Not a fan of fans

Last weekend I went to see Stewart Lee, one of my favorite stand up comedians. His show is called If You Prefer a Milder Comedian, Please Ask for One. I highly recommend you go and see it. He is preparing to take his show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and is currently performing warm-up gigs around London.

I saw him at Belushi’s on Borough High St., which is not a high class venue. The room was five meters squared. No windows. No ventilation. Fifty people crammed inside. It got very hot very quickly.

A small hot room is not all bad.

However the emcee attempted to tackle the problem using a small desk fan. In the far corner of the room. On the floor. He wasted the first few minutes of the set fiddling with the settings.

For any of you are planning on hosting an event/workshop/gig, I implore you, don’t bother with desk fans. They are worse than useless:

1. They make no difference to the ambient temperature of the room. Fans work by speeding up the circulation of air. The faster air passes over your skin, the more your sweat evaporates and the faster you cool down. A small fan in the corner of the room will only affect the person sitting directly in-front of it. To get any real benefit you need a large ceiling fan.

2. They make noise. A dull monotonus hum. Which is really annoying.

3. They blow your notes around. Bridget Christie, the second comedian of the evening (and Stewart Lee’s wife), was using loose leaf A4 notes which got blown out of order during her set.

When Stewart Lee came on stage the first thing he did was tell the emcee to turn the fan off. He even made a joke about it. “This is exactly how I intend to start off every show, have a man come up on stage and mess around with machinery.”

Without buying an air conditioner there is nothing you can do to make a room like this more comfortable. If you’re speaking in a hot room, just get on with it. And try and get a better venue next time.

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One Comment

  1. Andrew
    Posted July 23, 2009 at 1:22 pm | Permalink


    Quick, a fan fell on our baby

One Trackback

  1. By Effective use of Notes | The Naked Speaker on August 24, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    [...] If you are using several sheets they may get shuffled out of order, either by mistake or by the ventilation in the room. Holding paper will restrict gestures and eye contact and nervous shaking may be exaggerated. You [...]

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