Comedian Bob Slayer swooped on by armed response police unit in London

Critic Nick Awde (left) and Bob Slayer (with spoon) yesterday

Yesterday, I had a meal with comedian Bob Slayer and Nick Awde, theatre critic and feature writer for theatrical trade paper The Stage and head of their Edinburgh Festival reviewing team.

In my blog yesterday, I mentioned that I had intended the previous night to go to the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society gig at the Lion pub in King’s Cross… but I got distracted talking to Comedy Cafe owner Noel Faulkner and stayed to see a show at his venue instead.

It turned out that, unknown to me, Bob Slayer had been performing at the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society show.

“I felt a bit old during that gig,” he told me yesterday. “They were a young audience, but it went down well. So I felt Oh! I’m not too old for this after all!

“After the show, outside in the street at King’s Cross, these youngsters are going We liked you! and somebody asked me why I had a guitar case when I hadn’t played a guitar in my act and I told them I have long props.

“He said Can I see one of your long props?

“So I got out my extendable fishing rod, which has a stuffed rubber glove on the end, and these youngsters are laughing at my hand. Just then some pedestrians were crossing the road and I went Woooh! and cast my fishing rod so the hand shot out, as if to grab them.

“The oncoming traffic was a little way away but, as soon as I did it, I saw the lead car was a police Land Rover type thing which immediately pulled over while I’m winding my fishing rod back in and it was an Armed Response Unit. I had a big stuffed hand on my fishing rod and they had their arms.

“A policeman who was much younger than me came over and just looked me up and down. All he said was How old are you? very disparagingly. I told him and said Sorree! and they drove off.

“Did you see how big his weapon was?” I asked.

“I think the kids saw it, but we wasn’t waving it about. I don’t think they sit around in their cars holding big Dirty Harry guns and Kalashnikovs,” said Bob.

“How old are you?” asked Nick Awde.

“Older than that policemen,” said Bob evasively. “When I told him my age, he went very polite and said Oh, very sorry to trouble you, sir.

“He said that?” I asked.

“No,” laughed Bob. “If anything, he looked down on me even more.”

“Did you call him a Pleb?” asked Nick.

“No,” said Bob, “I didn’t call him a Pleb because I don’t think he was, really. He was a dickhead but he was not a Pleb.”

“I remember when the IRA set off a bomb near the NatWest Tower and the Stock Exchange,” said Nick, “I went down with a friend because it was very symbolic and we were like knee-deep in glass and debris, picking our way through it. And we started picking up pieces of glass on the grounds that was a piece of London history. It would eventually be found by archaeologists one day, but we thought we’d find it immediately and take it off to the Museum of London.

“So this policeman comes over and says What are you doing?

“And we say: We’re just picking up this stuff.

“And he says: How old are you? so obviously that’s an opening gambit they have.

Is it illegal? we asked him and he said No so we said Fine and carried on picking up things and he walked off.”

“How illegal can it be to use a fishing rod in King’s Cross?” asked Bob. “As soon as they say How old are you? maybe you should say Fuck you, rozzer! and there’s nothing they can do about it. Well, probably they can arrest you for saying Fuck you, rozzer!

“I did know a barrister,” said Nick,” who swore blind – and other people have said this before – that, if you do get nicked, the police always have to take down exactly what you say in their notes, so you should say: Alright, guv. It’s a fair cop, guv, and no mistake and then, in court, you get your barrister to ask the policeman And what did my client say to you when you arrested him?

“The Plod has to go to his notebook and say Alright, guv. It’s a fair cop, guv, and no mistake and it instantly demolishes their credibility in the court and you get off.”

“You should try it next time,” I told Bob.

“I was once,” said Nick, “walking around the West End with a black bin bag and this group of American tourists came up to me in Charing Cross and asked What’s in the bin bag? and they said Can we see? and I said It’ll cost you ten pence to have a look.

“They paid me ten pence, I opened it up…”

“And?” I asked.

“Two dead foxes in my bag,” said Nick.

“Why?” I asked.

“That’s another story,” he replied.

“That’s another story,” I said to Bob.

“Why” said Bob to me, “ would he have two dead foxes in a bag?”

“Well,” I said, “you wouldn’t have two live foxes in a bag. It would be ridiculous to walk round the West End with two live foxes in a bag.”

“And they’d get out,” added Bob. “I saw two foxes trotting along the street in Walthamstow the other day. Two together. I don’t think I’ve ever seem that before. You always see them alone. I think if I’d followed them, I could have seen them have sex.”

“Is there some line here about a fox being out of the question?” I asked.

“No,” said Bob. “But I would like it to be known that I met two people at the gig last night. One was a man called Andy, who ran customer service for gay chat lines, and his friend was an Eton & Cambridge educated sub-editor at the Sun newspaper. They will be the basis of my Edinburgh Fringe show next year.”

I took this with a pinch of salt.

When I got home, there was an e-mail waiting for me from Noel Faulkner of the Comedy Cafe.

“When we were speaking about the Edinburgh Fringe yesterday,” it said, “I forgot to mention that I am trying to rent a cruise ship to tie up in Portobello harbour and rent out accommodation to all the comics and run two double decker buses back and forth and do charity gigs in the ship’s ballroom. I will be dressed in my full admiral’s uniform with an all-girl crew.”

1 Comment

Filed under Comedy, Police

One response to “Comedian Bob Slayer swooped on by armed response police unit in London

  1. anna smith

    Nick, not to be finicky, but “American tourists” would probably not say bin bags. We call them garbage bags, or “big black garbage bags” in Canada, and what Canadians call garbage cans are called trash cans in the U.S.A.
    Latin Americans call gringos “gringos”, because the Americas stretch from the Canadian arctic to Cape Horn. so an American tourist could actual be Uruguayan….though the Uruguayans are generally not as obnoxious…even though they drink a lot of mate.

    O.K. I’m finicking, drinking coffee in bed. Nobody here is concerned about the crisis in comedy, as we have the crisis at the Central Intelligence Agency to distract us…The B.B.C. scandals have barely caused a ripple, possibly because there is a particularly infamous massage parlour located near a busy intersection in Vancouver called Broadway Body Care..(which advertises in the employment classifieds ” Make top money – Become a B.B.C. Girl !!!”. etc.).

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