An Escapologist’s Diary. Part 28.

The Sulking Ape and Other Stories (last week’s launch event for Issue Six) was a smash. I’d go as far to say it was the best launch event we’ve ever done. Live performance definitely trumps DJs and wine receptions.

The Edinburgh Voodoo Rooms saw Escapological readings from Neil, Aislínn, Reggie and myself; live music from Reggie, Nick and Scotch Todd; Laura took the photographs; and Samara did the promotional artwork.

The event was organised, quite excitingly, almost at the last possible minute. We knew in advance which readings we’d do and approximately how the event would fit together; but thanks to our jam-packed August schedules, the venue and promotion were always going to be last-second affairs.

We managed to find a cancelled show at the Voodoo Rooms, which put us in the position of being stand-ins for an entirely separate show (an ‘alternative cabaret’ show) so most of the audience had actually arrived in anticipation of something else entirely. I think they’d been expecting a burlesque dancer to do something inventive with ping-pong balls, so it was a relief to see that they didn’t expect the same from us.

This may seem like something from a nightmare: you and your five pals have to entertain a discerning audience who have come to see alternative cabaret. The crowd took a sporting chance and I think we were able to sufficiently intrigue.

Each reader was a contributor to Issue Six, and so we read from our own pieces. Neil read from his evolutionary cautionary tale, ‘The Sulking Ape’, the title of which we took for the event itself. I read a whimsical piece imparting the virtues of sitting to pee. Aislínn read from her astonishing directory of unorthodox funereal practices, and Reggie from his biographical article about the naturalist Leonard Dubkin. Reggie’s piece, accompanied by music from the Wireless Mystery Theatre was simply beautiful.

Still buzzing from my own Fringe show at another venue, I was full of beans as the MC. I felt obliged to point out that Reggie’s beautiful reading “contained no urine, testicles or dead bodies” as the previous readings had done, but that “it did include a reference to spider silk, which I think we can all agree is fucking filthy. Thanks for that Reggie”.

Reggie and the Wireless Mystery Boys then played the audience softly out of the venue.

I must extend big thanks to all of the performers and to everyone who came along. Thanks also to Peter Buckley Hill for allowing this last-second addition to his Free Fringe lineup.

MEMO: There may be a slight delay with sending all of the subscriber copies out. We printed a very small number for the event, in case of printer errors. We’re going to do one last proof-read before we print the second batch. Shouldn’t be much longer than a week though. Thanks for your patience!


Robert Wringham is a humorist and the editor-in-chief of New Escapologist.

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