Comedy blog

Sisters: Edinburgh Fringe 2018 interview

sisters edinburgh fringe

Hello. How are you today?

It’s still the morning and we’ve had some coffees so currently feeling pretty positive. The mountain that is our Fringe script feels nice and climbable. Don’t have high hopes for the afternoon.

At this stage, how closely does your programme blurb match the content of your show?

Our programme blurb states that we are putting the audience in control of our second show, which is currently the truth. Our second show is the launch of our own Sisters: On Demand service, and we’re offering the audience the choice of which sketches they see and it what order.

Who are you sharing a flat with and how will you help each other survive the month?

This year we’re living with stand up comedian, Ben Pope, and two university students who are welcome in advance for the torrential punchlines that are going to shake that flat to its very foundations.

Any shows you’re excited about seeing?

The Pin, Jordan Brookes, Ben Pope, Lazy Susan, Beard, Sheeps, Mr Swallow, Moon…

Other than the great shows, what else are you looking forward to about your trip to Edinburgh this year?

All the great Q&A’s.

The Fringe’s tagline this year is ‘Into The Unknown’. What do people not know about you?

We were called Uncle Grandpa for about an hour before we changed it to Sisters after a short Google revealed that ‘Uncle Grandpa’ was a slated comedy show on Comedy Central. Glad we could pick another family name though.

I’m bored of all the podcasts I currently subscribe to. Can you recommend me a good one please?

Currently developing an ASMR podcast where we whisper-commentate on the most savage boxing matches we can find.

Here’s a space to write about anything you want. Go for it.

I once poured blood and sweat into a history essay that never got marked. Mr Markham, if you’re reading this then here is another opportunity to actually mark it this time:

On the 18th of January, 1871, Bismarck proclaimed the German Empire in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. Germany had been unified be Prussia, under its prime minister Otto von Bismarck. The unification involved three wars and, it has been claimed, was not created by a desire for nationalism but a struggle to determine Prussian dominance within the German states. Up until World War II, it was widely accepted that Bismarck alone was responsible for unification. However, modern historians agree that Bismarck did not begin unification from nothing and have identified other factors influencing unification and the spread of nationalist ideas from 1815. These historians argue that if it weren’t for factors such as the Zollverien, cultural and political nationalism and the Strength of Prussia and decline of Austria, Bismarck would not have been nearly as successful.

Before Bismarck burst onto the political scene in 1862, it is clear to see that the foundations for unification were already laid, this is shown in the economic strength of Prussia prior to 1871. The Zollverien was and important factor as it brought many German states together economically and excluded Austria. Prussia had gained valuable land in the west in 1815. this land provided her with valuable coal and iron resources. Prussia became quite rich due to trade with other countries and many of the smaller states realised that they could benefit from trade with each other. Trade between states was very difficult so to encourage trade, Prussia established a customs union in 1818. Member states would not have to pay taxes as goods were transported from one state to another. By 1836, this union was called the Zollverien and had 25 member states, equating to around 26 million people. As trade increased, ideas spread and the states realised that they benefited from closer contact with each other. The economy was developed further due to the introduction of a banking system and the growth of the steel industry. Economy also boomed due to regular artillery orders from Von Moltke’s army. In addition to creating an economic, free-trade area, the Zollverien also introduced a single currency, thus stimulating economic growth. The Zollverien was very important to later unification as it brought many states together as one economic unit and excluded Austria. It also increased Prussia’s power and influence over the states. Most historians agree that the Zollverien aided hugely in the moved towards unification in Germany. William Carr described the Zollverien as “the mighty lever of unification”. While Prussia was enjoying all this success, Austria was weakening, she had been excluded from the Zollverien all together and failed when she attempted to set up her own customs union. Prussia, therefore became the economic leader of the states. The tremendous impact of economic unity can not be ignored whilst giving an accurate picture of factors influencing German nationalism and in this was, it is unfair to give Bismarck all the credit for uniting the states.

In 1815, the year of Bismarck’s birth, many German composers and writers were involved in what can be known as the Romantic Movement. During this time, writers such as the brothers Grimm collected folk tales from all over the German states and published them, they believed to create the future of German, they would have to look on Germany’s past. By making the tales available to all Germans, ideas spread this brought the states closer together. The view that the German states should join together was expressed in books, newspapers and magazines. One place where these views really caught on was in the universities. Speakers such as Ardnt and Jahn talked of a united Germany. Student societies were set up and the students were encouraged to talk about new ideas such as Liberalism and Nationalism. Many felt that there should be freedom to express opinions and speak and write freely. They also thought more educated classes should have a say in parliament. Many criticised Metternich’s power over Austria and influence over the states. As these views spread, Prince Metternich became very worried. He thought that if these ideas were allowed to spread further, Austria’s power would be threatened. The result of his concern was the Karlsbad decrees of 1819. these decrees banned student societies and many university proffessors were fired from their posts. Historians say that it is clear to see Metternich overreacted and that the spread of cultural nationalism was largely confined to the universities and the educated middle and upper classes. Many educated Germanys talked and Wrote about unification and romanticised an idea, few had any clear idea of what should be done to achieve it. Cultural nationalism was brought about by the universities, German writers, thinkers and poets. Bismark had nothing to do with the Romantic period and, in his early life was adamantly opposed to the idea of German unity. Although it is logically argued that there is no way cultural nationalism would have brought about unification alone, perhaps, if the spirit of nationalism was not already circulating, Bismarck would have had a far harder job.

Political factors were crucial in aiding the unification of Germany in the years leading up to 1871. Primarily, the Napoleonic Wars highlighted the weakness and division of many fragmented states as opposed to one single unit, and so, in the interest of security, unification became supported by many. Historian David Thompson wrote, “the French … spread Liberalism by intention but created nationalism by inadvertence” by this, he meant that the French intended to spread new ideas, like having a parliament elected by the people of a country. However, by defeating and occupying the German states, the French united Germany in a common feeling of resentment against them. Additionally, the Vienna settlement of 1815 which ended the war redrew the borderlines of Europe resulting in the 400 German states being reduced to just 39. These states made up the Bund, of German confederation. The reduction in number made co-operation and co-ordination far easier, bringing the states closer together and encouraging nationalist feeling. For many years, there has been historical debate over the significance of the creation of the Bund; some historians, AJP Taylor for example, take the view that the Bund was of little importance as it was under permanent Austrian control and as Austria was extremely anti-unification, would block any moves towards unification. Other historians, Fullbrook and Waller disagree with Taylor’s opinion as Prussia’s population was doubled due to territorial gains therefore increasing her power. Undoubtedly, most would agree that eit gave the German states a taste for unification in the very format it followed, even if, it was more of a means to perpetuate the divisions of Germany. After the revolutions of 1848, the Frankfurt diet was set up and was a further development which aided unification. Despite failing after a short period of time, it did set the climate for future development and gave middle classes a sample of a united Germany. Political factors were very important as they improved relationships between the states and made co-operation and co-ordination easier. Bismarck was able to build on these relations later when it came to uniting the South German States and the North German States.

Sisters: On Demand
Pleasance Courtyard
1-26 Aug, 8.15pm

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