(This piece was also published by India’s We Speak News)
Comedian Chris Dangerfield is performing his show Sex Tourist in Swansea tonight.
In yesterday’s blog, he was talking to me over tea and scones at Browns in St Martin’s Lane about a self-inflicted comedy gig from Hell.
His last words were “So, you know about my well-documented drug habit…”
This is what he said next…
“Just before the Edinburgh Fringe this year, I done my back in and they put me on Valium, because it’s a muscle relaxant. Not a good thing to go on. I used to eat 50 of those a day. I should leave all drugs alone. Towards the end of Edinburgh, I realised I was taking Valium for recreational use, not for my back which was absolutely fine. That progressed and carried on into codeine, DF 118, codeine phosphate.
“I’m a drug addict. I get into terrible trouble with drugs and obviously there comes a point where the doctor will not give me the drugs in the quantities I want, so then I have to go on the black market.
“I’m going to a detox centre this weekend because now I can’t sort this out on my own any more. So I’m in real trouble. It’s a very dangerous place for me to be because, if I don’t get it sorted out, I end up sticking needles up my arse because you’ve got capillaries up there and, if you run out of veins like I have, you snap the needle off and you stick the syringe into your anus and the capillaries in your anus will absorb the heroin.
“A well-known television celebrity rang me up the other night with his gun, saying I’m going to kill myself, Chris.”
“With his gun?” I asked, surprised.
“Well, obviously,” said Chris, “he didn’t use his gun to phone me up. That would have been extraordinary. He used a telephone. But he came round my house and I nursed him. Now, me nursing him while I’m out of my head on codeine and Valium and he’s also in real trouble with drugs – it was the most ridiculous night of my life.”
“Was it?” I asked.
“Well, no it wasn’t,” admitted Chris. “Nowhere near, actually… It doesn’t come close… But, since I got clean…
“Suddenly I was right back in all the madness. This is happening again! Since I’ve been having to buy black market drugs, I’ve also been having black market people back in my life again, throwing stones at my window in the middle of the night to get money from me because they want stuff.
“So I know all these insane people again and they want to borrow my phone because they’ve got no credit left. I was standing in Old Compton Street this afternoon and there’s this 24 year old boy standing next to me arranging a load of Valium and Xanax for me – it’s another benzodiazepine, a very strong one.
“He collapses into the road with my phone which skates across Old Compton Street. I have to pick him up and pretend I’m a stranger because, otherwise, I’m blatantly scoring. Though I don’t care who knows that except for the police. And then, when I get my phone back, this other bloke phones me up: I’m going to kill myself again! You gotta help me! I didn’t bury the gun!”
“This is the well-known TV celebrity?” I asked.
“No, this is someone else,” said Chris.
“Bury the gun?” I asked.
“I’d told him You need to get rid of that gun.”
“How had he got the gun?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” replied Chris. “You buy them off people, don’t you? It was a 9mm Beretta. So all this is going on and I’m thinking about coming to talk to you.”
“What was the man with the Beretta doing?” I asked.
“He was worried that he was going to kill himself or someone else – and that’s why this other bloke is on the floor, smashed out of his head on Xanax, trying to get me Xanax on Old Compton Street. So that’s been my day. So if I’m a little bit… confused… that’s… My! But aren’t those scones lovely? Look at that clotted cream!”
“So what about your gig in Swansea this week?” I asked.
“A man I met in a rehab centre years ago,” explained Chris. “Richard Griffiths…”
“Richard Griffiths?” I asked.
“No,” said Chris. “Not that one. Another Richard Griffiths – he’s hilarious, but he’s too scared to do stand-up… He’s created a fan base… Aren’t these scones just amazing? Did you have some of the clotted cream?”
“Yes,” I said. “It was amazing.”
“You didn’t under-do it, did you?” Chris asked me. “Because your doctor told you to?”
“I don’t think I’ve ever talked to him about clotted cream,” I said.
“Fuck your doctor!” said Chris. “You are going to die… If he told you to have less clotted cream, then have more. It’s clotted cream. It’s not heroin… When you write this in your blog, stress that I do not think addiction is funny. It can lead to humour, but ultimately it’s a painful and selfish problem and hurts many people, not only the user.”
