How to grow up

I’ve wanted to vlog for a while, but knew that simply talking to a camera probably ain’t gonna cut it these days.

There’s something about vloggers like Tanya Burr and Zoella that weirdly compels me to watch – and they are very watchable – but I wanted to do some brief, lighthearted videos that look at different elements of being a so-called ‘grown up’. It’s not necessarily advice for young people that’s helpful right here and now, but it’s about making the idea of being an adult less intimidating, whilst also exploring what that actually means – do your thoughts change? Does your behaviour drastically alter? How do you actually know you are one? What does being ‘grown up’ actually mean?

I’m not planning on talking about makeup and clothes – although I’ll probably wear a lot of silver garments. I’m also not investing in amazing lighting or sound – at the moment, there’s just no point. I’m still exploring the format (and yes, it’s probably very typical YouTube in that I’ll be using jump cuts and cutaways, but hey, that’s the medium).

My first video isn’t about something that everyone will experience – it’s not something everyone wants to do (or sadly can afford, given this day and age), but it’s something personal to me, given that a question I’m often asked is; “why on earth would you live on your own!?” Hopefully my video sums up why I really enjoy it and why it was the right choice for me.

My flat is a shared ownership property – meaning that I pay a mortgage on 25% and pay subsidised rent on the rest. So I can decorate it, but I’m also responsible for paying for repairs should anything go wrong. I can staircase to buy 100%, or I can sell my 25%, splitting any increase in value with the housing association who own the remaining 75%. There’s no point in satirising between as whoever buys next will also be shared ownership and will have to buy my entire share – much more difficult at 50% than 25%.

One of those ambitions I’d had for over a decade (genuinely since becoming a teenager) was to have my own place, and although I don’t own the whole property, I feel that I’ve achieved something.

I should also add, no animals or muppets were harmed in the making of the above vlog, although my sofa is lucky to be alive…

More vlogs coming soon – please let me know if there’s a topic you think I should cover!

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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!)

Meet Graniella!

Graniella loves a ‘natural look’ (false eyelashes, red lipstick and eyeliner – naturally), shower gel and brushing her hair.

And she’ll sell you ANYTHING.

Graniella is the creation of my friend (and gifted stand up) Grainne Maguire. We shot this yesterday and I dusted off my iMovie skills. (And my Mac, which took four hours to upload it!!!)

If you enjoy, please do share and let us know if you’d like to see more!

Frankie’s Fringe Invasion

I’m currently sat at my desk, getting through my lunch break by repeatedly refreshing Chortle and wondering when the Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Awards nominees are announced.

My body, having finally got used to the 2am-10am Fringe sleeping patterns I adopted last week, is annoyed that I am not still in Edinburgh trying to track down a ticket to see Adam Riches or Bridget Christie. I am consoling it with images of cake from tonight’s episode of The Great British Bake Off (perk of the day job). I’m one of those Edinburgh Comedy Widows you see, and my boyfriend’s show was rather good this year (my words, not his) – I’ve got my fingers crossed for him and some of his friends.

(Oh, apparently Wittank are getting an E4 pilot, or so my most recent Chortle refresh tells me. Good for them.)

I was really lucky to have the opportunity to do a few quick interviews at the Fringe this year – I’d decided to do a ‘stage invasion’ and try and appear in some shows a month or so ago. I was truly, properly, utterly perplexed and thrilled to be invited onto Grainne Maguire’s What Has the News Ever Done For Me? and the cult hit Knightmare Live (catch it when it tours soon if you’re not in Edinburgh) and had an amazing time. I don’t know if I can say the same for the audience members, but I’m sure they’ll get over it soon enough…

Here’s the extended version of my post-show chat with Grainne (all two mins of it!)

At Grainne’s show, I had to argue that my chosen news story of the week was more relevant than the other panelists’. Sadly my argument that selfies with works of art would lead to the social media neglect – and therefore subsequent death – of cats, did not convince the audience, although they did enjoy the shameless promotion of my boyfriend’s show (“It’s my boyfriend’s show about his breakup with his ex-girlfriend! John-Luke Roberts: Stnad-Up! Go see it! 6pm, Voodoo Rooms, Free Fringe!!!”)

I had some sound issues during filming, but you can see my three minute guide to the Fringe, Frankie’s Edinburgh Expose, below:

I had some very good sports in Paul Flannery and Tom Bell from Knightmare Live, who appear at the end of the vid (about 1 min 30 secs in) and improvised around my very stupid questions. The voiceover was recorded in my boyfriend Luke’s very small bedroom while he was semi-asleep. Therefore it’s a bit whispery. (Essentially, it’s not the best quality video in the world, but I had fun making it.)

