Alex Horne at the Fringe – the last post

Most Popular

So the Fringe is almost over for another year. Here in Edinburgh, it seems like the end of an era, the climax to some mighty war, the finale of the greatest show on earth. Elsewhere, of course, no one really has any idea it’s been going on. The festival is a bubble; if you’re in it, it’s amazing; who wouldn’t want to be in a bubble? But to everyone else it just floats past, virtually unnoticed.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

You might, however, have heard the odd squeak of the bubble bouncing around if you’re one of these people that uses Twitter. For the first time, this most faddish social networking site has played a role on the festival stage, allowing performers to talk about their shows and, more importantly, audiences to give instant feedback.

In previous years, punters could log on to websites and leave official comments about shows they have seen, but it’s always been a bit of a faff. And anyway, I’m always slightly wary of the sort of person who bothers to give a kettle an online review. Now, thanks to twitter, everyone’s a reviewer.

Most Popular

This, I think, is a good thing. The best, or at least most interesting, shows at the festival tend to gradually win an audience over the course of the month thanks to word of mouth, rather than advertising and press. If you want to sound in the know you might say that there’s a lot of ‘heat’ around a certain comedian, or that there’s ‘a genuine buzz’ about another. Twitter ramps up that heat and multiplies the buzz. I've never liked it before but word spreads through retweeting.

On a more personal level, precious performers like me tend to sniff at the traditional reviewers' star system, whereby newspapers give a show a mark out of 5 and thus can dismiss a year's work with a simple 3 stars (or worse). At least there are 140 characters available on twitter to play with.

Moreover, unlike official critics, twitterers tend to tweet about things they like so a quick search of your show will (hopefully) yield some pleasingly positive statements to massage your ego. My favourite so far was this nugget from ‘blearyboy’: “OMG @alexhorne did a bit about the birthday paradox, my favourite piece of maths. I know this makes me a dork. He rules. #edfringe.”

Unfortunately, most festival-goers aren’t on twitter so #edfringe has not become a trending topic this year. Instead #katyperry, #scottpilgrim and #istilldontactuallyknowwhojustinbieberis continue to make the sort of waves that swamp anybody else. Maybe next year twitter will help even more worthy performers sell more tickets. Or maybe, twitter itself will have burst.

If you’re reading this outside of Edinburgh, thanks for your patience. If you’re here, I hope you’ve had a cracking festival. If you get the chance, check out the Amazing Bubble Show at the ‘C too’ Venue, by the castle; my favourite show so far.

Alex Horne will be performing his solo show ‘Odds’ at the Pleasance Upstairs at 20:30. He will also be performing his one off show ‘Taskmaster’ on the 27 th August at the Pleasance Queen Dome at 00:20. For full details see www.alexhorne.com