Daily News Poem 4 and blog

See, not a good habit to get into, missing a day already.

I did the show- which went well and I relaxed into it more. Greeted the audience instead of walking on to my music theatrical style, added more comedy in.

Had a bit of angst first. All those bits of nicely crafted stand up I’ve taken out. The way I have only just got the story sorted, so haven’t added in spontaneous funny bits.  The dilemma over whether to just do a show of funny and newsy poems, or a crafted live literature show. It would have been easier to do the other show. But I didn’t. Choice made now. And it’s a good show when the balance of comedy and poetry is at it’s most acute. I need to keep an eye on it. Had thought of trying to get a comedy doctor. Then realised I could do it. Complete with bendy stethoscope.


I need several stars

for my career to thrive

yesterday I got two and then three,

hurrah, that makes five!

Daily News Poem 3; in the office

This poem was commissioned by Fest magazine

The Fringe Performer’s first day at work

You’ve got possession of
your new office
for about an hour a day.
People will come and watch you work,
if you’re lucky.
You’re on very variable pay.
Sometimes, when you’re at the office
there are hecklers.
Your parents think this job
means you’re pretty feckless.
In this office there’d be nothing crueller
than no one talking about you
round the water cooler.
You’ve got less than a month
to get that promotion,
no pressure,
If you’re lucky maybe there’ll be
an office romance.
No matter how hard things get
don’t try the David Brent dance

Daily News Poem 2-Bloody

She wears the blood diamond,

walks down the catwalk in a blood line

in front of clapping men wearing blood ties

deposits her fee in the blood bank,

relaxes in the blood bath,

blood pumps in her ears before the jeering starts,

thinks, bloody bleeding hearts,

she wasn’t the diamonds’ rightful owner,

just the victim of a blood donor.


Today I fixated on a man in the audience who I became convinced was fidgeting and from the Daily Telegraph and hated me.

He turned out to be a lovely man from Yorkshire who really enjoyed the show and nearly made me cry by coming up and saying how great it was, whilst I was mid rant about how the nine people in had obviously not liked it because they hardly laughed.

But it did turn out that three of the audience were reviewers. One a comedy reviewer (From Chortle). Since, without as much laughter and audience reaction as yesterday it felt much like a poetry show, so that’s possibly not so good.

I selfishly sought reassurance from whoever crossed my path for the rest of the day; from the lovely Molly Naylor whose poetic and funny show “Whenever I get blown up I think of you” is a personal story, but in the theatre section of the Fringe programme, her producer Sarah Ellis from Apples and Snakes,  from the nice producer at Radio Scotland who’s having me on Tuesday, from Claire from New Writing North, Tess the director, my long suffering husband Alfie, Natascha from the PR company…

I just restrained myself from stopping random people in the street to ask them to reassure me that there’s more to life than reviews.

There’s half glimpsed castle views, the smell of hops, the hopefulness of youth theatre groups dressed as penguins, balloons, baked potatoes on the Royal Mile, making words to give people feelings, old stars, news stars, cobbled streets, the sea…


One show down

My husband is reeling off puns about cows while wearing a “Mr Tea” T shirt, with Mr T in the shape of a teapot.

We were woken at 7 a.m by bagpipe rehearsals up at Edinburgh castle, which is pretty much our next door neighbour. Last night it was the full band. I’m pretty sure they’ll be playing “You Raise Me Up” at the Tattoo, unless they just played it eight times in a row to cheer themselves up.

Our tech man at the Gilded Balloon was a star and I got quite excited about the language of spotlights and blue lights and washes, but then was glad again that my show contains basically nothing technical at all.

Before the show I started worrying about all the things that could go wrong, then it hit me that reviewers will actually be coming and saying things about me, and concluding the worst thing they could say was that I was “chubby”, followed by that the show was crap. Then, in conference, director, producer and husband convinced me the show was good but it was always possible someone wouldn’t like it, I was about to start worrying about that, but then realised I was a bit light headed and dehydrated so went to get a cup of tea. It was the girl’s first day too and she said she didn’t have any milk, was that alright? I thought her not having milk would be like me not having a microphone and walked round the corner to see a Juice bar. I remembered Murray Lachlan Young said to get juice with ginger in it. There was one called “Lifesaver” so I got it.

