Hi there. My name is Lucy Frederick and I am a stand-up comedian.
Last year I took my first solo show to the Edinburgh fringe and gee shizz did I have a ball!
I really had a jolly good time. I preformed for an hour a day in a blistering hot Yurt to nary an empty seat, got four star reviews and drank so much gin that I lost my voice and had to rasp and croak my way through the last two gloriously silly shows. It was life changing and a ruddy blast.
So unsurprisingly this year I was jumping up and down to go again (metaphorically jumping up and down. Not physically. I'm not stupid. I'd get black eyes for one thing....).
Now, this was always going to be the difficult second album. Last year I put every bit of material into the show that I had. There was a neat idea and a concept I was enthused about. This year I had to start from scratch. I had to do it all again. In a year. I ummed and ahhed about what to call the damn thing; I thought of every pun on my name under the sun; I went through smart arse title after smart arse title; I toyed briefly with simply calling it 'I'm so sorry this is wildly mediocre'.
And finally plumped for Lucy Frederick and the Claw of Anxiety.
This phrase came from a chance meeting with a famous chap at last year's fringe. I am socially anxious and slightly over-sweaty at the best of times but if you chuck in an attractive actor man who casually throws his arm around your shoulder to beam confidently into a burgeoning camera lens, what happens is positively cataclysmic. When I described the incident to a friend later, I explained that I had emitted a high frequency squeal and that my hand had involuntarily formed a kind of 'claw of anxiety' by this man's face.
And so the show was born.
And it turns out I'm quite pleased with it. Lots of the ridiculous things that happen to me in life are caused by my incurable social anxiety. And the more I talk about it, the more it seems that other people find this too. So that's nice.
And the tale would end there if it was just a case of writing a show. If it was merely my job to sit about and eat Turkish Delight while imagining hilarious ditties and anecdotes, then this story would be a cheery one.
But it's not and it isn't.
Taking a show to the fringe is the biggest source of anxiety you can imagine. It involves terrifying creatures like 'press releases' and 'flyers'. Mythical beasts called 'reviewers' might come and see your show and say bad things. Or worst of all, they might not come at all...
Every decision seems of gargantuan importance and must be made immediately, right now, if not ten minutes ago. And when you do make that decision, you can bet your Aunt Josephine that some total GIT will be waiting to suck air through their teeth and tell you that they would have done it differently. And most of all, the whole thing is vomit-inducing expensive.
So why? Why do ten billion squillion comedians spend August in Scotland? Why?
Well. Because once you are there, there's nowhere else you'd rather be. You won't find another opportunity to do the job you love for an hour every day for a month. The atmosphere, the comradeship, the parties, the laughs. And the reviews and the stars. That too...
So I here am, sat in departures at Heathrow, girding my proverbial loins. I will be back in London in exactly a month. Slightly yellow from gin drinking, slightly raspy from laughing and bellowing and slightly over sweaty from the anxious knowledge that I won't get to do it again for another year.
So if you are up in Edinburgh during August for the Festival, please do consider alleviating my no-audience anxiety dreams by dropping in to see 'Lucy Frederick and the Claw of Anxiety!' at Just The Tonic Community Project at 5.35pm every day except the 12th.