“I will remember to include that bit,” I told Chris.
“Richard Griffiths has created a fan base for me in Swansea,” Chris continued. “I used to have videos on YouTube but I took them off because I didn’t want people to see my very old stuff and I’m a very different comic now and, if you want to see me, then pay to see me live on stage. It’s worth paying the money. I’m a better comic live. Most comedy is.”
“So Richard Griffiths has created a fan base for you…” I prompted.
“Yeah, by projecting old YouTube videos in pubs and by inviting people along to see Chris Dangerfield ‘virtual’ gigs in Swansea. So he asked me Will you come down to Swansea and do a gig? and I said Absolutely not – It’s miles and miles away, there’ll be seven people there, you’ve never promoted a gig before and No No No.
“And he said What about if I can guarantee 300 tickets sold at £10 and we go thirds on that, I give a little bit to charity and I pay you in advance? And I said Ye-e-e-es. And he asked Will Trevor Lock come down and be your support act? and I said Yes, so, after charity and things, it works out at about £900 to go and do my Sex Tourist show in Swansea.”
“Sounds good,” I said.
“As far as I know,” Chris told me, “the money went through today and we are driving down to the arse end of Swansea on Friday – I can’t even pronounce it – the Cwmfelin Club in Cwmbwrla – a working men’s club. Usually they have bingo on, but this week they have my Sex Tourist show and they’ve been told I’m the best live performer in Britain at the moment and that I’m going into rehab at the weekend, which they seem to love. Richard said ticket sales went up by 100% when people found out I’m getting de-toxed the day after the gig.”
“It’s good to be big in Swansea,” I said.
“I occasionally get recognised by people,” Chris told me.
“Policemen?” I suggested.
Chris laughed. “In Edinburgh, quite a lot,” he said, “and also very occasionally on Old Compton Street someone will say Are you that comic? And recently, at an Arsenal v Swansea football match, ten blokes in Swansea kit started chanting Dangerfield! Dangerfield! and I thought I’m dead. I am dead. But they came over and said: We know about the girl with the lobster hands. We know about the goat that you painted blue and they were telling me loads of my material which also happens to be my life, which was very, very weird. So I do seem to have a fan base in Swansea.”
“So,” I said, “you go to Swansea on Friday this week, then into rehab at the weekend…”
“Yeah,” said Chris. “I’ve been clean for four-and-a-half years. I had a blip in Thailand, but that was only a couple of days. Now I have problems again and my sponsor is going to detox me because I can’t do it myself. I can’t control the drugs. Give me a week’s worth of narcotics and tell me to Taper yourself down and I will eat them all that night.”
“So you have a sponsor?”
“There are traditions in the Twelve Step Fellowships,” Chris started.
“Sounds like Hobbits on drugs,” I said.
“There are traditions,” Chris continued, “which say I cannot say. Please point out in your blog that this is ridiculous. There are traditions, at the level of press radio and film, that we remain anonymous. The sponsor is one of my… I know him through my…”
“This,” I observed, “is starting to sound more like Fight Club and you are not allowed to talk about it.”
“It’s ridiculous,” said Chris. “I say Tell people! It goes back to the 1950s, when you could lose your job or your social standing if you were an alcoholic and it got out. I don’t give a fuck, as you know. You ask me a question, I’ll tell you the truth.
“Have I put my hand up a dead person’s bum to pull drugs out? Yes I have. It’s not a nice thing. But secrets, I find, separate humans whereas honesty and truth brings humans together.”
“I didn’t actually ask about hands and dead people,” I said, slightly worried.
“But it’s a very good example of me not keeping secrets,” explained Chris. “I’m writing an article for the Huffington Post at the moment. They turned down my second one. It was about not giving a shit about animal brothels in Germany… In Germany, you can go fuck a horse in a brothel… I don’t give a shit. If you want to look at cruelty to animals, have a look at the pet industry.”
“Why do you think they turned that one down?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” said Chris. “They didn’t give me a reason.”