A week ago, I mentioned in a blog that I had got a message from “a starting-out stand-up comedian” whom I did not identify asking if it was worth her while going to the British Comedy Guide’s Big Comedy Conference in London.
I went to the Big Comedy Conference yesterday and, indeed, she had come too. She performed three minutes of material at the end of the day – perhaps rather foolishly using her own name. It is quite some time since I cried with laughter watching a comedian perform. I did watching her.
I say she perhaps rather foolishly used her real name because regular readers of this blog with a taste for the bizarre may remember I blogged about her as Machete Hettie in August this year – She was an unforgettable audience member at comedian Matt Price’s Edinburgh Fringe show. She claimed she came from Leithiopia – her name for the docks area of Leith in Edinburgh.
In my opinion, she should appear on stage under the name ‘Machete Hettie’ because it is more commercial and gives more of a hint of what audiences would be letting themselves in for.
After yesterday’s Big Comedy Conference finished and we had left, she was chatting to me and Matt Price’s agent Sarah Higgins of Mirth Control Comedy. We had both seen her in Edinburgh.
Below is what Machete Hettie said. I have no explanation for parts of what follows and I suspect I do not want to know for my own safety. At the point at which this starts, Machete Hettie was standing in a street in Clerkenwell wearing a black balaclava and holding a whip, both of which she had produced after leaving the Big Comedy Conference building. Don’t ask. Just do not ask.
“You want me to tell people aboot my life of crime,” Machete Hettie was saying. “That’s what you want me to do. But that’ll come later once maybe I get noticed. Then youse’ll hear aboot my life of crime for 17 years. But really I cannae tell you that noo.”
“You’re a shrewd woman” I said. “People will have to pay to go see a show.”
“I dinnae jump aboot wi’ balaclavas for fuck all, John,” she said. “D’ye think I could afford to just come doon here for this just like that? No. Not if it wasn’t for my life of crime, ye know?”
“Why the whip?” I asked.”Or the cat o’ nine tails or whatever it is.”
“The cat o’ nine tails answers a lot o’ questions,” explained Machete Hettie. “That’s for me to know.”
“And why no machete?” I asked.
“Well,” she replied, “I cannae really go aboot wi’ knives and blades an’ that, cos I’ll get myself arrested. So the whip’s fine, but I really did evict my neighbour and I really did choke her to fuck. The whip was better than a blade.”
This was a reference back to part of her three minute routine on stage at the Big Comedy Conference.
“You did what?” I asked. “You choked her?”
“I choked her to fuck like a horse, yes,” said Machete Hettie, slowing down and speaking slowly to me as if she were explaining something to a rather dumb school kid:
“I put the whip in her mouth, gagged her with the whip, held her and told the funky monkey junkie fuck that she was evicted cos Machete Hettie’s taking the law into her own hands and I’m no going through any Council situation.
“I told her: That’s it! You’ve got two minutes to get yer goods and chattels together! And she says to us: I don’t know why you’re wearing a balaclava because I recognise you with your tattoos and I said I couldn’t give a fuck if you recognise me. You’re fucking evicted. Ten cats?”
“Ten cats?” I asked.
“Ten cats,” repeated Machete Hettie. “My eyes were stinging with the stench o’ cat piss an’ everything. And she says: Well nine cats now. One committed suicide. Threw itself oot of the window. Which it really did – because I thought it was a jacket comin’ oot the window.
“Between me holding anti-social parties doon the stairs and her holding her fucking prostitute parties up the stairs…I mean, she was lucky she got paid £5 for prostituting herself! She had eyes that popped oot like ET. She used to tell people she had cancer to get money. She would shave off half her hair and leave the other half a Mohawk.”
“Is she still in the area?” asked Sarah Higgins.
“No,” said Machete Hettie. “Neither am I, cos I got evicted too. Basically I told the Council, if I didn’t get the fuck oot o’ there, I’d be throwing myself oot the window too, like the cat. By the end of it there were 12 cats which got her arrested for the PDSA. The woman was a fat disaster. She was worse than camel toes and me… And she’s getting £5 for that?”
“Camel toes and you?” I asked.
“Aye,” said Machete Hettie. “Well I’m fat. And fat develops camel toes, John. Maybe if I got more confident, I could tell you more about camel toes than you’ll ever know.”
“She’s a lady,” said Sarah Higgins.
“It’s just a no-go area, you know?” said Machete Hettie. “It’s no a lady garden.”
“Neither of us,” I told her, “are going to argue with you, because you’re too dangerous.”
“I have to be dangerous living in the city I do,” said Machete Hettie. “If I didn’t be dangerous, man, people’d walk all over me.”
“You live in Edinburgh,” I said.
“They’ll take advantage of your nice personality and accuse it of being a weakness,” explained Machete Hettie. “That’s why you have to be tough, right? You have to be fucking tough and nae cunt will mess with you. So I rule the roost. That’s the way it is.
“Now I’m in a new build: a penthouse and all that. Still in Leith, but right beside the boats.”
“By the Royal Yacht Britannia?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied. “That’s exactly where I am. So she’s done me a favour, Rita The Meter – I got the fuck oot of nightmare on Duke Street.”
“You should do an Edinburgh Fringe show,” I told her, “next year or the year after.”
“I done a monologue of my life,” she told me, “in a theatre in Fife, which was very interesting and very Trainspotting. That’s been my life. It’s been very Trainspotting. I’ve got a hard neck to slag Rita. Well, I may have led a Trainspotting life, but at least I’ve got OCD: I didn’t have a minging house like her. Fucking dirtiest toilet in Leith. Ten cats and mice running aboot that wore overcoats.
“There’s hardly any Edinburgh people performing at the Edinburgh Fringe. Do you hear anybody talking about Edinburgh or Leith? I’d want to open up the dark side. I’d tell ‘em what Edinburgh’s all aboot – Shifty characters, watch yer wallet – the whole shebang. “
“And now the police are closing the saunas,” I said. “What is the place coming to?”
“Scotland’s all run by the Glasgow force now,” said Machete Hettie, “which is all corrupt. It used to be Lothian & Borders and Strathclyde Police and all but now they’ve merged them all into the one Scottish Police Force. Now Glasgow rules the whole of Scotland and they’re just fucking corrupt,”
“Why DO you have a balaclava?” I asked.
“They came from my son,” explained Machete Hettie. “He’s Army and he got me a range of colours – pink, orange, glow-in-the-dark, everything. But I like the black one because black goes with anything and it makes you look slim. He gave me the balaclava. The whip I’ve always had, just for daft parties. Never used for any kinky things; just used at parties that lasted from Fridays through to Mondays where you ended up with no eyebrows and a lot of things that stayed within the four walls that you just wouldn’t repeat.
“I play the part of being normal quite well, so they say,” she added