tuesday 4th October - Victoria Hotel, Kirkcaldy

Box Office: 0844 4815659

Website: www.kirkcaldycomedyfestival.com


Friday 7th October - Arts Centre Theatre, Evesham

Box Office: 01386 446944

Website: www.eveshamartscentre.co.uk


Saturday 8th October - The Kenton Theatre, Henley-on-Thames

Box Office: 01491 575698

Website: www.kentontheatre.co.uk


Sunday 16th October - The Kirkgate Centre, Cockermouth

Box Office: 01900 826448

Website: www.thekirkgate.com


Thursday 20th October - Browns Hotel, Tavistock

Box Office: 01822 618686

Website: www.brownsdevon.com


Friday 21st October - Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury

Box Office: 01722 321744

Website: www.salisburyartscentre.co.uk


Saturday 22nd October - The Lighthouse Arts Centre, Poole

Box Office: 0844 4068666

Website: www.thelighthousepoole.co.uk


Thursday 27th October - The CatStrand, New Galloway

Box Office: 01644 420374

Website: www.thecatstrand.co.uk


Friday 28th October - The Customs House, South Shields

Box Office: 0191 4541234

Website: www.customshouse.co.uk


Saturday 29th October - Ropery Hall, Barton upon Humber

Box Office: 01652 660380

Website: www.roperyhall.co.uk


Friday 11th November - The Capitol Theatre, Horsham

Box Office: 01403 750220

Website: www.thecapitolhorsham.com


Saturday 12th November - Kettering Arts Centre, Kettering

Box Office: 01536 513858

Website: www.wegottickets.com


Saturday 19th November - Falkirk Town Hall, Falkirk

Box Office: 01324 506850

Website: www.ticketweb.co.uk


Sunday 20th November - The Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax

Box Office: 01422 349422

Website: www.squarechapel.co.uk


Thursday 1st December - The Wynd Theatre, Melrose

Box Office: 01896 820028

Website: www.thewyndmelrose.com


Saturday 3rd December - Universal Hall, Findhorn

Box Office: 01309 690110

Website: www.findhorn.org


Sunday 5th February - The Corn Exchange, Exeter

Box Office: 01392 665938

Website: www.exeter.gov.uk/cornexchange


Friday 10th February - The Forum, Barrow-In-Furness

Box Office: 01229 820000

Website: www.theforumbarrow.co.uk


Thursday 16th February - Frog And Fiddle, Cheltenham

Box Office: 01242 701156

Website: www.hand-comedy.co.uk


Friday 16th March - The Festival Theatre, Pitlochry

Box Office: 01796 484626

Website: www.pitlochry.org.uk


Sunday 18th March - Eden Court Theatre, Inverness

Box Office: 01463 234234

Website: www.eden-court.co.uk





Edinburgh Evening News...

I wrote this for the Edinburgh Evening News - published 11th Aug 2011

They wanted my take on living in Edinburgh but not performing at the Festival:


Here’s something you would have never guessed about me - I’m a Virgin! Yes this is my first year at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I’ve been here 10-years-in-a-row as a performer but this is my first time as a punter ... And I’m loving it!


The excitement and vibrancy of the Fringe has a magic hold over Edinburgh. Well, most of Edinburgh...


I went over to Morningside on Tuesday to meet a friend for lunch at Loopy Lorna’s (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d be typing!) It was a very enjoyable lunch, and I’m glad to report since she’s been on the antidepressants Lorna is a lot less loopy. But leaving Lorna’s mental health problems aside, I couldn’t believe Morningside! Not one single Fringe poster on display, no one handing out flyers - its as if the Festival doesn’t exist.

They really are a different breed down there, aren’t they? Its like a gentrified version of The Land That Time Forgot.


Back in town the Festival is in full swing. The Assembly at George Square is packed, the Pleasance Courtyard is overflowing and Greggs the Baker on Rose Street has queues halfway round the block. Mind you, its like that every day of the year. You really do have a bad diet here in Scotland.


Going passed the EICC I overheard two French girls coming out of Ed Byrne’s show. They were obviously trying to decide which show to go and see next. The first girl pointed at Vladimir McTavish’s poster. “Oh no”, said her companion, “If you did not understand zee Irishman you will NEVER understand zee Scottish man”.


That’s a tough crowd.


But while all the performers are vying for one the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Awards (No, I’ve no idea what they’re called either) I’d like to give out my own award to Lothian Buses.


Please take a minute to go and look at their website. They give FULL instructions on how to use a bus, there’s even a short video. A short video of HOW to travel on a bus! Its aimed at tourists & foreign visitors - people who arrived here by train, plane and car. Much harder modes of transport.


Whoever decided they needed that webpage of instructions and the video deserves the “I’ve Invented Something That Wasn’t Needed To Make Me Look Busy And Keep My Job” award.


I think me favorite part is “Step 7: Take your ticket, find a seat and enjoy your journey”.


I asked a bus driver about it. I said, “Don’t you think that’s blatantly obvious and actually a bit patronizing to the foreign visitors?” He said, “No, it’s aimed at foreign visitors. It’s aimed at people from Niddry.”


Before you write in an complain, that was a joke, he was joking.


I’ve always loved that deadpan downbeat sense of humour the Scots have. I was fighting my way through the crowds on the Royal Mile with my friend Paul. He’s a big football fan. I said to him, “You must be happy about Hearts being drawn against Spurs in the Europa League play-off?” He looked me straight in the eye and with all the bedlam going on around us, all the buskers, and drama students, and stilt-walkers and chainsaw jugglers, he said, totally deadpan, “Oh aye. It’ll bring some much needed excitement to the city.”


By the way, in London my two nearest football teams were Chelsea and Fulham, two clubs owned by crazy megalomaniacal millionaires who sacked managers at the drop of a hat - so its great to be in a city with two more sensibly run clubs.