Glugged it down, my life was saved. Then audience people filed in. 25. Hecky thumps. I was expecting five, all invitees. These included actual people off the street. We’ve hardly flyered yet. Whippee.

Then I did the show. At one point my nose ran a bit. I got very hot under the spotlight. At one point I had no idea what came next. But the audience responded, with laughs and aahs, and what, I could not see in the dark, but apparently was listening.

At the end I was knackered but relieved.

Then started worrying about things again. Then saw how exciting Edinburgh is; Toby Hadoke’s Dr Who show (one night only), a Moomins exhibition, lots of knitted crustaceans, Jenners, the Divine Comedy (but sold out) and so many shows I don’t know where to start.

Somewhere like here…

Boris Bike Poem

start as I mean to go on…there’ll be a new news poem here every day during the festival. I did this for Radio 4’s Saturday Live. Then, “You and Yours” had asked me to try the new rental bikes in London from the perspective of someone coming from outside the city to try them casually. So I went after Saturday Live to Southwark to try one out. Having not been on a bike since I was 19 at Uni, I wobbled precariously as I started off, under the eye of the radio producer, the head of Transport for London, their press office and a man who drove vans for the X Factor. Still, I can report the bikes are chunky, a bit heavy and everyone wants a go at them. Much like their champion…;

Rent a bike

be like Boris,

wind in your hair,

reciting odes from Horace.

Escape jealous lovers

the press,

get fit

reduce stress.

See London’s sights,

beat traffic lights.

Hail Boris well met

don’t forget your helmet.


I expected a audience of six, tops, at Washington Arts Centre last night.

I nearly fainted when it turned out there were 27 people there for my preview. I seem to either pessimistically underestimate or optimistically over estimate my audiences.

The preview was originally going to be more of a dress rehearsal. It’s weird to do stand up comedy without an audience. But it’s weird to do a theatre piece in front of an audience until it’s ready to be seen. You don’t tend to get actors stepping out of a Shakespeare monologue going “Ooh, that bit didn’t work…To be or not to be…perhaps that sounds a bit indecisive”.  The idea had therefore been to try do a hybrid thing in front of sympathetic audiences- but this one turned into a preview because otherwise I would only  be doing one proper pre Edinburgh preview, which seems to be A Bad Thing.

Because Kate Fox News contains stand up and almost theatre, it’s been hard to rehearse. I’ve been working with Tess the director for a few days now and we’ve mainly been rewriting and reshuffling the poems and linking bits to get the story to make sense. Audiences at two early rehearsals wanted to know more about some things I casually mentioned (like my first boyfriend being a gun runner for example) that I had previously dropped into the show and hoped no one would notice too much. I’ve now tried to build up to them a bit more. Even putting them in a blog. Cunning.

This was the first show where I had no script at all, and having just finished rewriting on Thursday there were some bits I completely left out and was kicking myself for afterwards. On the positive side, shifting my news poem to the beginning of the show worked well. I’d just written one that morning for Saturday Live, the Radio 4 show I do topical poems for, about Boris’s bikes in London. It seems easier to say “look, here’s the story of how I became a newspoet” if I start off by showing I actually am one.

Annabel from ARC who’s one of the co producers of the show said I shouldn’t do anything today. Nothing at all. My husband promised her he’d make sure I didn’t and has done excellent work on the bringing me cups of tea and bacon sandwiches and soon Sunday dinner front. We also watched a Thick of It special, which was great,and the start of The Adventures of Benjamin Button, which proved too slow, even for a day on which I’m not doing anything at all.

Apart from setting up this blog. And worrying about the bits I left out last night and how the bit about when I worked in radio news still doesn’t say enough and how I’m up early for a Radio Newcastle interview tomorrow, and then a Radio Tees interview and then the official preview at ARC, never mind doing laundry and packing to spend a month in Edinburgh….arggh! Must continue to being brought foodstuffs and looking forward to the excellent Sherlock Holmes and not thinking for a while about that thing I’m doing for a whole month from Wednesday. What thing? Edin where? And sleep…