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! 

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If you advertise your beliefs in your outfit, be prepared to talk about them…

The other day I was sat on the central line, music in my ears (but not so loud anyone could hear what I was listening to… probably something I should have removed from my playlist years ago) when the woman opposite me got up at Oxford Circus, pointed at me and started mouthing something at me.

I removed my headphones. It turned out she wasn’t mouthing, she was actually speaking.

“Me too!” She said. I looked down. She was pointing to my feminism necklace. I got excited.

“It’s from… um.. Oh…” I hesitated, before realising that it was from Thrift Ola, which is run by the former owner of Lady Luck Rules Ok (sadly missed). “Google Lucky Dip Club!” I called after her as she dashed off before the train started moving again. Since then, there’s been a pleasing handful of people who have commented or shared that they too are feminists. The custom name necklace I’m wearing in the photo below is now out of stock, but you can order your own ‘feminist’ necklace with companies such as the brilliant Tatty Devine and their name necklace service). 

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Once, in a branch of Carphone Warehouse, a guy pointed out my necklace and he confessed his mixed feelings about feminism. We had a perfectly respectable debate, where his chief concern was ‘how to approach women’ in clubs etc. I think that this is perfectly reasonable concern, but one can be easily addressed. Just be nice and respectful – it’s fine to go and say hello to someone, just don’t grope them, launch into aggressive sexual suggestions and so on and so forth.

On Monday I was walking through Kensington when a guy stopped me (saying a polite “excuse me”) said he liked my dress, asked me about myself and where I was going (in a non-creepy way). I genuinely was off to a gig with my boyfriend (I don’t really have many other reasons to be in that part of town), but I didn’t mind being stopped at all – I felt like I had control.

Now, I’m not suggesting that the male population needs to take tips from charity muggers and start stopping women in the street left, right and centre, but maybe the guy from the Carphone Warehouse should take note – respectfulness works!

More recently on the Central Line (that same Monday I ended up in Kensington) I was sat across from a man who wore a hat on his head with the bold (in both senses of the word) slogan that said “buy it or bang it”. I’m pretty sure this referred to women, although the phrase could quite as easily be applied to a fridge, among other objects. Obviously I didn’t ask him if he was a banger of white goods – I didn’t speak to him at all – but I doubt anyone will. If someone displays sexually aggressive misogynistic intent on their attire, it’s less approachable than someone wearing a one word representing a popular, if incomprehensibly controversial, ideology.

Now people have started talking to me about feminism in person, I’m keen to do it more often! I’m toying with ordering a Tatty Devine speech bubble necklace that says ‘talk to me about feminism’ to keep the conversation going…

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Joz Norris

I’m going for my first ever weekend mini-break tomorrow, so I’ve released this week’s episode of Frankie’s Fringe Focus early – and it’s a proper treat, thanks to the lovely Joz Norris.

I’ve already seen a preview of Joz’s show, Awkward Prophet, so I was particularly keen to chat about it with him. As I’ve seen Joz in many guises over the past couple of years (including throwing Ben Target around a stage whilst encased in a ebony morph suit), I asked him if he could bring a couple of costumes with him, and he didn’t disappoint!

You can watch me chatting to Joz about dodgy trousers, Bowie wigs and girls (ooh errr!) over on my touchcast channel now.

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.

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Lead Pencil

Just over a week ago, I squeezed my way through the central London crowds to reach the Leicester Square Theatre. My mission? To meet the really very lovely Maddie, Louise and Dave of colourful, energetic sketch group, Lead Pencil for my latest Fringe Focus interview.

We had a chat about their 2012 show, their sketch comedy peers, preparing props for this year’s show and Manchester United fans. They’ve got great energy and are one of those acts that seem to enjoy being onstage and their audience – I’ve mostly seen groups who have ‘awkward’ onstage personas recently (not that I don’t enjoy them, or that they aren’t brilliant) – but Lead Pencil seem to be open to being themselves and that can be quite refreshing.

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Watch my interview with Lead Pencil here.

Lead Pencil will be performing on the Belly Laugh stage at the Underbelly during the Edinburgh Fringe at 6:20pm nightly. You can see them at the Brighton Fringe on May 17 and 18 (details in the poster above).

My ‘everything’ tomato sauce

Before I started tinkering with tinned tomatoes and ‘finding my own way’ with recipes, I tried loads of different tomato pasta sauce recipes, but I’ve pretty much sworn by this one for a couple of years.

