Last night, I saw last year’s award-winner, Becky Fury, preview her upcoming Edinburgh Fringe show at Kate Copstick’s Mama Biashara emporium in London.
Becky has been having a run of bad luck.
About a week ago, in the course of one day, she lost both her Edinburgh Fringe venue and her Edinburgh accommodation. And, when I saw her last night, she had just finished a 24-hour ban by Facebook. She remains unbowed, though, and has plans for making money in wrestling.
Everything was settled for her Edinburgh Fringe show Molotov Cocktail Party – including her paying the exorbitant fee to be listed in the Edinburgh Fringe Programme. She was due to perform at the exotically-named Bar Bados Complex which, apparently, is the new name for the Cowgatehead building, a legendarily cursed comedy venue at the Fringe.
But, around a week ago, well after the Fringe Programme was published, the Fire Brigade refused to allow two rooms in the venue to be used for performance and Becky was moved to another new venue in a different location though mercifully at the same time – 10.45pm – 6th-26th August. The new venue, the Black Market, beside Waverley Station, was still being built when last heard-of.
Simultaneous with her venue loss, she lost her free accommodation in Edinburgh but was able to get some temporary accommodation for the first few days of the Fringe.
It never rains but it pours.
Particularly in Edinburgh.
“And,” I said to her last night, you have just been banned from Facebook for 24 hours. How did you manage that?”
“Two jokes I wrote,” she explained, “included the word ‘Paki’. So I am on my third warning from Facebook. If I say anything else that ‘does not adhere to Facebook community standards’, the Facebook Thought Police will come, detain me, detonate my profile and ‘disappear’ me.”
“What were the objectionable jokes on your Facebook page?” I asked.
“The first joke was about genuinely meeting a racist at a train station who was talking about the three ‘P’s – Poles, Pakis and Paddies.”
“So,” I checked, “what got you into trouble was the reported speech of another person which happened in a real situation?”
“Yes. The joke was that I said I agreed with ‘no platforming’ so I pushed him off the platform under a train. That was the joke.”
“So,” I checked again, “Facebook had no objection to you saying you pushed a man under a train but they did object to the fact that, in objecting to his racism, you quoted him using the word ‘Paki’?”
“Yes,” said Becky. “That got me a ‘First Warning’. This second time, I got banned for 24 hours because there was a discussion around Daniel Kitson’s use of the word ‘Paki’ in his show and I don’t like the other politically correct words like PoC or BAME so I suggested we might compromise and use the word Poci instead. I was agreeing with the idea of political correctness but I got banned because, again, the word ‘Paki’ was in there.”
“So what’s next after Edinburgh?” I asked.
“Wrestling,” she replied.
“Wrestling what?” I asked.
“Probably existential questions.”
“Fury is a good name for a wrestler,” I said.
“I’m not sure,” she replied, “if it’s a good idea for my actual, real name to go up on the internet and be immortalised as a sexy wrestler. So I am going to be Minerva, the goddess of war.”
“What sort of wrestling?” I asked.
“I’m going to be a sexy wrestler…a bikini wrestler.”
“In front of crowds in stadia?”
“No. Mostly one-on-one.”
“Wrestling men or women?” I asked.
“I don’t mind. It’s obviously mainly men, because they are…”
“Stupid?” I suggested.
“Stupid perverts,” Becky laughed. “Yeah.”
“Define one-to-one wrestling,” I said.
“It’s wrestling with a guy – usually a guy – for money. That makes it sound like marriage, I suppose. But you basically play-fight with them for an hour and they pay you for it and you wear a bikini.”
“What do they wear?” I asked.
“Usually a teeshirt and a pair of shorts. Them wearing clothes is a pre-requisite. You are alone in the room with them. They could just attack you in that situation and fuck you. But there is always someone else in the building.”
“How much?” I asked.
“£150 a session. There’s about three different centres in London do it.”
“If it’s wrestling,” I said, “it’s a competition. Someone must win.”
“Usually the woman wins,” said Becky. “As always in Life.”
“This is not really wrestling,” I suggested. “It’s hugging and stroking.”
“There’s no fondling going on,” replied Becky. “It’s sensual, semi-competitive wrestling.”
“Where does the ‘semi’ come into it?” I asked.
“I don’t want to think about that.”
“Why do they pay to do it?” I asked.
“I think part of what’s going on is that these guys are submissive, so they normally have a control issue in their life. They are normally guys who are in control, maybe OCD, very obsessive-compulsive. What they like is that, in the ring, they have to maintain control over their own lustful desires while you are asserting yourself over them. So it’s like very, very light BDSM.”
“It’s in a wrestling ring?” I asked.
“Why have a proper ring?”
“It’s the theatricality of it. Makes it more fun.”
“With most theatrical experiences, there’s a build-up, development and a climax,” I prompted.
“There’s no happy endings,” said Becky. “It’s about maintaining a level of eroticism.”
“You seem to know a lot about it.”
“I did it for a couple of months a few years ago, but I’m a lot stronger now. I’ve been doing loads of yoga and going to the gym. If you’re not strong enough, they don’t want to wrestle you. They don’t put up a great deal of resistance, but you do need to give them a proper fight. The women fighting women are really going for it, though. You really have to fight, until you get your arm ripped off by some psychotic Ukrainian.”
“Women fighting women?” I asked.
“If you just want to go and watch girls wrestle each other competitively,” said Becky, “that goes on for a few hours, so that might cost £70 for a ticket.”
“Are you going to do that as well?”
“Yeah. But they tend to be really hardcore Eastern European women, much more interested in beating-up other women for money than I am. It’s the women that I’m scared-of, not the men. I may get my arse kicked by some big fuck-off scary Russian female shot-putter. The men are little, weedy, runt-boy men.”
“When you were involved in it before, how old were the men?”
“Generally in their 40s.”
“Is it a fetish?”
“It’s just something people want to pay for. People pay for all sorts of nonsense. One time, I did a filming session. The guy was wearing a Santa Claus hat with a little white ball dangling on it and the woman was riding around on his back half the time. At the end, she got the hat and shoved it into his mouth and, when he took it out, he told us: I’ll be wearing this for Christmas dinner when I go and visit my family. People have got all sorts of really bizarre fantasies and, if they want to spend money realising them, they can.”
“What was Father Christmas wearing apart from his hat?”
“Shorts and a teeshirt.”
“What is the attraction to you?”
“So, basically, these people are like the Medicis to your struggling artist? Supporting the Arts with their cash.”
“Exactly. Because I can’t be bothered to fill-out Arts Council grant forms…” She paused. “I don’t know how this blog will come out. I don’t want to sound like a whore.”
“Would I do that to you?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
“No,” I tried to reassure her. “You will come out as a lover of eccentricity. A worthy Malcolm Hardee Award winner.”
“Well,” she said, “it’s just more fun than working in McDonalds, isn’t it?… And also you get to kick men in the testicles and not get sacked… again.”
“Will you be wrestling up in Edinburgh?” I asked.
“If anyone wants to wrestle me in Edinburgh,” she said, “it will be £200 – or mates’ rates, which will be £250.”
Becky also appeared in this 2016 music video…