Late resolutions

I realise it’s not seasonal anymore to declare fresh intentions for the year, but I just spent twenty quid on a bluetooth keyboard from Tiger that has a shortcut for a dollar sign in place of a pound so I thought I’d give it a spin and try actually writing something with it.

So yes, this might be a poorly structured post. Please bear with!

There are many, many things I’d like to do this year. After a trip to New York in January to visit my lovely friend Jonny, I realised that maybe I’m not so scared of flying at all; big planes are better are taking off than spindly budget airlines after all. That’s the secret! And if you fly further, they bring you wine! Therefore, I need to travel more, and fear less. Not every penny needs to go into the ISA (although the raising of the allowance is clearly a good thing, it also means it’s nigh on impossible for me to fill it, so no treats for achieving this come April!)

I need to start running again. I had a day off today and forced my way outside. I was shocked by how fine I felt. And then I started running. It was hard – I hadn’t run up the notorious hills of Greenwich Park for a couple of months – but I also managed to make it to the final furlong without a stitch. And that to me is an achievement. (I got a stitch in the last bit, but that’s okay, I didn’t stop.)

In New York I started making Touchcasts again and remembered how much I enjoy talking to a camera. I don’t enjoy admitting it. I’m going to change this and start as I mean to go on; I LOVE TALKING TO YOU VIA A LENS. I WANT TO BE CLAUDIA WINKLEMAN. Or at the very least, I’d like to get to the point where other people want me to work with them and let me give it a go outside the confines of my bedroom, using something other than my iPad delicately balanced on a hazardous pile of books and paper.

My blog is becoming less of a blog, more a brain landfill. I’d like to get it back on track and post more regularly; about friends’ projects, comedy, those videos I mentioned. Things that matter to me – and others. I had every intention of writing my thoughts on No More Page 3 and then I didn’t.

Bake, cook and be a good host – that’s something that’s always on my to do list. I tell people all the time they should come for dinner. I need to follow up on this!

Gig again – I go through periods of playing guitar a lot, and then not at all. I miss writing songs and I miss gigging. But I can’t bear the pay to play culture and I don’t always like playing solo.

Go to an improv class. I’m not a comic, but I need to push myself a bit more. No one tends to believe this; I can be quite introverted and have to work hard to talk to new people. I’m quite jokey and people think I’m nervous because of it – they don’t take me seriously and when I do act seriously, the change can scare them! And I need to go to ‘things’ – be it a recommended event in Time Out magazine, volunteering to be an extra or getting behind the camera (as well as in front of it).

It’s not an exhaustive list, but it does sound exhausting, doesn’t it? Wish me luck – or better still, share your ideas for how I can get started! (Thanks!)

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Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Stuart Laws and John-Luke Roberts

Now previews are done and the Edinburgh Fringe has kicked off, it’s time for me to present the last two episodes of my interactive video series, Frankie’s Fringe Focus

First up, it’s Stuart Laws

Stuart is a kinder eggs obsessive stand-up, whose show this year, ‘When’s This Gonna Stop?‘ will reveal his penchant for German Christmas cookies and a hatred for spiders

He runs his own production company, Turtle Canyon Comedy, and has recently been making short comedy films (so I don’t know what he made of my makeshift iPad filming setup!) He’ll also be doing a Comedy Roast with fellow Fringe Focus guest Matt Winning – find out more on his website.

Watch the Fringe Focus with Stuart Laws on Touchcast

John-Luke Roberts

I’m definitely trying too hard to be a ‘too-cool-for-school’ T4-style host in my interview with Luke – but it’s quite surreal interviewing someone you know so well.

I’ve not actually seen Stand-Up’, Luke’s show this year, but I’m planning to see it in Edinburgh – I’ve seen various bits of pieces at new material nights and even donated self-raising flour to his cause. But, if anything to go by last year’s show, it’s going to be awesome (and I’ll be very proud). It will also feature a talking dinosaur…

Luke also co-hosts the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society with Thom Tuck and will be presenting different acts four nights a week during the Fringe. Being the Fringe, it’s only allowed to be two hours long – I’ve never been to such a short ACMS, so I’m quite intrigued by the prospect!

