Life is tweet
Former Dresden Dolls musician Amanda Palmer returns to Edinburgh, but this time she’ll be Twittering every step of the way.
Amanda Palmer, one half of “Brechtian punk cabaret” duo The Dresden Dolls and now an established solo artist, has thrown herself fully into the hurly burly of the Fringe on four previous occasions.
On her last visit, two years ago, she even recorded a track, Leeds United, for her Ben Folds-produced solo album Who Killed Amanda Palmer? while she was still hanging out in the city, recruiting the brass players who had accompanied her gigs at the Spiegeltent, and picking a studio at random out of Yellow Pages.
“My voice is about an octave lower because of all the whisky I consumed at the festival,” she says. “That’s why it sounds so different to the rest of the album.”
This year, she will be staying with her “favourite dentist”. She explains: “one of my first years at the Fringe I met this dentist because he was in the Bongo Club the night I broke my tooth beatboxing – by accident obviously – and he told me to come into his office tomorrow and he fixed my tooth!”
Although she has only one official gig as part of The Edge festival, she plans to stay on with her boyfriend, the esteemed fantasy author and graphic novelist Neil Gaiman, who is appearing at the Book Festival. The couple has produced a book together as a companion piece to her album, and they hope to organise some signings in Edinburgh. If you want to find out more, simply keep an eye on Twitter, Palmer’s favourite new plaything.
This self-styled “undisciplined exhibitionist workaholic” is already a voracious blogger, but Twitter has been a whole new revelation. Rather than share mundane updates of her every move, Palmer has shrewdly exploited the service to announce secret shows and hold court at virtual flash mobs where she has auctioned thousands of dollars of merchandise, raising more cash than she has ever earned through conventional album sales.
“I firmly believe that record sales are a thing of the past,” she says. “What a lot of artists are trying to do right now is figure out how to create a symbiotic relationship with their fans in which the fans want to financially support them and the artist feels like they can trust their fans are going to be holding the net when they jump.
“The thing I keep trying to explain to my musician friends who hate Twitter and think it’s really stupid is that it’s actually one of the most empowering things that’s happened to musicians ever, because it’s giving them an uncluttered, direct line to their fans. It’s the opposite of stupid; it’s very pure. It’s really changing the nature of what it means to be an artist but also what it means to be a fan because the fans are now holding more personal responsibility for the creation of the art.”
All of which is good news for her devotees in Edinburgh, where Palmer plans to play a bunch of impromptu gigs at the drop of a Tweet. “It’s going to be a blast and a half and then some,” she predicts.
Amanda Palmer Studio 24 22 August 7.00pm £12.50 0844 499 9990