Saturday, 30 June 2018

Angry Post on Oedipus

The plot of Oedipus Rex is frequently described as the working out of a curse laid upon the children of Laius, Oedipus’ father and victim. The story is familiar enough: despite Laius’ attempted infanticide, Oedipus returns to Thebes and, in ignorance of his biological parentage, kills his dad and fucks his mum. This terrible fate was ordained by the Gods, is frequently called a curse, and its inexorable revelation exposes the feckless maliciousness of the Greek deities.

Oedipus is some play: Aristotle would use it as the template for the ideal tragedy in the Poetics, its careful elaboration of Oedipus’ crimes is a masterful display of Sophocles’ skill of building dramatic tension and the final understanding of Oedipus of his own nature makes it a prototype for a horror story, in which the hero suddenly discovers that they are actually the villain. The skilful development of Oedipus ensures that the audience is drawn in and feels sympathy for the protagonist (his mother and wife, Jocasta, however, is inevitably a stock character whose death is a mere prelude to Oedipus’ blinding. So much for the female experience).

Because of Sophocles’ delicate yet inevitable description of fate finally catching up with the unfortunate monarch, the play is frequently understood as fatalistic and the curse itself a simple representation of ‘original sin’ (although the Christian term is anachronous). The fate is arbitrary, a bitter fact of a universe that doesn’t so much not give a fuck about humans but actively fuck with them. Oedipus’ peripeteia is to realise his actual nature, and he’s a mother-fucker.

Yes, that works, only it is only part of the story, isn’t it? Laius wasn’t just the victim of a curse. He was cursed because he fucked kids. He was supposed to be the tutor to Chrysippus, only he raped him and provoked the boy to suicide. The punishment, to be killed by his biological son – and to have his wife seduced by the same child – is a punishment for child-abuse. It has a bit of a gangster edge, but is clearly a moral response to criminal behaviour. Oedipus demonstrates the social and personal consequences of child-abuse: it stays around to fuck up the next generation.

And let’s just remind ourselves of the culture in fifth century Athens. Kenneth Dover’s Greek Homosexuality has a close look at the various sexual relationships enjoyed in the cradle of civilisation. Basically, he concludes that men would engage in relationships with young teenagers – at their most attractive just before puberty – because the legalistic nature of marriage (and the oppression of women, who were banished to the back of the house) meant that romantic love needed an outlet.

Contrary to some optimists, who like to believe that before Christianity, there was no homophobia, gay adult men (as far as they could be said to exist in any terms that overlap with contemporary notions of sexual identity or behaviour) were mocked and castigated. Wanting sex with a man of the same age was effeminate, and there’s plenty of jokes at the expense of such men in Aristophanes. An adult relationship between men wasn’t happening. What was okay in Athens of the fifth century was an adult male having with a child, in exchange for a few bits of educational advice.

So – to be clear: Sophocles wrote a play demonstrating the consequences of a relationship that was common in the city in which his plays were performed. It’s not just a meditation on a hostile universe (although this quality adds an apparent universality to the script). 

It is about how damaging paedophilia is. Of course, admitting that the same men who invented democracy and equality before the law (isonomia, the principle that led to democracy) were involved in something like a paedophile ring is upsetting, so that gets ignored. And pointing to the treatment given to adult men attracted to other men, it’s a homophobic one, too.

The amount of evidence that Dover marshals for the prevalence of pederasty suggests that they were doing a fair job of making it seem acceptable. And even a classicist like Dover, who must have known that the word ‘homosexual’ was not even invented until Karl-Maria Benkert coined it in 1869 (Havelock Ellis was like, it’s a ‘barbarous… monstrous mingling of Greek and Latin’ (Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. II, 1921)), uses it to describe behaviour that is better described as kiddy-fiddling. Congratulations on forging a link between the healthy desire of adult men for each other and systemic abuses of power.

I have two points here. One is that there is a further reading of Oedipus that is probably discussed in some classical scholarship but not generally known that makes the play fiercely moral and more connected to its specific historical genesis than the typical ‘it’s a universal play’ or ‘it’s about a subconscious desire all men have to sleep with their mum’. It doesn’t replace those readings, but it adds a layer.

My other point is that the conflation of homosexuality and paedophilia, which is bullshit and still hangs about in conservative homophobia, has one hell of a pedigree and is enforced by respectable sources that misapply the terms. I first discovered Laius’s antics in an encyclopedia of queer mythology, which coyly tries to reclaim Laius within some kind of hidden history. 

