My chum Mr Methane from Macclesfield knows how to cause a stink. He is, after all, the world’s only professional performing farter.
But he is also a true patriot and says he wants to capture the British nation’s nostalgic mood in this glorious Diamond Jubilee year with his unique rendition of God Save the Queen on what he calls his bottom bugle. His press release starts:
I’ve spent most of my life looking back, so I think I know a thing or two about nostalgia. Over the last sixty years of Her Majesty’s reign, the wind of change has blown through Britain and all its pink bits on the map. My latest release celebrates this.
When Her Majesty first sat on the throne, it coincided with Edmund Hillary conquering the heights of Mount Everest. I cannot compete with that, but I hope my Royal Fanfare will reach new heights of memorability.
It may well do. The ringtone was released yesterday morning, but he has already received 19 e-mails complaining about it. He is unrepentant.
“Perhaps it sounds like me blowing my own trumpet,” Mr Methane told me in the early hours of this morning, “but I think my long experience means I’m uniquely placed to put the ring into ringtone.”
“You are a smooth-tongued wordsmith,” I told him. “But how did you come up with the idea?”
“Well,” he told me, “Originally, I decided to release an iTunes album of various national anthems. But then I realised it’s the Big One this year for Her Majesty. I remembered the Silver Jubilee of 1977 and what fun it was. And then I saw TV news reports of Gary Barlow doing his bit fixing up a concert for this year’s Diamond Jubilee and thought, I’ll release my own very special gift to Her Majesty – a Diamond Jubilee ringtone – with the emphasis on the ring. One that’s slightly more anarchic and in the spirit of 1977 and the Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen than all this current corporate X-Factor-type, pass-me-the-sick bucket, arse-kissing stuff.
“And yet,” he continued, “it’s actually totally harmless and all in good fun. It’s a very British thing. It’s something we all do. Even Prince Philip… though I suspect he blames it on the Corgis. My ringtone illustrates in just a few short seconds the unique relationship between the British monarch and her people – I mean, John, you really wouldn’t get away with this sort of thing in North Korea.
“I realise some folks,” Mr Methane admitted, “may just see me as one of the many children of Margaret Thatcher and her Thatcherite revolution… just using my dubious talents by jumping on every opportunity to make a few quid. But no, no… How could anyone really think that of me, John? People are so cynical nowadays. I am a patriot.”
“Indeed,” I agreed. “Anything else coming up?”
“I have just been approached to appear on France Has Got Talent (La France a un incroyable talent) possibly because, as you know, last year I got through to the semi-finals of Germany’s Got Talent (Der Supertalent). Then, later this year, I’ll be following up the release of my God Save The Queen ringtone with a full album of various fully-farted national anthems… Australia, America, Italy, Germany, France, Sweden and others.”
“Are the British more or less appreciative of the art of flatulism than other places?” I asked.
“I think farting divides the British nation,” Mr Methane replied, “but not in the way you might think. The key to the UK is that, as a whole, we are a tolerant, polite and slightly oppressed nation with a class system that’s still intact and flatulism really takes off in that sort of an environment. The upper class gentry actually like a good fart performance more than the working classes but the middle classes, as a rule, hate it.”
“Will you be sending a complimentary copy of the ringtone to Her Majesty?” I asked.
“If she requested one, of course, I would send her the full blown-version as well as the shortened ringtone version. But, somehow, I suspect any request from the Palace is more likely to come from Prince Philip than from Her Majesty herself.”
“Why a ringtone and not a single?” I asked.
“A whim. But the downside is you have to find it yourself on iTunes. It has no direct link. I can’t link to it from my website and you can only access it from a mobile phone, not from a computer – You just go to iTunes and search for ‘mr methane ringtone’. It’s only 99p.”
“I smell commercial success,” I told Mr Methane.
“It’s good to be British,” he said. “I look on it as a very British thing.”