Watch the Fringe Focus with John-Luke Roberts

So that’s it for my first interactive series! You can find a full list of featured acts here and do Tweet me your Fringe tips @getfrank. It’s been a while since I’ve properly gone out and interviewed people outside of work (and kept my voice/face in the mix) and I’ve enjoyed it so much – and that down to the lovely comics, the nice folks at Touchcast who have repeatedly given me more space on their server and everyone who has watched, tweeted or let me know they’ve been watching. You’re the best.

Hopefully I’ll get to host some new stuff in future, and I’m keen to work with others, so do get in touch with ideas!

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: BattleActs! and Bren & Jenny

It feels a bit surreal to be counting down to the last few episodes of Frankie’s Fringe Focus, but that’s what I’m doing every day of this week on my Touchcast channel.

Today I’m introducing two more video interviews, nicely linked through their associated acts (Brendan Murphy and Phil Mann are both members of improv group BattleActs!) – more on them right now…

BattleActs!

As there’s only one link featured in this rough and ready video with founder member Phil Mann, I decided to put the whole thing on YouTube in its entirety – but you can still view it on Touchcast here.

Semi-Detached Comedy, the ingenious brainchild of comics James O’Brien and Kieran Coyle, brings performers into your home where they proceed to do short sets in each of the rooms. Myself and Phil Mann recorded this during the second half of the evening, when things were so messy even the front camera of my iPad refused to function, meaning my boyfriend had to hold the iPad the opposite way round and was unable to see the shot. You may see me directing the position of the screen during the interview!

BattleActs! are an improv group who split in two, go to war via the means of improv and let their audience decide who is the winner. Although I wasn’t competing with Phil in this interview, we decided to play a game of ‘new choice’ and let our audience dictate the direction of our conversation… Find out more about how you can see BattleActs! for free in Edinburgh this August here.

Bren & Jenny

I was thrilled to get the chance to chat to Brendan Murphy and Jenny Bede about their show (I’m always hearing – and seeing – great things about Jenny) and they didn’t disappoint when I met them to chat about their first show together, Hello! (the exclamation mark is very important).

The pair were originally planning to do half an hour of material each in their allotted Free Fringe slot, but decided to properly team up and work on their (very funny) show together, which features the two multi-rolling with the help of some sound effects, videos and, most vitally, wigs!

Watch the full interactive interview on Touchcast here.

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Jay Foreman and Nish Kumar

To celebrate the start of the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I’ll be publishing a new episode of Fringe Focus every day!

The series will finally conclude on Saturday – and on Sunday, I shall rest. And probably bake a three tier cake for the office, but that’s a different kind of effort, right?

So I’m not bombarding your inbox, I’ll keep the Fringe Focus posts to every other day – hence featuring two comics at a time. And here they are…

Jay Foreman

Jay Foreman is most likely the successor to Mitch Benn‘s topical musical comedy crown. He can often be seen collaborating with fellow Fringe Focus guest Bec Hill on YouTube, with Bec’s paper puppetry perfectly complimenting Jay’s witty tunes.

This year Jay’s doing a kids’ show at the Pleasance, Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children (and Other Funny Stories) and I was lucky enough to be treated to a one-on-one performance of one of his quirky acoustic numbers from the show – watch my slightly awkward bobbing to the music (and much, much more) over on Touchcast now.

Nish Kumar

Make no mistake – Nish Kumar is a lovely, lovely man, and a genuinely brilliant stand-up. He’ll be returning to the Fringe with his third full length effort, Ruminations on the Nature of Subjectivity.

I’ve seen a preview and it’s a great show – with some lovely callbacks and a hilarious story about Nish’s trip to the Isle of Wight with fellow comic Romesh Ranganathan. But obviously, don’t just take my word for it – go see it! And before you do, make sure you watch the Touchcast (even if just to see Nish get very excited about making interactive things appear onscreen)!

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Pippa Evans

This weekend, my Fringe Focus is with the (in my opinion) busiest woman in comedy, Pippa Evans.

I met Pippa through working at BBC Radio Comedy (as one of the very talented line-up of Newsjack, which used to be one of my favourite shows while I was in the department).

As well as showing off her wide range of voices on the radio (‘cockney urchin’ being a personal favourite), Pippa performs as musical comedy act Loretta Maine and co-founded Sunday Assembly with Sanderson Jones, which has quickly become a worldwide phenomenon.

