There are many kinds of buzz (lightyear, cola, bunny), but in Edinburgh, the kind that matters is the buzz that gets people to see your show.

The fabled “word of mouth” which may once have been at the heart of Edinburgh success is now largely mythical in terms of forging a hit, but online and even (gasp) directly uttered enthusiasm from punters can, of course, either increase your houses or diminish them. However, when you read in the paper that there has been “buzz” about an act since day one, that buzz has been paid for with cash. Thousands. To a handful of promoters who have unspoken (“wordlessness of mouth”) arrangements to save the press from actual work by telling them who they should devote their attention to. That buzz is the fluttering of insect-like mouth pincers jutting from the faces of life-sucking enterprisers who destroy the Fringe even as they garner appreciation from pathetic acts — big ones, too — by throwing a party and maybe offering a free piece of substandard and undoubtedly farmed crab.

Yes, performer, your sacks of cash can not only buy that most impressive of Edinburgh premiums, the BIG SIGN, it can also buy credibility. Sure, you gotta be good enough or no amount of corruption will make you. But in too many cases, if all you are is good enough, you are, as the religious authorities say … fucked.

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