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Liam Mullone

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Lexicon of Loss

Posted: 27/08/2012 00:00

I like a bit of human misery, me.

There's nothing like a bad time to boost the semantic cornucopia of the English language. I mean, it's believed that two thirds of the idioms, sayings and phrases in popular use today come from just three sources - the Bible, the works of Shakespeare and the Royal Navy - all of which were, and remain, dripping with human misery.

So in honour of August 2012 - the Fringe of Misery, as it shall e'er be known - I've compiled a handy lexicon of Fringewords for performers. To deal with pain and loss, we must first be able to express it. So, you know, this stuff ought to help. Some of these words apply to Ed Fringes in general. Others are bons mots that came into use this year. At least, they came into use among me and my stuffed toys.

Please feel free to add to this list if you feel something has been left out. After all, things can only get worse. I'll be tweeting these... let's use the hashtag #fringewords.

PS: Against the run of play, I've had a bloody lovely time this year. Eternal thanks to everyone at the Stand for being amazing.

Botched Execution - a scathing review exacerbated by being badly written and strewn with typographical errors

Bucket Dodger - Someone who leaves a free show five minutes early to avoid making a monetary contribution

Clusterfuckers - Reviewers who, late in the festival run, pile on a well-reviewed show with their own inconsequential gushings in order to appear part of the hive wisdom. See various cobble jobs of Tony Law's show by people who couldn't even get tickets to see it.

Doughnut - A friend of the act who has agreed to warm a seat when a reviewer is in, but actually contributes nothing more than another dour face.

Eye of Sauron - Someone in the crowd who you desperately need to impress - and so causes you to completely bugger up your performance.

Foreign Body - Someone whose flyer/poster accolades all seem to come from the Dubai Inquirer, the New Australian and the Djibouti Herald.

Fringe Foetus - A reviewer who walks in trailing an umbilical cord and covered in vervet, then writes that they didn't really understand what was going on.

Ghostwriter - A reviewer who occupies a seat at your show but never gets around to writing up a review of it.

Headmaster - A well-meaning "must try harder" review that uses phrases of patriarchal disappointment such as 'shows potential', 'frustratingly...' and 'if only he hadn't...'

Hypertwat - A comedian who has gone to all the trouble of creating a reviews website/blog from scratch, for the sole purpose of reviewing themselves positively. Also Cyberspunk.

Idiot Laurels - A nice fawning review, mitigated by having been written by an illiterate moron

Kopshit - a wannabe contemporary of Kate Copstick, usually without the wit; a reviewer desperate to make a name for themselves as an excoriating debunker of comedians' dreams.

Kowalski - See 'Vanishing Point'.

Laidlows - Acts who, suffering the malaise of low ticket sales, post on Facebook that they're terribly ill and how, though they hate to let everyone down, can't do their show today because they are genuinely dying to death.

Leggy Tightwad - A pretty girl in a free show. Such creatures NEVER contribute any money at the end. Evil.

Miniluv - A surreptitious amendment of an early bad review to bring it up to the standard everyone else thinks the show is worth. See Chortle's upgrade of Wil Hodgson in 2005.

Minitrue - A surreptitious binning of a bad review due to threats, outrage, regret or gerrymandering. "Behold the truth. No previous truth exists".

Morrissey Syndrome - The Manc bard sang about how we hate it when our friends become successful. Nowhere is this truer than at the Fringe.

Number Crunchers - People whose only interest in other acts is to ask them how their numbers have been. See also 'Star Bores'.

Overweener - A debut Fringe appearance that has spunked the family silver on massive posters, PR agents, billboards and a prestige venue - usually to no great effect.

Panelhead - Someone who describes themselves as a 'Radio / TV show panelist' on their posters after one such appearance. See also 'star of' Michael McIntyre's Roadshow.

People Panda - A well known comedian doing a free show to ramp up their credentials as someone with the common touch.

Pollyanna Principle - The only reason there is still an Edinburgh Fringe despite 7 years of declining ticket sales

Rewho? - Dubious review from a website / publication nobody has ever heard of, such as Fringemonkey, Fringenipple, Fringeleper, Fringetoilet, Fringetwat, Fringelichen, Fringeprotocaryote, Fringeprimordialooze.

Sauna Syndrome - A loss of laughs / concentration due to dizziness, nausea and loss of body fluids in overcrowded rooms. Much less common this year.

Schrodinging - A philosophical position taken up in respect to a review you suspect is bad but refuse to look at. Until you see it, the possibility of a good or bad review exists, however unlikely. "Would you like to read your Three Weeks review?" "No, I'm Shrodinging."

Self-Service - An apparently self-penned positive review on the Ed Fringe site, Remote Goat or some other open-access reviews platform, exceptional in its complete lack of mild, qualifying criticism.

Star Bores - People who will 'casually' drop their excellent reviews into any conversation.

Starlickers - People / publications that award five stars to people they're in awe of, sometimes before their Edinburgh show has even opened. See Chortle's review of Daniel Kitson.

Starkickers - People / publications who award a low star rating to a comedian generally regarded as good, in order to establish themselves as a maverick / freethinker / person to be feared. This is usually married to a woefully overconfident writing style.

Tomorrow People - Reviewers who promise to come to your show and never, ever do

Ultimism - Getting through the Fringe by promising yourself you'll never come back again.

Vanishing Point - The moment where an act is so well-regarded that their posters are totally obscured by stars and adorations. A Kowalski is born!

Worm on the Pavement - A reviewer whose presence is made obvious by a complete lack of real punters to hide behind.


Liam Mullone: A Land for Fuckw*ts - 15.30 @ The Stand
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