5 Minutes with Gemma Cairney

When we heard that the lovely Gemma Cairney (off of BBC Radio 1, the telly, and generally being fabulously but effortlessly stylish at all times) wwas producing a show for the Edinburgh Fringe, we knew it was going to be a good one. We caught up with Gemma to find out a bit more about it and her plans for when she’s in town!

Hi Gemma! Welcome to Edinburgh! You’ve produced a show for the Edinburgh Festival called “My Beautiful Black Dog’ – could you tell us a little bit about it?

MBBD, is a mish mash of a theatre and gig experience. A musical about depression, yet filled with glitter, hope and punk poetry. One of my best friend’s Brigitte Aphrodite, wrote it a little while ago, she’s performs it too, with her boyfriend (also one of my oldest friends) and musical director – Quiet Boy. As soon as I saw a ‘sharing’ (just developed version) of it, I wanted to help let the world see it. I’d just started my production company ‘Boom Shakalaka Productions’ so asked if I could come on board and exec produce. It still makes me laugh and cry so hard, it’s one of the most beautiful odes to both love and fragility of our minds I’ve ever seen. Please go see it for yourself and let me know what you think! It’s only a 10 day run, so hurry! https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/my-beautiful-black-dog

Sounds wonderful and we’ll definitely be heading along. Is this your first time at the Edinburgh Festival?

I’ve been going on and off for zonks. I was 19 the first time I went, I was given the role of producer on a show called ‘Monkey Think, Monkey Do’, all my friends were in the show, but I wasn’t a good enough actor to make the cut. I operated the lighting, flyered my hands off and convinced myself Iron Bru was the cure to the mightiest of hangovers. I went again a couple of years later to present a music show, for a pop-up radio station called ‘Festival FM’ that used to run from the Gilded Balloon. I was on 10pm-midnight every night & loved it so much. Though I was naughty, invited all my friends to stay in my shared (Festival FMer’s-ONLY) accommodation, so they kicked me out, but said I could continue to present my show, just had to find somewhere else to sleep. I ended up at my friend’s flat in Leith, had no money for travel or food and walked home every night where I’d have some beans for my dinner.

Oh no! Never a good sign when everything you’re consuming is orange. Where are your favourite hang-outs in Edinburgh?

Both Armstrong’s vintage stores are ace. Scottish vintage is better! Capes, kilts and coats spring to mind as some of my most favourite buys over the years. Hula juice bar, kicks ya into shape if you’re feeling a little flattened by the fun. (Plus these days, I feel a green juice may be more beneficial than an Iron Bru). I’ve loved the Brass Monkey for so many years, I remember discovering and being so delight inked about a bar that was also a bed. The dream.

The ACTUAL dream, Brass Monkey is one of our favourites too although we try not to thing about how often they change their sheets. When you’re not crazy busy producing your own show, will you be going to any others during the festival?

YES! I’m gonna run round like a spinning top and cram in as much as possible. I will definitely be going to see Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn in ‘Fake It Till You Make It’ another piece about depression, but from a completely different perspective. It’s beautiful, I saw the ‘sharing’ in London quite a bit a ago and it stunned me, as Bryony’s work never fails to do. She’s an outright genius. I will also be going to see the incredible Jessie Cave in her, one woman, show ‘I Loved Her’ which is a stage version of her illustrations (which I’m obsessed with) – she’s amazing. Plus Aisling Bea’s stand up ‘Plan Bea’ & ‘Le Gateau Chocolat: Black‘, a cabaret, theatre piece I’ve been hearing immense things about. WAH. So much to do.

Thanks for the tips, will definitely be checking these out. Jessie Cave is a genius! On a different note, we’d like to apologise in advance on behalf of Scotland for the weather which will inevitably be dismal. What will you be wearing to cope with the Edinburgh ‘Summer’?

I buzz off the changeable skies. I’ve had an intense love affair with beret’s this year, so will be slapping some on my bonce. I’ve actually had some ‘MBBD’ covered berets made up, so will be able to promote the show at the same time! Plus I’d be lying if I didn’t say a Karen Mabon gigantic magic scarf is always near. I truly love them, so soft and snuggly and emblazoned with fun.

Ahh thanks Gemma! And finally, you are our scarf-tying guru! What is your favourite way to wear a scarf?

Wrapped right around my head, I just wish I could get the wrap as big as my ‘scarf-tying guru’ the one and only Erykah Badu!

Gemma, it’s been an absolute pleasure to chat – we are delighted to have you here this year. Good luck with the final preparations for the show! My Beautiful Black Dog runs from the 6th until the 16th of August at the Underbelly in Edinburgh. Not to be missed!


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