During my time at the Fringe, I also spoke to Alex the Mind Reader and Christian Talbot about the audiences they enjoy talking to and how they deal with tricky crowds.

Alex reads my mind after a minute and a bit…

Christian’s daughter has been nominated for the Malcolm Hardee Stunt Award for her unique approach to flyering…

I have just refreshed the Chortle page. Nothing so far. In my next post I’ll talk about my favourite acts from the Fringe this year – hopefully they’ll be performing in London and various other places in the next few months.

Good luck to you all…

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: 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!

The New Year list

I’m deliberately not calling this post ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ because I don’t think I need to change who I am – and nor should you – but because I’m a fan of a to-do list and this is a good excuse to create an ‘action plan’ for 2014…

2013 has been, for the most part, fine. It’s gone ridiculously fast too. There were big changes at the start and end of the year (I got dumped by email in January – ouch) and changed jobs (moving to EastEnders in late December), but for the most part I feel like I’ve coasted along.

However, everyone should take a moment to think about the good bits as well as the disappointing receiving of electronic communications and so here are a few of the highlights…

#Team NCA

The BBC Radio New Comedy Award returned in 2013 (we got a BBC Production Award nomination for the 2012 multiplatform element that I produced which was pretty cool) and I found myself without a budget so recruited a big batch of amazing volunteers to help film and edited each film myself. The core group of Producer Tilusha, Production Co-Ordinator Tam and Production Management Assistant Isma were bloomin’ hilarious and wonderful. And of course the most fabulous Executive Producer Alison Vernon-Smith and the stylish (and talented) Production Manager Hayley Nathan. My favourite production of the 18 months I spent at BBC Radio Comedy.

Grainne & J-Bugg shake up the Beeb

I found two excellent, talented friends in the new Radio Comedy bursary writers…

A Summer of gigs!

Thanks to Elena Dana, I finally started gigging in London, even making my jazz debut. And I got a new telecaster… now to get an amp (see 2014 to-do list…) I also wrote at least three songs I can count among my favourites.

Making my own damn icing, thank you very much

When I baked in the Get Flat in 2012, someone else was around to do the icing while I made the batter. My early solo icing efforts were watery and rubbish. Then one day, thanks to a Primrose Hill Bakery coffee buttercream recipe, I cracked it. (Although I did have a massive icing fuck-up the other day and had to buy the pre-mixed stuff for a Xmas party at Grainne’s but never mind…)

Comedy! Comedy! Comedy!

I saw some amazing shows and met some hilarious, lovely people this year. People who made me laugh included: Bridget Christie, Phil Wang, Steve Bugeja, Rob Carter, Katherine Bennett, Kate Lucas, Adam Hess, Tom Craine, Joe Lycett, Dean Sekhon, Peter Brush, Grainne Maguire, Mae Martin, Nick Helm Sarah Campbell, Nish Kumar, James Bran, Joe Davies, Ivo Graham James Acaster, Dane Baptiste, Jonny Pelham (and many, many more – go and check them out…)

Producing a book… sort of

In the New Year the BBC will be releasing an iBook about writing for Radio Comedy that I produced… I’ll post more about this in 2014!

Anyway, 2013 review aside, there’s loads for me to be getting on with next year, so here’s some stuff I’d like to do in 2014…

  • Buy amp to go with new telecaster (rather than playing through mixing desk connected to computer speakers)
  • Finish painting bedroom – there’s no longer a reasonable excuse for the large unpainted patch behind the wardrobe!
  • Cook a wider variety of foods (other than jacket potato, pasta and homemade sauce and stir fry)
  • Invite friends over more regularly to share wider variety of foods
  • Apologise less for the way I look
  • Be less passive when someone judges the way I look unnecessarily
  • Buy more cushions for my large sofa
  • Keep up the exercise and resist chocolate/ice cream temptations!
  • Practice guitar more
  • Find rhythm section to play with me and Reece (who I’m working on songs with)
  • Get keyboard out again
  • Record more music – and record it better
  • Read more on my Kindle
  • Find permanent contract
  • Renew ISA
  • Fill up ISA
  • Invest in more loose leaf teas
  • Save up for Canon 5D
  • Be better at getting people together – but not feel so guilty if I don’t
  • Enjoy self as much as possible
  • Blog more!

There’s definitely more – most of that reads like a shopping list! I must have January sales on the brain….