It’s quick, cheap and easy, goes with anything and can be adapted to your tastes. It’s also easily doubled and doesn’t require puree or vegetable stock like some recipes I’ve previously tried.

Chuck in some chopped pepper (frozen or fresh), courgettes or mushrooms after your onions are softened but before adding the chopped tomatoes and heat for a couple of minutes as an extra way of getting your five a day.

I have this with pasta (brilliant for a packed lunch) or on top of fish – particularly those frozen fillets you can get. If you’re not going with the fresh ingredients, this can be made entirely from store cupboard essentials

Frankie’s simple tomato sauce (makes two generous portions)

You will need…

  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Dried basil or mixed herbs (if you’ve got fresh, go for it)
  • One small red onion (chopped finely)
  • A few fat cloves of garlic, crushed (adjust to taste – I’m a garlic fiend)
  • Chilli powder or half a chopped red chilli (it’s properly spicey if you go fresh, so I tend to use powder – so convenient!)
  • A generous handful of sliced black olives
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Red wine (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Large pinch of sugar
  • A couple tablespoons olive oil

Method…

  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When it’s warmed through, add the onion and the garlic. Heat until softened. Add the fresh chilli if you’re using it.
  • If you have red wine to hand, pour a generous slug of it into the pan and then heat until absorbed. Repeat with the balsamic vinegar.
  • Add chilli powder if using it and heat for a further minute.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, olives, sugar, salt and herbs. Heat for five minutes or until excess water from the tomatoes has reduced.
  • Serve with fresh basil and feta (depending on what you’re having it with)

I’ll be releasing a Touchcast video about this soon – for more recipe ideas, check out my Touchcast channel

 

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….

Free gig at The Finsbury – Sunday 13th October

I’m playing a free gig at The Finsbury pub on Sunday 13th October.

It’s completely free and the doors are at 4pm – I’m on at 4:30pm, so hopefully that’ll give everyone time to recover from the night before!

It’s possibly my last gig for a while – I’m hoping to start playing my telecaster at future gigs (I’ll be getting out my trusty acoustic for this one) and I’m desperately seeking a band to play with.

I’ve been jamming with my friend Reece (formerly of the July Days), but we definitely need a rhythm section before we start gigging. Playing with a band is one of my favourite things and it definitely makes me more confident on stage.

You can hear rough demos on my two Soundcloud pages (stupid, boring story to how I have two accounts):

Truth Fiction

Get Frank

I’m not a dictator band leader – I like to work songs through to create something we all have a hand in and feel ownership of. Mostly though, I want to create songs to get people dancing. Simple.

If you want to get involved, give me an email at frankiepromotes@gmail.com – and please spread the word…

See you at the gig on Sunday?

Why I moved my ‘big gig’

In my last post, I wrote about a ‘big gig’.

This post is to say that I have moved the gig to Roadtrip & Workshop in Old Street.

Basically I found the pressure of playing with people not necessarily similar to my style, in a large venue with the demand of bringing in a big crowd, too much at this stage in my ‘gigging career’ – I use ‘career’ loosely as a term, as it’s not necessarily an aim for me right now.

I also felt that perhaps the promoter wasn’t doing as much as possible to promote the gig – there was nothing about acts on his website, no official Facebook event (which is pretty standard these days) or mailing list. When I sent him a regretful email cancelling, explaining that I felt I couldn’t bring in the audience he needed and that I had been offered a gig on the same night in a smaller venue (and also offering what I considered to be a fairer payscale) he was clearly pissed off – and that’s ok. I feel bad for cancelling, however I previously felt bad that, despite my own promotion, it didn’t look like I could pull a crowd – but neither could he.

Let’s look at the figures briefly, by way of example:

At the gig, if you brought 15 people or more, you would get £15 and a £1 per person thereafter. The price on the door was £4. Therefore, you would take £15 and the promoter would take £45. I know that there’s a soundman to pay for etc… (venues rarely charge as they get bar takings etc…) but there’s also money from people in on the door who hadn’t come to see anyone in particular – and there’s no door split between the acts for that.

I am currently happy to play for free if there’s no charge on the door. But if I’m having to promote a gig and play a 30 minute set (with little or no promotion from the actual promoter), I think I have a right to earn more. At the same time, I really don’t want promoters to fail, and I’m very ‘green’, but I’m no longer 19 and so up for the exploitation these days.

Here’s a very recent song:

I’m going to invest in a better microphone and start recording and making more effort with my songs – if you want to help me with them, give me a shout…