Apart from suggesting I didn’t pay much attention when I studied Classics at St Andrews, this is supposed to be a queer positive handbook revealing the occluded queerness of mythology and that. I know I shouldn’t have faith in a book that discusses William Burroughs without mentioning heroin use, or has a longer section on astrology than Islam or Christianity (it’s bullshit mysticism), but the need to discover lost heroes doesn’t necessarily involving adding to the long list of attempts to misunderstand the simple fact that paedophilia is not homosexuality.

Add that next to Peter Ackroyd’s description of pederasty as a queer sexuality in Queer City, or the mistranslations of St Paul that assume his prohibitions on fucking kids are a general message against same-sex desire (he can’t have had a thing against homosexuality because, remember, the word wasn’t invented until the nineteenth century), and there’s a nice historical context for that big load of Daily Mail paranoia.

I think I need to make this clear. Homosexuality is a manifestation of same-sex desire, an orientation. Paedophilia is rape that is predicated on the replacement of compassion with a drive to dominate. A paedophile ring is a group of criminals enabling each other, a bit like the Involuntary Celibate communities online. I am tired of the homophobia that conflates them, especially in books that are supposed to be all about liberating queerness from oppression.

I am aware that intergenerational relationships do have a pedigree within recent gay society, but if the law is able to recognise equality for the age of consent, so can chicken-hawks. There's a long tradition of an older lover introducing a younger person to the intricacies of sexual desire and intimacy, which goes into heterosexuality as well, but informed consent needs to be part of that. Children have trouble with giving informed consent.

Oh yeah, and Ackroyd: there is no reason to think that female gladiators are lesbians. No reason not to, sure, but skeletal remains with no inscription don’t tend to have a sexual identity. And you might want to interrogate what the word sodomy means in medieval society before assuming it is all about anal sex. It’s not that Christianity hasn’t got a problem with homophobia, but a bit of context might provide some clues as how to disentangle a decidedly Unchristian attitude from the prejudices of fundamentalists.

Just saying.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Death of Dramaturgy: Robert Peacock @ Edfringe 2018

Death comes to the Fringe

Death on the Fringe, the charity-run initiative to get the world’s largest arts festival talking about the one thing that faces us all, returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for its fifth year.

The mini-festival draws together shows and lectures within the Fringe that deal with the big issues of death, dying and bereavement. It is curated by Good Life Good Death Good Grief, an alliance of organisations and individuals working to make Scotland more open and supportive around death.

Death on the Fringe takes place across Edinburgh from 1 – 26 August 2018. 

    The purpose of your programme is to present a series of works across media which connect through the theme of death and bereavement. How does this fit within the organisations usual work?

    Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief exists to create more openness and support around death, dying and bereavement in Scotland. A lot of problems arise because people are unprepared for the inevitable and don’t necessarily discuss the big issues. 

    Would you want your life prolonging even if there was little chance of recovery? Have you told your friends and family what your final wishes would be? How do you support someone who has been bereaved? Not knowing the answers to these questions can cause extra heartache and anguish at an already incredibly difficult time.

    A lot of our work is therefore about making
    sure people have access to information, so they’re better informed about these issues. Our website is full of resources and links – how to make a will, or where to seek support after a bereavement, for instance. 

    But beyond that, we’re looking for creative ways to get people to engage with the topic. The arts in general, and theatre in particular, has that power to challenge and provoke and ask questions of people. A good drama showing the impact of a death or a terminal illness diagnosis can reach people in a way an information leaflet can’t. We want to signpost people to shows that have that impact, and then “if you’ve been affected by these issues…”, we are the people who can tell you more.

    What guided your selections of shows? What process led to them being included?

    We take no particular stance on any aspect of the subject matter. Our purpose is just to get people thinking. With that in mind, any show that covers either death, dying or bereavement is eligible for inclusion, whether serious, surreal, comic or otherwise. We exclude shows where it seems to be a subsidiary theme. There’s always war plays at
    the Fringe, for instance. That’s its own major topic and an individual’s own death is usually just one part of a wider point discussion about inhumanity or injustice. 

    By the same token, we leave out shows that are about famous deaths, where the death is just an aspect of a biographical piece. More or less anything else we’re open to. We’ve even included farces before now. It might not be the most circumspect way of discussing death, but if you see a farce about disposing of a dead body, it might make you consider carefully what happens to your remains.

