NEWSLETTER 10 - LAURA LONDON'S EDINBURGH JOURNAL PART 2
Continuing adventures at the Edinburgh Festival
Above: Laura London performing at The Magic Castle, Hollywood.
LAURA’S EDINBURGH JOURNAL - PART 2
SHOW 13 - 18th August 2016
My wonderful friend Amber came today. I met her at the station at 1.30pm, just in time for her to see the show. I’m so excited having her here.
Unfortunately my show wasn’t the best, possibly even one of the worst. Typical. It was the first time I genuinely felt bad coming off stage, not that I haven’t had a bad show before but I seemed to have dealt with it far better. I really wanted Amber to see a great show and she didn’t. My script was good but I messed up my penultimate routine, with cards flying all over the place.
A hug and a whisky after the show got me out of my stupor. Amber and I then proceeded to have a great day. Dinner at the Balmoral first, back to the flat to crack open the champagne she bought, then we ventured out into the sunny but cold Edinburgh Fringe.
We met up with my new friend Erik. He took us to the Loft Bar. We then all went to see Das Vegas with Frank Sanazi. Such a fun show, not very pc but brilliantly clever and funny.
Home and in bed by 1am as I have a big day tomorrow. David Britland is coming down and really want to make him proud as he helped me with the show.
43 people in.
SHOW 14 - 19th August 2016
What a day. Amber stayed to watch one last show before heading home. Also in my audience was Guy Hollingworth, David Britland, Billy Kidd and Richard Wiseman. No pressure then.
I was very disappointed with my performance to be honest. I was very nervous and I dropped my stack for my final routine and couldn’t get it back. Had to ask Jhed for a new deck and improvise the final routine as I went along. It’s happened before but this time I dealt with it badly. Of course I had David’s voice ringing in my ears, ‘Make sure you have duplicate decks.’ This was the one time I didn’t. Guy had seen me do that routine almost 4 years ago at the Magic Circle close up competition and I wanted more than anything for him to see it done well. It has been one of the best parts of the show so that was really disappointing.
Afterwards, I sat with David and he shared with me some brutal honesty. It’s exactly what I needed. So far, all I hear is, ‘It’s great,’ or small little things that often aren’t too helpful.
39 people in.
SHOW 15 - 20th August 2016
Started the day doing an interview for EdFest Live. Today’s show was so much better and I had a full house. I worked out why the cards kept falling off the table, my shelf had been knocked and was off kilter. I took a spanner to it and now it’s straight again.
Most of what David had suggested I did and the show felt so much better. A few of the things he mentioned though were done out of nerves like laughing at your own jokes. Looking back on some of the footage, I don’t laugh at my own jokes quite as much as I did yesterday.
Biggest change was I asked five people instead of just one to stand up for my finale. I asked their names, what they did for a living, a hobby and a favorite colour.
I asked them all to think of a card. At the end chose one spectator and revealed their card for the finale. Feels so much better.
84 people in.
SHOW 16 - 21st August 2016
Good show today. With my new changes the show feels so much better and after sixteen shows I’m finally feeling more relaxed. The script has locked in and I can now focus on the cards. I had a great reaction from my cards-in-order routine but my ambitious card didn’t go so well as I found the wrong ace. Won’t let that happen again.
I got another review from Edfringe Review, only 3-stars but they wrote wonderful things. They also were the first to notice there might be meaning to my final line, ‘Geraldine was a great cheat, she told a great story, and if you tell a good story well, then you forget about the lie.’
I also featured in the Mail on Sunday, it was an interview about the value of collectible playing cards I did a while ago but the timing of publication was perfect.
45 people in.
SHOW 17 - 22nd August 2016
Almost a full house. I had a great audience in today, the show went well but during the drunken mitt I broke my crystal decanter. I must have been enjoying myself a little too much. Thankfully the piece that chipped off didn’t hit any one. It landed right in front of a nice man called Patrick who kindly swept it away so it remained unnoticed by most of the audience.
I made another change today. I no longer read Geraldine’s last entry from the journal. I just say what it says. I feel the journal comes out a little too often with no reward for the audience after I have read from it. I also have decided not to take out Andrew Hartmann’s death certificate.
This evening I performed at Chris Cook’s Best of Magic show. As it was in the Voodoo Rooms I was able to use the projector. I did my usual working close-up routine and my cards-in-order demonstration from the show. It was lots of fun.
72 people in.
SHOW 18 - 23rd August 2016
Took a little table out on the Royal Mile to perform a few tricks to entice people into my show. Doesn’t work too well. People are too busy and too many flyers are thrown at people. It only annoys everyone.
Felt good about today’s show, it was the first day I only had notes in the hat.
One of my spectators was awful and I sent them back early because I could tell he would have messed up ACAAN. Was a good decision, the next person had amazing facial reactions so it was really fun.
Stayed in all night. Felt the most tired since being here. Had the flat to myself, watched a movie, took the duvet to the sofa, ate chips, beans and a hotdog. A bit of comfort food was needed.
37 people in.
SHOW 19 - 24th August 2016
The tiredness has really set in. Had to neck a Berocca. Could hardly get out of bed.
I thought I’d give the magic on the Royal Mile one last try, it was still unsuccessful so I forcefully took myself early to the Voodoo Rooms and tried to stay awake. Jenny told her friend to come along so I spent some time with her before the show, a charming lady.
Today’s audience was another small one but it was to be expected, sun is shining outside and school holidays have ended. Show was a good one though.
