Mr M has now told me that esteemed ventriloquist Keith Harris and his best friends Orville & Chuckles live in Poulton-le-Fylde – “Or,” says Mr Methane, “at least they were still living there in 2006 when we did BBC TV show The Slammer together.
“Keith had a nightclub which he sold to a guy called Elliot. Elliot was a DJ who had made a load of money by building up a nightclub in Workington and then selling it for a tidy profit. He then came south and worked for Mick Cookson at Panama Joes/Meancat Daddies in Burnley as a DJ. Mick is the guy who interviews people in the Butt Pipe Shocker segments on my Let’s Rip DVD
“Elliot once booked me for a gig at Keith’s club which he had re-named Elliot’s – I did not go down well as it wasn’t my crowd. You could say I died on my arse.
“It was a lowpoint in my career. But then I’ve had many low points. Live entertainers tend to have more low points than high points or at least an equal amount – it’s just part of the game. If they’re not your crowd, they’re not your crowd.
“I can remember working with ‘Sir Bernard Cholmondeley’ (Matt Lucas) at Southampton Guild Hall – New Year 1996, I think it was – The crowd just threw things at him and shouted him off. All they wanted was tit-and-arse jokes with a bit of farting thrown in.
“But, as history shows, a bad gig for Sir Bernard and a good gig for Mr Methane are not a good indicator of future commercial success, so you just draw a line and move on. Good gigs happen. Bad gigs happen. And occasionally people throw dangerous objects like Brown Ale bottles and pint glasses at you. Merry Christmas.”
I have also received Christmas greetings and news from the Colonies.
Last week, this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent Anna Smith sent me a piece which I posted about ‘Ben from Glasgow’. Last night, she found Ben at his usual workplace on the pavement. Or, depending on your use of English, on the sidewalk.
“As it was Christmas Eve,” Anna says, “people were lining up outside the liquor store. I told Ben:
“You’re in a blog in London. Let me show you. Your grandad is in it too.
“My grandad’s in it?
“Yes,” I told him. “You’re both in it – together on the same page.
“Ben was overjoyed to see the pictures. In the meantime, people were throwing money into his cap – loonies ($1 coins), toonies ($2 coins) and bills.
“I stood out of the way, leaning against the wall beside him, reading bits of the blog to him. A lot of the people on the sidewalk knew him by his first name and were happy to have an excuse to give him a bit more money than usual. A man darted past and dropped a toonie into Ben ‘s cap and held another toonie up for me. I grabbed it
“I can make money just by standing beside you! I told Ben and slid the toonie into his cap. We both laughed.
“A bus driver jumped off his bus, ran towards us and handed Ben a new LED umbrella.
“A passenger gave it to me, Benny, he said breathlessly. I thought you could use it.
“Ben got a couple of young men to stop and give him a beer. Then a drunken rodeo clown came up.
“I’m on the internet! cried Ben. Look! My grandad was a world champion!
“Yeah, right, said the drunken clown.
“It’s true! I told him. Ben and his grandad look exactly the same!
“Then the drunken clown started talking about all his own accomplishments, which were very boring. Then he tried to start a fight with Benny who grabbed his bag and disappeared down an alley.
“Merry Christmas, I said to the clown and then walked quickly away.”
This morning, Anna also sent me a photo of a lady.
“This is Janey from Alberta,” the message said.
“Janey always drops by the shop when she visits Vancouver. She works cleaning trailers in the tar sands (oil patch) in Northern British Columbia and Alberta.
“They are isolated camps in the bush and she says it’s hell up there. It is dangerous and violent. She hires a taxi if she has to cross the street at night. But the cost of a house is as high as it is in Vancouver.
“The work is lucrative but, as the price of oil slumps, people can’t afford to live. Crack cocaine and methamphetamine are rampant.
“There are miles of tunnels and sludge-filled lakes, leaching into the rivers. There are gigantic mechanical bats on poles creaking away in the darkness to frighten away the birds.
“She said no-one gives a shit about anyone there. She showed me lines of scars on her stomach from being run over by a truck.”