My Harkive – 9th July 2013

I start at 8:00 when my alarm forces me awake and I immediately turn on the radio.

I won’t lie – this is almost permanently tuned to Radio 1, although the track (that even Nick Grimshaw comments as sounding like a ‘rubbish Cotton Eye Joe’) makes me wince (I later find out that this is called Ring A Ling by Sneakbo. This morning it’s mostly chat though – I’m an out and proud Grimshaw fan so this is fine by me. Plus, I’m 24 so I’m still within the Radio 1 target audience. (I know you’re judging me!)

As I head out the door to the district line, I have a listen to a mix of a song I’m working on on my iPod. It might sound odd to some, but I find it useful to listen to my own music (sometimes I find it quite hard) on various devices so I can see if the listening experience changes – for example, my macbook speakers are pretty poor so an iPod is far more preferable. The track in question is called Twelve Feet Under and I’ve put it on Soundcloud and shared it with friends to try and get their thoughts:

Often I listen to a podcast or something from the BBC Radio Comedy output on the tube to work – this morning it’s The Show What You Wrote, which is being podcasted as the BBC Comedy of the Week. However, as it finishes before I arrive, I pop my iPod on song shuffle and on comes the Sufjan Stevens song John Wayne Gacey Jnr.

Later, at my desk, I notice a blog post on Twitter about The Rumble Strips by This is Fake DIY. It includes a Youtube video of their song Alarm Clock, so I give that a listen. I was never a big fan so I listen more out of curiosity than nostalgia. It’s ok, but I prefer the upbeat (but slightly similar) sounds of the dearly departed Larrikin Love.

After lunch I have a major hayfever attack and run out to Boots to get some eyedrops. Trying to take my mind of my swelling, itchy eyes, I take my iPod with me. As before, it’s still on shuffle. The tracks it treats me to are Magic Touch by Golden Silvers, Four Kicks by the Kings of Leon, Night Terror by Laura Marling and Live Wire by Fyfe Dangerfield. I do have some current stuff on my iPod, including Bastille, Lianne La Havas, Bastille, Daughter and Kate Nash’s underrated third LP, Girl Talk – oh and Yeezus by Kanye West, but I also have plenty of older stuff I can’t imagine not taking on the go with me.

After work I hop tubes between Great Portland Street and Angel. My iPod is still in an eclectic mood and plays A New Found Land from Villagers’ (brilliant) second album Awayland, The Look of Love (Nina Simone version), Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) by Florence & the Machine, The View from the Afternoon from The Arctic Monkeys (who I have never stopped loving in the past nine years), Isobel by Bjork and She’s Lost Control by Joy Division. Naturally the latter sets me perfectly in the mood to see comedians John Robbins and Joe Lycett test out their Edinburgh shows… or maybe not.

Post comedy, it’s back to dashing between underground lines. Impressively I manage Angel to Bromley-by-Bow in three different lines and four songs… although I do chat to my friend Doug from Angel to Bank so technically I only listen to my iPod for the second two lines. These songs are Landfill from Daughter’s Wild Youth EP, Old Stone by Laura Marling, New by No Doubt and, rather perfectly, With You Now by my friend Jake Flowers’ band Oaken Lee. I say perfectly because I’ve just received a message from Jake about Twelve Feet Under.

Don’t forget, you can still submit your listening habits from the 9th July over at Harkive.org now!

Disappointed in Me: the video!

I wrote Disappointed in Me back when I was in my second year of uni.

I guess I don’t really need to tell the story behind it as it’s pretty much all in the song (yes, ‘relationship upgrade’ were the words actually said to me, along with ‘well I’m very disappointed in you’).

So why record it now? Well, I might have written it when I was 19, but the situation isn’t uncommon for many women I know. Also, it’s ruddy good fun to play and my friend Reece was looking for something colourful to make a video around.

So here it is, Disappointed in Me on YouTube! (And for those who you who have asked me, it’s an excuse to see the ‘Get Flat’ too.)

You can get the track for free from my Get Frank Soundcloud now.

I was dead lucky to have Reece Lipman make the video for me as part of his new venture, Shimmer-man Productions. I felt really anxious about being in front of the camera again after an extended period of not doing much on You Tube and also because it was someone else filming me, rather than me filming myself, so I had to just trust Reece and make like a op star. Luckily, Reece made me feel really comfortable and I sang along to my own song so many times I got used to it pretty quickly! (I couldn’t properly mime so I quietly sang.)

In other words, I’d thoroughly recommend him if you’re looking for a music video producer/director!