ED2014 Columns ED2014 Comedy

Jim Campbell: The do’s and don’ts of Fringe flat sharing

By | Published on Sunday 17 August 2014

Jim Campbell knows a thing or two about personal space. Well, it’s what he called his Fringe show, that is for certain.

Jim Campbell

But what about your personal space at the Festival? If budgets have forced you to accept a Festival flat share that violates at least seven housing codes, Campbell has some tips for surviving.

One of the biggest Edinburgh Fringe expenses for performers is accommodation. To save money, many cram themselves into flats that are supposed to contain three students rather than three stand-ups, a sketch group, two techs and a clown.

The Festival is simultaneously life-affirming and an emotional slog through your own sense of self worth. Personal space is at a premium. It will get to you. If you are in a situation like this, then these tips should help to keep you from killing someone.


Clean up after yourself: This sounds basic – I presume you do this at home – but basics go out of the window at the Fringe because you’re always busy. Wash up. Nobody wants to pick your gross, wet pasta out of the sink hole and wash up after you, just so they have something to eat off themselves – you absolute disgrace.

Schedules permitting, eat together: This little bit of normality helps to keep you grounded. The scale of the operation will make it feel like you’re having a medieval banquet every day and this is good for morale.

Shut up: Talking about yourself is great because you’re obviously brilliant – I know I am – but other people will get bored before you do (idiots). Let them talk about themselves too. Alternatively talk about something else, like actual friends might.

Build a fort with your flyers: Obviously.

Have a party on your last night: You’ve made it through alive, made new friends and grown as a person, so why not? Life is for living and you’ve earned it!


Make a stringent cleaning rota: Everyone needs to do their fair share, but rotas are no fun. You can’t spell “fun” by forcing “bureaucracy” into it. That’s “fbureaucracyn” and it means nothing.

Have friends visit: They’ll expect you to act as host and you don’t have time because you’re at work for a month. They’ll think you’ve gone all big time just because you don’t have time to see them… because you’re schmoozing industry people, so you can attempt to go big time.

Bully anyone: Someone in the house is maybe annoying for some reason. Maybe they keep interrupting you when you’re telling them how well your show went, or they keep using your flyers to build a fort. Don’t gang up on them. Be nice. ‘Lord Of The Flies’ has a place and it’s student theatre… not your house.

Forget to enjoy it: Yes it can be an endurance test but what would you rather be doing? Working in Asda? I worked in Asda and it was rubbish. Remember how lucky you are to be here.

Have a party on your last night: OH GOD. There’s so much to clean, you haven’t packed and you have to be at Waverley Station in twenty minutes because you booked an appallingly early train to save money. Something has got to give. It will be your deposit.

‘Jim Campbell: Personal Space’ was performed at Underbelly Bristo Square at Edinburgh Festival 2014.

Photo: Steve Ullathorne