    I approach the theatre company or performer, explain what we do, and ask if they’d like to be included. Normally their motivation for doing the piece in the first place accords with our mission, so they’re very happy to be part of it. 

    We’ve been helped this year by David Graham, who is running the Sit-Up Awards, a new scheme to support theatre that has a social impact. He had a ready-made list of shows that were about death and had spotted a few that we had missed. Fringe blurbs can often be misleadingly vague!

    What kind of extra events have you developed and how do they encourage the themes and connection between the works?

    Alongside the shows, we programme our own public lecture series in conjunction with Just Festival at St John’s Church on Princes Street. These feature academics and practitioners introducing their own area of expertise. This year we have a funeral director, an academic telling the history of the Scottish funeral and a death doula (someone who acts as a practical and emotional companion at the end of life). They’re each Thursday of the Fringe at 6pm. 

    We also have a space at the Book Festival from 10am – 3pm on 16 August where we’re hosting an exhibition we put together with photographer Colin Gray looking at the different aspects of caring at the end of life. There’ll also be a mobile library of death-related poetry assembled by the Scottish Poetry Library, resources and information, and a chance to discuss the topic over a “Death Lunch”.

    How will this programme be more effective than leaflets or youtube videos?

    The rawness of being able to see good drama close-up at the Fringe. That setting, sharing the emotional tension in a room with performers and audience members, heightens the experience. 

    It engages the mind and senses much more actively than passively browsing a leaflet or youtube video could ever do. We hope that impact will help generate conversation after the event, and ideally spill over into conversation at people’s workplaces or around the dinner table the next day.   

    And why is the Fringe a good place for this rather than a dedicated festival at some point at the rest of the year?

    We do also have our own dedicated festival, To Absent Friends, a people’s festival of storytelling and remembrance which takes place across Scotland from 1 – 7 November each year. The focus of that festival is to create space for people to remember, share stories and celebrate those who we have loved who have died, again as a way to shift our cultural attitude towards death and dying. 

    The remembrance focus is narrower than what we do with Death on the Fringe, but our main reason for doing something during the Fringe as well is because it is such a great platform for ideas and to engage large numbers of people with the subject matter. And of course, it’s tremendous fun, even when you’re dealing with such challenging topics.

    Death on the Fringe presents audiences with different ways to engage with the topic and aims to break down the fear and discomfort people have when confronted with it. It’s naturally a difficult and unpleasant subject to think about, but sharing experiences, feelings and ideas through performance is one way to make space for contemplation and to create a more supportive and understanding environment for dealing with death.

    “There’s no shortage of issues being talked about at the Fringe,” says Robert Peacock, Director of Death on the Fringe. “But death is one we can all relate to.”

    “The arts have never shied away from confronting the big themes; in fact, some might suggest all art is a response to mortality in some way. So, in these times when modern life and modern medicine has distanced us from traditional wisdom and community support around death, we think the arts is one way to reconnect us and help us understand what it means to be mortal.”

    The Death on the Fringe programme offers a range of perspectives on the subject – some heartbreaking, some comical, some profound, some perverse. This year’s shows include Fringe legend Pip Utton’s latest solo piece, And Before I Forget I Love You, I Love You, about the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s (Pleasance Courtyard, 1-26 August, 2pm) and Dante or Die’s site-specific piece about the online legacies we leave, User Not Found (Traverse @ Jeelie Piece CafĂ©, 3-26 August, 8pm).

    There’s dark comedy in Paige Jennifer Barr’s show Death, Dating and I Do, (theSpace on the Mile, 14-18 August, 11.15am) the tale of finding love again after the death of her husband, and even audience participation cookery in Making Room’s The Midnight Soup (Summerhall, 14-26 August, 7pm).

    Vicar of Dibley writer Paul Mayhew-Archer talks about his experience with Parkinson’s in Incurable Optimist (Underbelly Bristo Square, 1-26 August, 5.15pm), while a funeral home sales agent has to face up to her own death in Gillian Skye’s Come Die With Us (Sweet Grassmarket, 2-26 August, 3.55pm). Other shows look at organ donation (From One Heart To Another, SpaceTriplex, 6-7 August, 1.05pm) and the loss of a child (Canoe, theSpace @ Surgeon’s Hall, 3-25 Aug, 9.05pm)

    The programme also includes three public lectures run in partnership with Just Festival at St. John’s Church on Princes St. Dundee University’s Eddie Small tells the Surprising History of the Scottish Funeral on 9 August at 6pm. Audiences can also hear about A Day in the Life of a Funeral Director with Awdri Doyle on 16 August, and what it’s like to be a Death Doula, giving practical, emotional and spiritual support at the end of life, with trained Doula, Hilary Peppiette on 23 August, also at 6pm.

