A fine failure that ended up being a success for one woman… and trees falling in the opinion forest…

I LIKE the story of the actor who posted a tearful tweet about the seeming failure of her one-woman show at the Edinburgh fringe.

“There was one person in my audience today,” Georgie Grier tweeted, alongside a selfie of her wiping away tears.

One woman on the stage; one woman in the audience. “It’s fine, isn’t it? It’s fine…?”, Grier added.

Thanks to the random kindness of social media strangers, her show was sold-out 24 hours later after well-known comedians rallied round, saying they’d all been there.

Dara O Briain said he’d bought drinks for his audience “as a thank you for being the only ones there”, while Jason Manford said it was “absolutely normal… for one person to rock up to your show” in Edinburgh.

Perhaps the best response came from the Tory peer and writer Daniel Finkelstein, who said he once went to Norwich to give a speech and, after four hours of travel, two people turned up.

“One of them was the person who invited me,” he was quoted as saying in the Guardian’s report of August 5. “I asked the other person to join the cause I was there to support. He said he would, but it might interfere with the terms of his parole.”

Yes, I like that story, but it did make me wonder.

You know that old philosophical saw about how if a tree falls in the forest, and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound? Well, yes and no is the answer to that, but that’s philosophy for you, I guess.

A blog is just a blog, but does it make a sound in the opinion forest if no-one hears it land? While the world rallies round a young woman actor who cried about the apparent flop of her show on the Fringe, would anyone rally round an ageing blogger who complained about not being noticed as much as would be nice?

Well, I hope not. No-one asks this blogger to blog; no-one insists on hearing what a mostly liberal-minded oldish guy thinks about the way of the world. But I blog all the same, liking the process, enjoying the shepherding of words, savouring the way some black sheep opinions occasionally run up to readers, while others get stuck in a hedge somewhere.

This blog is read by a hardy few. I get monthly statistics, you see. People in the low hundreds favour these meanderings each month, but some of those lovely people will be the same ones.

Some occasionally will be my mother.

Any form of creativity may be done to please the creator, or to appease a nagging need, a making sense of things, or because a day or a week doesn’t feel complete unless you’ve tapped the laptop or picked up pencil or paintbrush. Or done a little of whatever it is that you like or need to do.

For me it’s writing. Blogs and features that are read; novels that were read once and may be read again as you’ve got to have a grain of hope in your bookish soul.

So, yes, do what you do; act what you act; stand-up where you wish to stand; keep writing what you wish. Sometimes you will be noticed and sometimes you will not. It’s all part of  everything. And sometimes the ‘doing’ is enough in a way, even if occasionally it is encouraging to be seen doing whatever it is you do.


No politics today, but have you seen the state of that hulking prison ship moored off the coast of Dorset, all part of the dreadful culture war over migrants, with the government perpetually swearing it will solve a crisis of its own making, and not solving it anyway as it’s more “useful” to use disadvantage people as political pawns in a grubby game.

No politics today, but we are better than that.






  1. Or, perhaps the cynic in me says that this was a fantastic marketing ploy. One that she used last year, too, when she had two people in the audience (her parents) and, seemingly, managed to get loads more bookings after posting about it.
    There’s more to putting on a show than simply turning up and expecting an audience to be there – no matter how good the show might be. It takes time and a lot of effort to build an audience – whether that is for a show or for a blog. Familiarity takes time to develop; a loyal fanbase doesn’t appear overnight.
    I read a postcard in a small independent shop in Scarborough saying that if everyone who popped in to browse simply bought a card for £1, the business would survive. It wasn’t a sob story or a tearful selfie, but it made it made me think of how many other independent shops and food outlets were in the same boat; lots of tiny pieces of support can keep them afloat. And it made me act; I spent significantly more than £1 in the shop, buying their hand-crafted wares.
    The reality is that we need to educate audiences to explore; we will only develop big new talent if we support small new talent, and that’s something we can all do, by reading blogs, by listening to podcasts, by buying tickets to shows that we don’t know too much about, and by spending a quid in an independent shop.

    • Hi Jay. I did wonder about that but decided to walk around. Cowardly perhaps and your point it well made. Thanks for reading and thanks for the follow…

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