Tried moving around the stage more, that may have been to keep myself awake but it seems to work.
21 people in.
SHOW 20 - 25th August 2016
I’m very tired, today was my 20th show and I was all over the place. Feeling quite disappointed in myself. You would think doing something every day that it would get better and no doubt it has but today I messed up little things that should be easy, like the ambitious card, and I forgot a whole section of the script. I went straight home and slept. It’s now 10pm and I’ve just woken up hungry and confused.
I have been eating badly the last few days, I know it sounds silly but I think that has a huge effect on how I perform. So I’m going out to eat something healthy, watch a movie to switch my brain off and I’ll start again tomorrow.
49 people in.
Show 21 - 26th August 2016
I’m back on form. Great show, great audience. I woke up nice and early, flyered on St Andrews square and had time to warm up before the show.
Went to the supermarket and stocked up on vegetables. Cooked some chicken with broccoli and carrots. I already feel better.
Side note, I think it’s ridiculous how Edinburgh seems to put the price up on everything, food in the supermarket is more expensive than usual and, even worse, the local corner shop charges 99p for a bottle of Lucozade before 10pm then it goes up to £2.50 after. I’m not even sure that is legal!
Another one of my closest friends, Joyce arrives tomorrow, I’m very excited. So another early night for me.
58 people in.
SHOW 22 - 27th August 2016
Was up bright and early, just two days left of the festival and I plan to end it in style. I treated myself to breakfast at Paul’s Boulangerie then flyered outside the station before heading to the Voodoo Rooms. On arrival Joyce and Stephen surprised me. I didn’t think they were arriving until later but they were both there, cocktails in hand and ready to see my penultimate show.
The show went well. I was a little nervous as Joyce had invested quite a lot of time watching me rehearse the show. She could probably recite some of it herself.
The spectator didn’t follow my instructions properly and shuffled my stack. Thankfully I have learned from my mistakes, I had a duplicate pack and managed a subtle deck switch. I had to improvise my patter to cover the action. Annoyingly I said something funny and I can’t remember what it was. Damn, wish I’d filmed it.
56 people in.
Afterwards, Joyce had a pretty tight itinerary of shows to watch. Starting with Anna Morris’s It’s Got To Be Perfect. It was packed and rightly so, the show was very funny and Anna was fantastic. We stayed in the theatre to watch my dear friends Sarah Louise Young and Michael Roulston in their new show La Poule Plombee. Best show at the fringe! Emotional and funny. I loved it.
Joyce and Stephen treated me to a meal at one of the finest hotels in Edinburgh, The Prestonfield. It just so happens Sam McTernan, a friend and a member of the52, is the manager so we were well looked after. I drank the most expensive wine I’ve ever tasted; I now refuse any bottle that costs less than £400. He he.
SHOW 23 - FINAL SHOW - 28th August 2016
So it’s 10am. Feeling a little emotional this morning. I’m tired, drained but every high and low has been worth it. I’m going to make this last show a fun one.
The Final Show
Well that’s it. Show went well but Jhed wasn’t on form. I think tiredness had got the better of him. His cues were all over the place and Chris Cook played a mean but, in hindsight, a very funny prank on me. When I asked him to fill my decanter before the show with the usual apple juice he filled it with real whisky. As soon as I got to my drunken mitt poker deal I had the feeling something was up. Several of the performers stood at the back with sly looks on their faces. The moment I lifted the lid off my decanter I could smell the whisky, knowing I have to down a shot and keep drinking throughout the routine, it made for a very interesting show. I decided to tell the audience what my fellow magician Chris had done and they were on side instantly, finding it very funny and cheering me on. By the end I think I got more laughs than in any show yet.
My sleight of hand wasn’t quite as clean as it should have been after that but I had a lot of fun with it.
41 people in.
As soon as I came off stage I felt quite teary and emotional, I hadn’t expected that. I think this whole thing has just been so overwhelming. I felt pride in myself but sadness that it had all come to an end. I started to get weepy moments after coming off stage.
Jhed then had a go at me for taking my time packing up and upset me so much I ended up in the toilet crying for an hour while my friends all waited in the bar to congratulate me. I had to be coaxed out.
I’m very sad about Jhed because we have been on this rollercoaster of a journey together and I would have loved to finish with a drink and a smile. Instead he went home.
Anyway, here we are, it’s 1am and I ended up having a lovely evening with Joyce and Stephen. We watched shows, drank and hit up the VIP bar at the Abattoir for the last time this month. This has been the most incredible experience of my life. I’ve made great friends, learned so much and more than that, I realised I could do it.
I should point out, the goal of Edinburgh was not to make money. I lost money. Lots of it. Aside from the expenses of the show, travel and accommodation, take into account that this was an entire month when I had to turn down my regular gigs.
The goal for Edinburgh was to develop a show based around an idea I had three years ago about a card cheat called Geraldine. I made it happen with the help of great people like my incredible manager Jenny Dunster, David Britland who read draft after draft of my script and helped put meaning to my story, Tim Sutton who composed a piece of music especially for the show called Geraldine’s Rag and all my wonderful friends who helped me rehearse and practice. I thank all of you. Without you, I’d be sat at home right now most likely watching TV and wishing I had performed at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016. I did it and loved it. And if you’ve the slightest desire to do the same then there’s no finer place than Edinburgh to make it happen. My one tip, choose an apartment as far from the early morning street performers as you possibly can. You’ll thank me for that.