    Death on the Fringe is also collaborating with Edinburgh International Book Festival, who are hosting It Takes A Village, a powerful portrait exhibition by Colin Gray and the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care that shows that support at the end of life comes in many guises (The Bookshop on George Street, 16 August, 10am – 3pm).

    In total, the programme features over 20 shows, with more being added. The full programme can be found on the website.

    • Death on the Fringe was first held in 2014, and has featured performers in the past including Dr Phil Hammond, Lynn Ruth Miller, and Scottish Comedian of the Year, Rosco McClelland. This year will be its fifth year.

    • Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief is a collective of individuals and organisations working to make Scotland a place where there is more openness about death, dying and bereavement. It was established in 2011 by the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care. 

    • The Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care (SPPC) brings together health and social care professionals from hospitals, social care services, primary care, hospices and other charities, to find ways of improving people’s experiences of declining health, death, dying and bereavement. 

    Thursday, 28 June 2018

    James Ley @ Edfringe 2018

    James Ley and The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh are delighted to present
    Love Song to Lavender Menace

    Love Song Crop - Aly Wight.jpg
    By James Ley
    Directed by Ros Philips
    Part of Made in Scotland at Edinburgh Fringe Festival
    Tech Cube Zero, Summerhall
    3 – 26 August 2018
    Love Song to Lavender Menace returns to Edinburgh following a sold out run at The Lyceum last October, as part of Made in Scotland’s esteemed showcase this Fringe. A true romantic comedy that celebrates LGBT+ history, culture, literature and love, the acclaimed play is an offering to Lavender Menace - Edinburgh’s first ever ‘Gay, Lesbian and Feminist’ bookshop, which began life in the cloakroom of the city’s first gay club (now a Waterstones!). 

    Would you identify your show as 'gay' or 'queer'? What makes you define the show with this label?

    For me labelling the show as ‘queer' would suggest something in terms of theatrical form that the show wouldn’t deliver on. I think if you were to give it a genre you would call it a 'gay romantic comedy' and formally it has links to naturalism. 

    So I think, in this very binary question I would say it’s gay! And it’s glad to be gay! I’m not a massive fan of labels as I think they can support stereotypes, and stereotypes are toxic. 

    What differences do you see between the labels 'gay' and 'queer’?

    I am very proud to be gay. I left school a year early because of homophobic bullying when I came out as gay. I didn’t come out of queer so from a linguistic point of view I have stronger neural pathway connections with the word gay. I earned that. But that’s very personal to me. Language can be funny like that. 

    But I love queer culture and I love queer art and work and people. But I do feel I look in on that longingly, rather than being part of it. But that’s ok. We can’t be all things to all people. And I love being me and the artist that I am. So I mainly identify as gay, queer, weird, bipolar and extremely polyamorous - but if you want a label that sums me up the best I think it’s - Daddy. 

    Why do you think I am asking this question, particularly of your show?

    I’m guessing you think the show is not queer, and you think labelling is very important.

    The play, written by Village Pub Theatre’s James Ley, was originally commissioned by LGBT Youth Scotland as a Cultural Commission for LGBT History Month 2016, and was created with the support and insight of Bob Orr and Sigrid Neilson - the founders of the revolutionary bookshop, both of whom still live in Edinburgh today.

    Wednesday, 27 June 2018

    Report from Chairman Vile

    Snooper loopy nuts are we
    Me and him and them and me
    We'll show you what we can do
    With a load of bills and a data queue!

    Keep the files then, screw back
    So you've got everybody's emails lined in racks
    Snooper loopy nuts are we
    We're all snooper loopy

    Now ol' Putin as we all knows
    Makes loadsa loot and killings
    Trump is owned and he keeps his head
    'Though he's got Communist roots
    Emotional but he keeps his cool
    'Til he gets the World Cup
    And whether he wins or whether he don't
    'I always oppress gay folk'

    Now our friend May, hours she spent
    Running through the wheat fields
    In the parliament her mates seem amazed
    At skills with empty words.
    And them slogans, they never meant shit
    Why? The old mind boggles
    But of this date, she runs the state
    'Cos Michael Gove's a liar'

    Now Neil the taff was born in a gaff
    In the valleys of the land of song
    And as the reds he puts to bed
    He likes to sing along
    And if we win he says with a grin
    Equality will happen.
    He lost to Thatch, but here's the catch
    'He got a job in Europe'

    Now old Boris his hair's all white
    And his mates all take the rise
    Diplomats said cover up his head
    Cos it's shining in my eyes
    When the light shines down on Eton's crown
    It's a cert he's gonna walk off
    He said he was against runways'But I can't be there for the talk off.'

