In this series of brief interviews, cruise ship worker, wannabe performer and celebrity stalker Lance talks about fame with the boldest and brightest names at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Lance also hosts his un-famous chat show “Late with Lance!” every day at 2:30pm at the Counting House. Fame may cost, but the show and this blog are free. www.LanceShow.com
Hi everybody! My name’s Lance. What’s yours? I got to talk about fame with Mark Fisher, who wrote the book that taught me how to survive the Edinburgh Fringe. Here’s how it went down…
Lance: Hello, novelist Mark Fisher! Your Edinburger Fringe survival book is so helpful. I hear there are plans to turn it into a movie!
Mark Fisher: Yeah. There are a few people interested; Benedict Cumberbatch, Joanna Lumley …
Keep in mind that Cumberbatch will attend the opening of an envelope, so you’re in good company. So, first off, is Mark Fisher your real name?
My middle name is Cumberbatch.
Okay. When did you first realize you were famous?
When you told me. Actually in my job, I often come into contact with other people who are famous and that’s really quite interesting to see. I’ve hung out with Alan Cumming for example …
Oops, you dropped something there…
(laughs) You realize that the level of attention in the room is all directed at that person and how psychologically difficult it must be for that person to just continue to exist in the world without thinking that everyone is looking at them all the time. Because, everybody IS looking at them all the time. What’s really impressive is how gracious most of those people are when someone comes up to them and asks for a signature or photograph. Generally they say yes, even when sometimes it’s been quite inconvenient and must be very tedious for them.
How would you feel with all that attention on you?
I think there’s a little bit of a performer in me. The level of fame that I quite like is if I do a public discussion – or for example in the Edinburgh Book Festival this year, me and Joyce McMillan are doing a double-act…
Never heard of her. How does someone become famous at the Edinburger Fringe Festival?
With a lot of patience and hard work and actually a huge degree of luck, I suppose.
So, talent isn’t a part of the mix. OK. Moving on…have you ever seen the movie Fame?
Yes, but I haven’t seen it recently.
It’s the same movie as it was when it came out in 1980.
But, my brain isn’t the same as it was in 1980. Isn’t there a fantastic line in the film that rhymes “The Lion in Winter with Harold Pinter” or something like that.
I think you’re thinking about Coco Hernandez’s line “The darker the berry, the sweeter the juice.” Hey, Mark, who is the most famous person you know?
Sometimes you think you know them and then you discover that actually they seem to have forgotten who you are.
I totally get that. OK. What advice would you give to me about becoming famous?
Well, obviously we’ve ruled out talent. I think sleep with as many people as you can. Schmooze as many people as you can. And get drunk with as many people as you can.
Everybody says that same thing.
I’m sorry to be so predictable.
Actually, it’s an affirmation! Mark, we have to wrap this up. I have no idea when your next book will be out or what it will even be about, but I wish you the best of luck on your success!
Mark Fisher is a theatre critic, editor, freelance journalist and author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide &How to Write About Theatre Follow. Mark on Twitter at @ writeabouttheat and @MarkFFisher. And get his books here http://www.howtowriteabouttheatre.com