A Life in Lists

spiralbound notebook

I read a grand wee post over at Me, Mine and Other Bits yesterday about making lists.

I have always been a list-maker. When I was very young, and didn’t actually have anything important to write down, I’d just make lists of things like 10 favourite colours, or 20 tastiest foods, or 30 best Premiership footballers.

(I have dozens of notebooks full of that kind of list, which I must dig out one day because I’m sure they’ll give me a chuckle).

But at university, and then at work, list writing started to become more important, and now as a mother and wife it is how I keep on top of EVERYTHING.

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Happy Birthday to Me!

“Happy Birthday to meeee! Happy Birthday to meeee! Happy BIRTHDAY to mee-eee! Happy Birthday to me!”

It’s not a cake and presents kind of birthday – although I did have one of those earlier in the week – but it’s my first ever blog birthday. DorkyMum is 1 year old today.

I find it hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for a whole year. But at the same time I find it hard to believe that it has only been a year. A few days ago, I was asked what I’d change my blog name too if I was starting over again. Honestly, I don’t think I could. DorkyMum is now a huge part of me, and I can’t imagine blogging under any other name.
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Edinburgh Fringe… one week to go.

I’ve just submitted my final review for the Kids Section of Fest. There’s still over a week of the Edinburgh Fringe to go, but the working part of my festival is over. Hurrah!

It has been a very different experience to previous years doing Fest. Last time I took on a section editor role, I was still a student with few responsibilities. I went to all the festival launch parties, stayed until 3am, and flashed my press pass at anyone who looked in my direction. If there was a party I hadn’t been invited to, I had the necessary chat and chutzpah to blag my way in. I survived on a diet of cheap wine, free beer and Boots Meal Deals, and spent most of my time in the office, without any sense of whether it was day or night.

This year I haven’t been into the office at all; I’ve done all my writing and editing from home, either in the evenings or while DorkySon naps. I’ve had no invites, no parties (gatecrashed or otherwise), and I lost my press pass in the Meadows Playpark on day three. I’m still waiting to find out if I can get a babysitter, so I can go to the staff meal on Monday night.

It has been a bit odd, to see a very different side to the festival. But, in truth, it has been the best ever. There have been so many pleasant surprises and fun moments.

Number one surprise was the guys at Fest. How nice it was to have an employer who treated the fact that I have a two year old as a selling point, rather than a hindrance. “Great!” they said. “We’ve never had anyone with a kid write for the kids section before! You’ll bring so much knowledge and experience to the role. We’ll really appreciate your perspective.”

They went on to tell me that I could sort out my own review schedule, and fit my work around DorkySon’s nursery hours. “Don’t worry about showing up to the staff meetings,” they said. “We’ll just give you a call afterwards, at a time that suits, and let you know the important stuff.”

As long as I got the job done, the captains of the good ship Fest didn’t care too much how, when or where I did it. Well hello, rest of the world. It is totally possible to be a family friendly organisation, if you choose to recognise the benefits that can come from employing a mother or father.

The second surprise was that the majority of press officers and PRs had the same attitude (although if you’re asking me for a clear winner, Kelly and the Assembly Team get the DorkySon loveliest attitude award, by a mile). They were happy to arrange interviews around childcare, recommend age-appropriate shows, and take ten minutes out of their busy working days to coo over DorkySon while I got my tickets sorted out. In Edinburgh, this August at least, the age-old stereotype of press officers suffering from collective child-hating stink-eye did not ring true.

There have been plenty other moments worthy of note, but it’s late, and I have to be up to flyer for DorkyDad’s show tomorrow morning, so I’ll do further highlights tomorrow 🙂

Edinburgh Fringe: The Halfway Point

We’re halfway! Or almost. It may be only one week into the Edinburgh Fringe, but on Sunday the third issue of Fest magazine will be sent to the printers, with only two further issues to go… and by Monday afternoon DorkyDad will have done five of his solo spoken word shows, with only four more shows left in the run.

There is plenty fun left to be had, (and hopefully the sun will make an appearance at some point too), but here are some of my highlights (and a couple of lowlights) so far.

Highlight: Fest writer cuts out the middlemen

This made me laugh. We wanted to do an interview with the wonderful Neil Gaiman for the Kids section of Fest. Stevie – the writer who was assigned the job – spent several days trying to track him down – through the Book Festival Press Office, then Neil’s publishers, then his PR, then his PA…  They were all very friendly, but noncommittal because Neil was ‘travelling’. When her calls weren’t returned, she finally resorted to sending him a message on Twitter, and within an hour they’d got a time and venue set up. Seems he was in Edinburgh after all. Props to Stevie for tracking the man down, and props to Neil for responding so positively. You can read the interview here.

Lowlight: Rain

There’s really not a lot to be said about the rain, except that it is ever-present. It makes everything harder – flyering, queuing, getting DorkySon’s pram into any of the outdoor venues, finding somewhere to have lunch – and I hope it goes away soon.

Highlight: I pretend to be John Hegley, briefly

I was lucky enough to spend half an hour interviewing John Hegley, who is also in town with a show. We started chatting about social media, and I mentioned seeing that he’d joined Twitter a few days earlier, and was already up to 2500 followers. “Well yes,” he said. “But a friend set me up and I don’t really know how to use it. There’s something I want to say to all my Twitter followers today though. If I give you my password will you send it out for me?”


So he wrote what he wanted to say in my notebook (and, amazingly, it was exactly 140 characters long….), and then he wrote down his password. And when I came home, I logged into John Hegley’s Twitter account and sent a Tweet on his behalf.

I’m still scratching my head about that one. What an amazingly trusting, lovely man. You can read the interview here.

 Lowlight: Rioting

Okay, so the riots didn’t spread this far North. You can see the full extent of the Edinburgh riots here. (You really should watch that, it’ll make you laugh…) But the city is full of Londoners at this time of year, and it wasn’t much fun for them to sit several hundred miles away, watching the news footage on TV and wondering if they were going to have homes to go back to. Nearly a week on, and most comedians have incorporated something about the rioting into their show, but it still cast a shadow over proceedings for the opening weekend.

Highlight: Fest’s Kid critics cut everyone down to size

‘How cute!’ everyone said. ‘What a nice idea’ they cried. Yes, everyone thought it was a great idea to have children – aged between 5 and 10 – reviewing children’s shows for Fest… until they started to read the submissions.

“I did get bored as it was a bit too long.”

“One of the actors sometimes forgot their lines.”

“I only give the show one star.”

Personally, I think they’re some of the best reviews I’ve ever read of the festival. Completely honest, to the point, and BS free. The kids aren’t self-conscious, they don’t dress things up with long words, and they write for themselves rather than their audience. If there’s any justice, they’ll be back again next year.

Lowlight: Celeb Spotting

I’m not doing very well with this yet. I’ve seen Mark Watson walking up some steps in George Square, and Stewart Lee pushing a pram through the rain in Marchmont. Meanwhile my friends are putting pictures of themselves with John Malkovich up on Facebook. Must do better.

Sorry for the lack of blog posts at the mo. Hopefully that gives you some idea why. Normal service will be resumed in September.