    Now Corbyn last year come very near
    To winning the election crown
    But he lost to a moribund Tory gang

    Cos The Daily Mail did frown
    His editor said 'He's far too red'
    But the people don't agree.
    He's become a cult, the great last hope
    'But the Blairites think he's Leaving'

    Snooper loopy nuts are we
    Me and him and them and me
    We'll show you what we can do
    With a load of bills and a data queue!

    Keep the files then, screw back
    So you've got everybody's emails lined in racks
    Snooper loopy nuts are we

    We're all snooper loopy

    Tuesday, 26 June 2018

    Queer or Gay: Le Fil @ Edfringe 2018

    24/7 LIVE, a 'pop gig with extras' will be heading to C Royale at the Fringe Festival between August 7-11th 2018

    24/7 LIVE is an energetic pop extravaganza that explores  bad romances, closeted gay-straight guys, and how we are packaged up 24/7 in our relationships and culture. 

    Stylistically, the show sits somewhere between the styles of Christeene’s drag punk, Kylie’s Showgirl and Beyonce’s Lemonade - a perfect dose of queer subversive pop and twisted autobiography for all cross-arts fans who love a pop concert full of juicy gossip with
    some gender politics. 

    Would you identify your show as 'gay' or 'queer'? What makes you define the show with this label?

    I would identify my show as ‘queer’ as it celebrates a subversion of the status quo when it comes to attitudes and iconography usually associated with commercial mainstream pop within the music industry. I try to unpack the sexualisation of the industry and twist it to fit my analytical perspective of identity and gender. 

    I think as society and vocabulary has shifted, the term ‘gay’ has been strengthened to describe a sexuality of a person as a really a positive thing - so that therefore it’s almost not possible to call an object or something inanimate ‘gay’ without it sounding almost like a schoolyard insult. 

    What differences do you see between the labels 'gay' and 'queer’?

    Personally I find if you label a programme or a book as ‘gay’ i find it really reduces that particular subject to it’s gayness, its sexuality - whereas my show extends beyond that. There’s a lot of gay culture now which is quite heteronormative, which is totally great - but that’s not me. I still feel like ’the other’. 

    I still feel like I have to challenge ideals within the gay community - how a ‘man’ should be, how camp we should act etc - and that's why queer is an important term for me. For me, ‘queer' is a state of mind about rejecting a status quo. It could stem from gayness but it actually extends beyond any sexuality. 

    For example, I wouldn’t call my show a gay pop show because its focus isn’t about being gay or gay issues. Yes I’m gay, but the show's views are specific in subverting universal gender issues that extend far from being gay, to a point where it represents straight people too. And if you called it a gay show, it would have limited that understanding.

    Why do you think I am asking this question, particularly of your show?

    Because I call myself a queer pop artist? I guess I call myself a queer pop artist because queer is my state of mind towards sex, identity and towards my music.  

    When I first performed at Duckie in Royal Vauxhall Tavern, Simon who runs it came up to me and said “I love it because you’re like these all singing all dancing popstar, but you're subversive - it’s subversive pop!” And I love that term, and it stuck, so I have him to thank for it.
    24/7 LIVE is touring and  visited London’s Hackney Showroom and Brighton’s Marlborough Theatre. With each venue, the show evolves into a different type of pop gig ranging from something more intimate and acoustic, to an arena sized pop show with a full live band - so it is always a new experience for each audience. 


    Wednesday, 20 June 2018

    Red and Boiling @ CalArts 2018

    CalArts Festival Theater presents
    Red and Boiling
    Come out into the light!

    Dynamic Drag Duo Lights Up the Stage!
    Red and Boiling uses shadow puppetry to shed new light on untold stories of queer womyn from around the world

    Hasadick the bearded drag king is somewhere between a passionate queer activist and your favorite Jewish grandmother. He has interviewed queer womyn from around the world, and is here to share their stories verbatim. Rosay, his bougie (and pain in the ass) sidekick took these stories and recreated them in a world of shadow puppetry. 

