Abandoman: Party In The Key Of C Major
So then, tell us about your show?
It¹s a fully improvised musical history of my life in the UK since 2004. A sort of hip-hop This is your Life, with me playing all the hits I created over the years based on suggestions from the audience. The audience play the parts of the various people I met along the way: work friends, exes, and aunties.
How have your previews been going?
It's pretty much as finished as an improvised show can be. Some more convoluted ideas have been chucked out moments before going onstage. It's odd, but about three minutes before going onstage it feels like sobering up. Suddenly, the meticulously planned but highly convoluted ideas for a potential song or story arc that seemed a great idea a few days before can suddenly become clear-as-day unusable.
Do you have a guaranteed, surefire flyering technique?
I'm afraid I don't. My only advice with regards to flyering is that not everyone should be flyered - some people may be too out-of-it to come to your show. In 2008 I flyered a man who was clearly drunk and had painted his face as The Joker from Batman. He came to the show, revealed he was coming to the end of a three day binge, moaned and mumbled to himself and finally, about fifteen minutes into the show, decided to leave. As he walked out he attempted to either high five me or slap me, I'm still unsure, as perhaps he was.
What's your health regime for the Fringe?
There isn't one as yet. If it's sunny, I may venture out with a frisbee. Otherwise, I'll sit in venues with high heating and try to convince myself I'm attending a futuristic Bikram Yoga class where they've added entertainment.
What's the worst mistake people make at the Fringe?
The one I regret each year is I never get to see as much as I want to. After about a week, I become a bit more casual about going to see shows, thinking I've loads of time to see them. Then, on the last week, I'm trying to catch five a day.
Last year's Fringe was all about the London riots. What major news event do you think will force you to hurriedly rewrite your 2012 show?
I'm guessing it'll be the Olympics but I'm hoping for something more left field. I like the Irish news from the 40s when people would see apparitions and it would be reported in the newspaper. 'Statue of Virgin Mary Moves!'. The news was more fun then. Or perhaps it was statues that were more fun then. Either way, a bit of left-field news story, possibly involving a David Hume statue, is what I'm hoping for.
Do you pay your taxes?
I do. Is this an elaborate questionnaire by HMRC where we chat about the show for a bit and then - BAM - hit me with this question?
What was your favourite joke when you were a kid?
This is an odd one for me. The joke I remember is, 'What's black and white and red/read all over?' My mother gave me the set up when I was about four. I thought about it for a while but couldn't come up with anything. She informed me that it's the newspaper. I informed her she was wrong, the paper is merely black and white. She tried to explain the joke but I refused to listen. For some reason this joke stayed in my head, as it bamboozled me and made me think that my mother didn't understand basic colours.
What's so special about C-major?
It's the easiest key to play music in and it's the key everyone starts learning in. I've spent a lot of the last year learning little bits of music and am discovering that everything I can play is pretty much in C Major.
Your show is great for audience participation. How much do the audience make or break it for you?
Quite a bit. If they're great and give very silly responses, it's always an easier show. Sometimes you just find people that have great suggestions - a recent one was a man who worked for the government and, when asked his dream, it was to convert the Olympic Stadium to a Jurassic Park adventure world after August. He said this in a very serious manner, like he'd given it considerable thought. It was one of the best responses and makes it easy to turn something this visual and fun into a song.
How do you get into the performance state of mind?
At the moment, I freestyle for about 20 minutes before a show. This just warms the brain up and makes sure that I'm in the right headspace before a show. That, and listening to hip hop while lacking the ability to correctly hear the words. I learnt I could freestyle when I was listening to a hip hop track in the late 90s and genuinely thought I was rapping the same words as the person on the CD. It was a friend who had to stop me and inform me I had barely heard one. Around this time I realised, due to a lack of paying attention, I was freestyling.
Who else are you hoping to see while you're in Edinburgh?
Foil, Arms and Hogg, Charlie Baker, Benny Boot, Joe Lycett... there are lots of people I'm looking forward to seeing.