In yesterday’s blog, comedian Chris Dangerfield – currently in Thailand trying to kick heroin addiction – talked about his disinterest in himself and in performing. He told me it’s all ego and ambition. He also told me the title of his planned Edinburgh Fringe solo show this August.
“Sex With Children,” he said. “It’s a good story, man. It’s a good story.”
There was a pause.
“I was fucked loads of times. There’s some good stories where I go round and try to get a bit of revenge. I take this pit bull terrier round to some magician’s house, but the thing turns round and shits itself when there’s a bit of chaos. I’d been lively on this bloke with a house brick and the fucking pit bull turns round and shits on his doorstep. It’s an alright show. I’m trying to say we’re all paedophiles.”
“You might be wrong there,” I suggested, “but at least you’re trying to make a statement to make people think and that’s a good thing. You told me you’d written novels but never published them. How many have you written? Three?”
“No, loads more than that. The last three were about coming to Thailand and trying to get off smack. I’ve been here three times to do this.”
“So why haven’t…” I started to say.
“Because I’ve been busy jacking heroin,” interrupted Chris. “This is the problem. This is the only problem. It’s very difficult to do anything else when you’re doing that. I can work, cos I need the money for the smack, but I can’t be arsed doing much else.
“Weirdly, having said that, I’ve done a bit of TV work this year. I’m on Channel 4 in a couple of weeks time with Rupert Everett and Russell Brand. Russell’s a cock but Rupert’s a great man, he really is. I read his autobiography and realised he’s a very, very intelligent man.”
“So are you,” I said. “So why do you not want to do more creative things?”
“I do,” said Chris. “But life is a problem, John. I was thinking of jumping off the balcony five days ago. I just feel that I’ve been doing what I’m doing right now… I’ve been doing this – On-Off On-Off On-Off – for 25 years.”
“That’s the fault of being on heroin,” I suggested, “not the fault of not being on heroin.”
“It’s not the fault of the fucking heroin!” said Chris. “You think it walks up the stairs and jumps in my arm? I’ll be honest with you. I reckon I’m a pretty good comic and a pretty good writer and I reckon, if I had a few years clean, I could probably make a nice living out of it. But I am honestly – and I mean honestly – weighing that up with just fucking off to Laos, getting myself a little hut somewhere and just… That’s it over. Finished. Just on the gear.”
“Look,” I said, “you’re a highly creative person. You should do something with your novels. If you write a novel and don’t publish it, there’s no point in doing it because you’re not communicating anything. You’re just wanking off.”
“You want me to wank it into people’s faces?” Chris asked. “Is that what you’re saying? You mean There’s no point losing it on the duvet when there’s mouths open all round the world,” said Chris.
“You are a man with a good turn of phrase,” I said, “but the smack is stopping you doing creative things. It’s not helping you. It’s stopping you.”
“But sometimes it feels like such a relief,” said Chris. “It also calms the penis. I’m not fucking, I’m not thinking about sex all the time, I’m not worrying about my poxy career. It’s a nice rest. Because, when I’m off the heroin, it’s all about Do something! Make Something happen! Get a fuck! Make something happen! Get a fuck! When I’m on it, it’s a nice rest. I don’t want sex, I don’t want to do anything.”
“Well,” I said, “I always tell comedians, if they want to do a 60-minute show, they should figure out what they’re angry about and shape the show round that. What are you angry about?”
“How long have you got?” laughed Chris. “This Sex With Children show is pretty angry. I mean, I really did not appreciate being bummed when I was seven eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve years old. That was pretty unpleasant. All my friends who’ve died on drugs because they were raped as kids. That’s kind of unpleasant. That’s what the show’s about.
“The point of the show is we don’t talk about this shit. There’s no place for it. We live in a paedophile culture. We fuck our kids. We’ve got laws against it. You don’t have laws against painting yourself blue because no-one does it. We do have laws against fucking kids, because everyone’s at it.
“It started off with incest. Don’t fuck your own kids. They made it illegal. So everyone starts fucking everyone else’s kids. And it’s not talked about. Incest and child abuse comes from the family. The family comes from the creation of capital. I don’t want two people’s opinions. I want a community. We live in little rooms of two people full of vodka. Why do we have two people look after us?”
“Well,” I said, “two people look after you because two people created you.”
“No, no, no, no, no,” Chris said, his voice rising. “That ain’t how it works! That shouldn’t be how it works! You should have a community looking after you. Two people is not enough. The family unit is a disgrace. It’s a violent little situation that creates hatred and Oedipal hell. It’s a horrible thing.”
“The family unit exists,” I suggested, “because they’re all related by blood.”
“Not it’s not,” said Chris. “The family exists to create workers. Viva la Communista!”
“Anyway,” I said, “this is getting off the subject of you actually doing something about your life. It sounds to me that your Edinburgh Fringe show is exactly what you should be doing – getting that anger out of you and making other people think, even if they don’t agree with you.”
“I’ll be carrying a pair of brass knuckles on stage, though,” said Chris. “I’ve already bought them.”
“When are you back in Britain?”
“Probably 4th or 5th of May.”
“Then you’ll have to think full-time about Edinburgh,” I said.
“Well, I got Will Self on the firm, haven’t I?” said Chris.
“Do I mention this?” I asked.
“Yeah, you can now,” said Chris. “He came to see me and wrote me a cracking review and he told me if I wanted a bit of help developing the material… He said he thinks I’m fantastic but that I perform better than my material. He said fucking and having a fight with a lady boy was just another consumer choice; I might as well be talking about yoghurts. It’s a good point. But that show – Sex Tourist – was three years old when he saw it.
“He said: I’m only going to help you if you get clean, because a using addict is useless.”
“So Will Self would help you with the writing?” I asked.
“Yeah. He said he’d help me develop my material.”
“And have you started doing that yet?”
“No. I’m only twelve days clean… I told him I was clean and living in a brothel in Thailand and he said: Good luck!”
“Indeed,” I said.
“Listen,” said Chris, “I’ve kinda run out of energy now. I’m going to go upstairs and have some Xanax.”
“What’s Xanax?” I asked.
“It’s a short-acting benzo. It’s a brand name for alprazolam. But, if you really want to know, you can add that to the diazepam, the intravenous Valium… It’s a bit benzo-heavy at the moment.”
“So you’ve stopped taking drugs, then?” I laughed.
“Tablets aren’t drugs,” replied Chris. “They’re medicine. Listen, when you ain’t slept for nine days, you’ve got pins-an-needles all over your body. You can’t walk five metres without your legs caving in. My injecting site is through my groin. I’ve got no veins left anywhere else, so I have to go in that femoral one which is like a hose pipe.
“When I got here, I wasn’t looking at getting clean and I kept buying any old shit and I was banging stuff in there. My calf muscles solidified and I went to the hospital and they said: You’re probably going to lose your legs. If you carry on like this, they’re off! And I quite like my legs.
“Now I can only walk about ten metres before I fall over and shit myself. So I need to go upstairs and lay down for a minute now. This is the longest I’ve spoken to anyone in about a week.”
“Well,” I said. “Keep clean, keep your legs, be creative and come back to work with Will Self.”