    It’s like soup, a pot of queer stories, a pinch of drag, a dash of lip sync, a few slices of puppetry, some tears, and they always keep it salty.

    Red and Boiling, one of three shows presented by CalArts Festival Theater, opens at Venue 13 on Saturday, August 4th at 13:15 and runs through Saturday, August 25th. There are no performances on Mondays.

    Tickets for all CalArts Festival Theater shows are available through the VENUE 13 or EdFringe Box Office.

    Would you identify your show as 'gay' or 'queer'? What makes you define the show with this label?
    Definitely queer. The nuance of labels and language is a big part of our show and the way we describe it. To us, queer is not only a term to define identity, it is also a performance of resistance in itself. Our queer bodies in public spaces, or performance spaces are inherently political and defying the standards of

    Gay men have DICK-tated the narrative represented on stage for years, excluding queer womyn and people that live outside of the binary. Choosing the word queer to represent our interviewees and our show, encourages our audience to think outside of the binary, and to see a more nuanced representation of what queer looks like.

    What differences do you see between the labels 'gay' and 'queer'?
    Historically ‘gay’ used to define a larger range of identities, however today it is used primarily to represent sexual orientation, specifically cisgender men. To us, ‘queer’ contains the nuance and specificity that ‘gay’ lacks.
    It holds the intersectionality of gender identity and sexual orientation, without needing to abide by binary language. Especially as queer womyn, using the word ‘gay’ (that has primarily described gay men) feels like a form of erasure because the language wasn’t made to encompass our identity.  

    Why do you think I am asking this question, particularly of your show?
    Because when a drag king & drag queen are telling stories of queer womyn verbatim, how could you not? ;)

    Dozens of womyn interviewed, from the middle east to the U.S., of different ages, identities, and religions, have never seen themselves represented on stage. Hasadick and Rosay are dedicated to amplifying the reality of queer womyn beyond the act of coming out and Red and Boiling provides that space. Come rediscover your identity and witness an hour of celebration, heartbreak and magic.

    But that’s not all, during the fringe the interview process will continue.  Every performance will change as new content is introduced. 

    You can listen to the full testimonies on their podcast available at 
    One day you’re interviewed, the next you’re in the show. Come out into the light! #redandboiling.

    Monday, 18 June 2018

    After William Burroughs

    Not only am I the best critic in Scotland (subjective opinion), I also work with the most important critic in Scotland, Lorna Irvine (her consistent perspective marks her out from the pack), and I am one of the kindest (although Thom Dibdin might be the kindest, and he has a brilliant beard). In that spirit of kindness, and wanting loads of hits on my blog, I am going to give...


    Sometimes I am asked if I have any words of advice for young performers.

    Well, here are a few simple admonitions for young and old, performer and PR.

    Never interfere in a critic and artist fight.

    Beware of critics who say they don't want status. The hell they don't.

    What they mean is that they want more status; much more, these are the most egotistical critics what can be got.

    If you're doing business with a theatre editor, get it in writing; their word isn't worth shit, not with the editorial policy telling him how to fuck you on the deal.

    If, after having been exposed to someone's presence, you feel as if you've lost a quart of plasma, avoid that presence. You need it like you need pernicious anemia.

    We don't like to hear the word "press officer" around here; we're trying to improve our public image. Building a kindly, avuncular, benevolent image; "interdependence" is the keyword -- "enlightened interdependence".

    Life in all its rich variety, take a little, leave a little. However, by the inexorable logistics of the marketing process they always take more than they leave -- and why, indeed, should they take any?

    Avoid fuck-ups. Fools, I call them. You all know the type -- no matter how good it sounds, everything they have anything to do with turns into a disaster. 

    Trouble for themselves and everyone connected with them.
    A fool is bad news, and it rubs off -- don't let it rub off on you.

    Do not proffer sympathy to the artist who has had a negative review; it is a bottomless pit. Tell them firmly, "I am not paid to listen to this drivel -- you are a terminal fool!" Otherwise, they make you as self-obsessed as they are.

    Above all, avoid confirmed Fringe veterans. They are a special malignant strain of fool.

    I imagine that you expected a little more than a William Burroughs rip off. So did I, but after I decided to cut and paste his advice, and adapted it for the Fringe, I was laughing too much to give my advice. And you know what they say about advice: give it to someone, because you are never going to use it. 

    I promise next, time, I'll deal in a few specifics.