Anyway back to the Festival. John Malkovich is in town. As is Maraget Cho, Ruby Wax, and Dave Gorman - I know because I’m playing the ‘Let’s Spot A Celebrity Who Didn’t Pack The Right Clothes And Is Now Getting Soaked In The Rain’ game.


As the days go on I’m actually becoming very defensive about the weather. I’m fed up of comedians asking “Does it always rain? When will the rain stop?”

I tell them the famous Scottish saying my Aberdonian mother-in-law taught me when I first arrive here: “If you don’t like the weather in Scotland, wait 5 minutes ... and if you still don’t like it g’way hame tae London ye big whinging crybaby Sassenach strumpet”.


I’ve no idea what that means but the whole family laughed when she said it so I’m sure it must be delightfully amusing.


Should you want to take a breather from all the wonderful comedy and theatre and dance why not indulge in a bit of people watching? I’d recommend Hunter Square.


Tourists, students, buskers, pickpockets, plain-clothed policemen. It’s like a live version of Crimewatch UK. Why not kick back for a couple of hours: watch the professional fire-eaters, engage a visiting Australian tourist in a discussion about world politics AND delicately sip from a can of Special Brew lager?


And I have a question: does Edinburgh have its own anthem? Does Auld Reekie have an equivalent to “I Belong To Glasgow”, or “The Northern Lights Of Old Aberdeen”, or “Ferry Cross The Mersey”?

If it doesn’t I’d like to propose Funky Town by Lipps Inc. Yes, its an old disco song. Yes, its loved by gay men everywhere. But more importantly its an automatic shot-in-the-arm feel good factor ... and that, my Edinburgerer* neighbours, is what makes it so perfect.


All-in-all I’ve been very happy to lose my virginity with you. You’ll phone me in the morning won’t you?


Jo Caulfield


*You do call yourselves Edinburgerer’s, don’t you?


BTW I took a year off from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival but I WILL be back in 2012 with a BRAND NEW SHOW!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

2011-2012 Tour Tickets On Sale Now...

The 2011-2012 tour is shaping up - tickets are on sale for these venues now.


More dates to be added.


Thursday 22nd September - The Maltings Theatre, Berwick-upon-Tweed

Box Office: 01289 330999

Website: www.maltingsberwick.co.uk


Friday 23rd September - Otley Courthouse Art Centre, Otley

Box Office: 01943 467466

Website: www.otleycouthouse.org.uk


Saturday 24th September - Chorley Little Theatre, Chorley

Box Office: 01257 264362

Website: www.chorleylittletheatre.com


Thursday 29th September - Birnam Arts Centre, Birnam

Box Office: 01350 727674

Website: www.birnaminstitute.com


Friday 30th September - Electric Palace, Bridport

Box Office: 01308 424901

Website: www.electricpalace.org.uk


Sunday 2nd October - The Quay Theatre, Sudbury

Box Office: 01787 374745

Website: www.quaytheatre.org.uk


Tuesday 4th October - Victoria Hotel, Kirkcaldy

Box Office: 0844 4815659

Website: www.kirkcaldycomedyfestival.com


Friday 7th October - Arts Centre Theatre, Evesham

Box Office: 01386 446944

Website: www.eveshamartscentre.co.uk


Saturday 8th October - The Kenton Theatre, Henley-on-Thames

Box Office: 01491 575698

Website: www.kentontheatre.co.uk


Sunday 16th October - The Kirkgate Centre, Cockermouth

Box Office: 01900 826448

Website: www.thekirkgate.com


Thursday 20th October - Browns Hotel, Tavistock

Box Office: 01822 618686

Website: www.brownsdevon.com


Friday 21st October - Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury

Box Office: 01722 321744

Website: www.salisburyartscentre.co.uk


Saturday 22nd October - The Lighthouse Arts Centre, Poole

Box Office: 0844 4068666

Website: www.thelighthousepoole.co.uk


Thursday 27th October - The CatStrand, New Galloway

Box Office: 01644 420374

Website: www.thecatstrand.co.uk


Friday 28th October - The Customs House, South Shields

Box Office: 0191 4541234

Website: www.customshouse.co.ku


Saturday 29th October - Ropery Hall, Barton upon Humber

Box Office: 01652 660380

Website: www.roperyhall.co.uk


Friday 11th November - The Capitol Theatre, Horsham

Box Office: 01403 750220

Website: www.thecapitolhorsham.com


Saturday 12th November - Kettering Arts Centre, Kettering

Box Office: 01536 513858

Website: www.wegottickets.com


Saturday 19th November - Falkirk Town Hall, Falkirk

Box Office: 01324 506850

Website: www.ticketweb.co.uk


Sunday 20th November - The Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax

Box Office: 01422 349422

Website: www.squarechapel.co.uk


Thursday 1st December - The Wynd Theatre, Melrose

Box Office: 01896 820028

Website: www.thewyndmelrose.com


Saturday 3rd December - Universal Hall, Findhorn

Box Office: 01309 690110

Website: www.findhorn.org


Sunday 5th February - The Corn Exchange, Exeter

Box Office: 01392 665938

Website: www.exeter.gov.uk/cornexchange


Friday 10th February - The Forum, Barrow-In-Furness

Box Office: 01229 820000

Website: www.theforumbarrow.co.uk


Thursday 16th February - Frog And Fiddle, Cheltenham

Box Office: 01242 701156

Website: www.hand-comedy.co.ku


Friday 16th March - The Festival Theatre, Pitlochry

Box Office: 01796 484626

Website: www.pitlochry.org.uk


Sunday 18th March - Eden Court Theatre, Inverness

Box Office: 01463 234234

Website: www.eden-court.co.ku