This year, Pippa’s appearing in not one, but three shows. She returns to “too-good-too-be-true-but-actually-is-true-omg-how-do-they-do-it-?-true” Edinburgh Fringe staple, Showstopper! The Improvised Musical. Of course, Loretta Maine will be in full voice in Loretta Maine: Strong Independent Woman (Unless I Am Very Tired) and, in her Fringe debut, Pippa will be performing as… Pippa Evans, in Don’t Worry, I Don’t Know Who I Am Either.

Pippa talks about the scary notion of performing as herself for the first time in our interactive video – head over to Touchcast to watch it now!

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Jake Lambert

This week, I’m catching up with one-liner comic, poet and storyteller Jake Lambert.

I met Jake through the BBC New Comedy Award and he impressed me with his natural onstage personality and his sharp, witty one-liners. He’s got a great, broad appeal (and he’s thoroughly lovely too).

While we were filming my Dad decided to interrupt us by calling me to enquire about a certain iconic sketch group… You can see what happened below in this exclusive ‘uncut’ clip.

You can catch Jake performing his free show (shared with Dom Lister) at Dropkick Murphys at the Fringe this August. Click here for more details. He’ll also be performing at Comedy Cow: Prime Cut at the start of the festival too.

Click here to watch Jake guesting on Frankie’s Fringe Focus on Touchcast now! 

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Lazy Susan

Ladies and gents, this week I’m thrilled to bring you one of the acts who’ll surely be taking the Edinburgh Fringe by storm this summer.

If there’s any justice, the sketch show that will be on everyone’s must-see list this August will be Extreme Humans by Lazy Susan. I’ve seen a preview, and even in its earlier stages, it was breathlessly funny.

In our Fringe Focus episode, the duo dress me up in a variety of their props and telling me about the characters they belong to, effectively turning me into a ‘human buckaroo’ in the process. But did I buck? Well you’ll just have to watch to find out!

Catch Freya and Celeste (aka Lazy Susan) performing Extreme Humans at the Pleasance Courtyard at 7pm from July 30th – August 25th (excluding August 12th, when most of the performers have a well-earned rest!)

Watch Frankie’s Fringe Focus with Lazy Susan on Touchcast!

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Bec Hill & Darren Walsh

Howdy Fringe-goers! I’ve got two Fringe Focuses for the price of one today (basically because I was rubbish and didn’t post this last week)

First up is the extraordinarily creative Bec Hill, whose signature performance style is ‘paper puppetry’. If you want to know what that means, watch the video with future Fringe Focus guest, the musical comic Jay Foreman, below…

She’s a busy woman indeed – aside from her paper puppetry creations on YouTube, taking control of Londoners’ social media profiles (to hilarious effect) on London Live’s CTRL Freaks and running the hugely popular Pun Run, Bec is responsible for a whopping three shows in Edinburgh this August. Catch a special charity edition of Pun Run, her kids’ show with Tom Goodliffe, Bec and Tom’s Awesome Laundry, and her own solo effort, Bec Hill in… Ellipsis, at the Guilded Balloon.

Watch Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Bec Hill on Touchcast

Next, it’s puntastic stand-up Darren Walsh, who first wowed me with his extra creative one-liners and sound-effects back at the BBC Radio New Comedy Award in 2012.

Darren’s definitely in the running for ‘best Fringe show title’ in 2014, with the imaginatively titled ‘Chicken Meow’ (watch the touchcast to find out why) which you can catch daily at the Heroes @ The Hive for whatever you’re prepared to pay at the end.

And do make sure you check out this amazing video of Darren at the O’Henry Pun-Off World Championships in Texas from earlier this year – what a hit rate!

Watch Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Darren Walsh

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Phil Wang

Oh hi guys, I did another one of those Fringe Focus videos, didn’t I?

This one is with the super duper awesome Phil Wang, who delighted me by saying yes when I proposed shoving my iPad in his face and asking about his now legendary ability to craft ‘intellectual dick jokes’.

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See, here we are having a right laugh about them. Or at least I am. (It was my joke. Apparently I should stick to asking questions and sporting orange lipstick. Although even the latter is questionable.)

If you’d like to watch me getting interactive with Phil about his Fringe show, Mellow Yellow, simply go to my Touchcast Channel and watch it! (Give it a try, it won’t bite…)

Find out more about Phil Wang on his website.