For many years, a good review in The Scotsman was what every aspiring stand-up hoped for. For the smaller show it was a huge fillip when a real newspaper, with a wide-ranging interest in the Fringe and a respected team of reviewers, might just deem your show worth seeing.
Today The Scotsman has let its influence slip, no doubt as the result of men in grey suits reorganising the media group. Last year the paper’s reviews website still existed but was almost impossible to navigate. Today if you Google “Scotsman reviews” you’ll end up at the Edinburgh Evening News site. Special people, who can read the mind of editor Ian Stewart, know they should go to edinburgh-fetivals.com to read the reviews. Don’t click on any of the internal links once you’re there, though; these will just download weird shit to your computer and throw up ‘internal server error’ messages. Oh, and the name of the site at edinburgh-festivals.com is “wow24/7” for some reason that will never, ever be explained. A ‘content by date’ function is particularly unhelpful because mostly we’re trying to select, um, August, and the bastard thing doesn’t often work.
The whole thing is such an astonishing clusterfuck of incompetence it makes the trams look good.
Kate Copstick, equally revered and reviled, was always the heart of the Scotsman review team. Today she has reinvented herself as the kindly shepherdess of the Lesser Fringe, leaving the Scotsman floundering in IT hell while not entirely sure what its Fringe role is. It will take the public a while to realise that The Scotsman isn’t really a newspaper anymore. It’s read by about 11 people, all of them civil servants. Until they do it’s still great to have a four or five star review from them, so why not just SAY you have? The newspaper’s review archive is so irreprievably fucked up that nobody will ever have the patience or tenacity to prove otherwise.