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.

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