Category Archives: Fish

An average day in Vancouver – nudity, trailer trash, sturgeon, disappearances

What, you might ask – well, yesterday, someone DID ask me – has been happening to this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent Anna Smith?

Below is the latest from her in Vancouver. She lives on a boat.

Anna Smith (extreme right) on a skip in an alley behind the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver (Photo by Tadhg)

Anna Smith (extreme right) reclines on a skip in an alley behind the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver (Photograph by Tadhg)

Twisty can’t stop dancing. He is a performance artist/social activist.

Twisty: performer & social activist

Just now, I thought Mr Methane had arrived but it was a container of toxic disinfectant.

Although the river is hypnotic, I still go into Vancouver several times a week.

Ĺast week, I met up with my friend Bernie (Mr Nude Universe 1985). We have a lot in common, each having worked as strippers for fifteen years. My main striptease character was a nurse. His was a police officer.

I also met Twisty today. He is a performance artist and social activist. He can’t stop dancing. He says that being with me is like being at a party.

Anna with Mr Lahey (left) and Mr Randy at the Roxy nightclub

Anna with Randy (right) & Mr Lahey at The Roxy, Vancouver

And I met Randy and Mr Lahey, cult Canadian television stars from the series Trailer Park Boys. They did a really funny live show at the local Roxy night club. The posters advertised a party as well and dressing like Trailer Trash was strongly recommend. The club was decorated like a run-down trailer park.

If you want to imagine The Marina of Hell (where I live), Trailer Park Boys is good for reference.

There is a 7-minute Trailer Park Boys film on YouTube.

I often describe the docks where I live as a floating trailer park. This place does not even have a name or a supervisor.

Fraser River, Vancouver

The Fraser River in Vancouver

I told John Dunsworth (Mr Lahey) that I live in a west coast maritime version of their Sunnyvale and he was interested. John Dunsworth started the first alternative theater in Halifax and he is an unusual person. When I asked for his autograph he made drawings of boats and signed them. I could see right away that he was an artist and also familiar with boats. He has a boat which he rebuilt and he is working on a ghost movie with boats. He told me his next movie is going to be called Fifty Shades of Shit.

In one autograph, he drew a sailboat and wrote: Haul in your shit sails. Shit Storms coming! That is one of his catchphrases. He has also written a book called The Dicshitnary and sells it online. He sells a lot to Britain, Canada, Australia , the USA and Denmark.

Demonstrating how to piss through a funnel

How to piss through a funnel on stage with Randy (Patrick Roach)

Randy and Mr Lahey’s performance at times appeared to be abstract, with laundry and garbage strewn around  the stage – It reminded me of an Ian Hinchliffe show. Mr Lahey demonstrated his latest business idea: a portable hot box made from rubbish sacks – so you can get high at work without anyone realising. The hot bag has a window so you can still do fine even when there’s a performance evaluation.

The Trailer Park Boys’ stage show is apparently coming to London in September.

Canada’s top comedy hit. Banned from television. Criminals – Your blog readers will love them.

I understand, in Britain, they are also playing in Manchester and Cambridge.

Back on the river, the sturgeon fishers were out again today but I was busy doing a massive cleaning of my boat. It is like living inside an animal.

Half the time here it is deadly boring but then it swivels into a circus, with police boats chasing people down the channel, boats hitting logs, men and dogs falling overboard…

Today it was relatively peaceful. There is less ruckus in the winter and most of the boats are cocooned under tarpaulins. I was up on my roof and my neighbour told me he was going to fish for sturgeon at slack tide. He is obsessed with sturgeon and knows everything about their habits. We are not allowed to keep sturgeon as the stock is replenishing, but we are allowed to fish for them.

Here what my neighbor prepared to bait Sturgeon... oily oolichans soaked in rotton fish oil

Bait for sturgeon – oily oolichans soaked in rotten fish oil

I went out at slack tide and my neighbour was on the outside dock, with his pole set up. Apparently we are living atop a sturgeon hole. He said he had caught 201 sturgeon and another neighbour – a young father – was out there with his daughter who was wearing her life jacket and reading nature magazines, looking pretty, sitting in a mini lawn chair with a fancy miniature beach umbrella.

The men were slowly drinking Hell’s Gate beer and discussing sturgeon, salmon,  licences and how people are caught when they keep a sturgeon. Many of the fish are tagged by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and, if they get a signal from a sturgeon travelling overland, they follow it.

When my neighbour said he had caught 201 sturgeon,  that is in his whole life. He keeps count.

Here on the river, Search and Rescue Services are also concerned about the numbers of people becoming lost in the woods and they are advising hikers to take a selfie showing which direction they are heading in, saying: This might be the last picture ever taken of you.

A pod of transient orcas (killer whales) was spotted in the water near Stanley Park.

A salmon decoration by children on fence above Fraser River

Decoration created by children on a fence above Fraser river

A man disappeared from the deck of his boat upriver in New Westminster. He told some other people on the boat he was going out to sit on a chair. Half an hour later they found the chair on deck but the man has never been seen since.

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Fish act by Mouse made John Sessions and Chris Langham bolt at comedy icon Ken Campbell’s memorial show

Prospective bidders view items yesterday

Would-be bidders view horror items yesterday

“Certain things are always funny,” performer Martin Soan suggested to me yesterday as we drove to an ‘Auction of Horrors’ at The Old Elephant House in Leamington Spa.

“Bananas,” I suggested.

“Yes,” agreed Martin, “and fish.”

After Leamington Spa we went to Banbury where they were having a canal festival. By the canal – which looked more like a river to me – there was an old Elephant Wash. What is it with elephants in refined English towns?

The reason we went to Banbury was nostalgia for Martin. On the way to Leamington in the car, he had told me:

“I had an interesting experience in Banbury which lasted some time and developed into a relationship.”

“How many legs did it have?” I asked – lightheartedly, I thought.

“One had legs and the other one had fins,” said Martin inexplicably.

Perhaps he was joking; perhaps he wasn’t. I did not pursue it.

“I have a friend,” I told him truthfully, “who knows a doctor who works in Accident & Emergency at a hospital in Oxfordshire. At weekends, a surprising number of people come in on Saturday nights with objects which have to be extracted. Fish are a particular problem. If you insert them into your body head first, the scales are OK on the way in but, on the way out, more of a problem…”

“Have you ever seen Fish?” Martin asked.

“Loads,” I said.

“It’s an act,” said Martin. “I met her at the Ken Campbell Memorial Show which me and Viv (Martin’s wife) we were booked for.

Ken Campbell - theatrical lover of things aquatic

Comedy icon Ken Campbell – theatrical lover of things aquatic

“I met this girl backstage. She was very petite, very pretty and had a lovely, lovely multi-coloured, body-hugging costume on – loads of sequins and sparkly bits – And she had a very, very large black minder.

“Her costume was a work of art – gorgeous. But she was very, very small.

“I talked to her and her minder. It was all lovely and great and I was really looking forward to seeing her act, though it didn’t occur to me to ask what she actually did.

“Anyway, she closed the first half of the show. The audience was middle aged, from all shapes and forms of theatre. John Sessions and Chris Langham were in the audience.

“So Fish came on and there was a bit of lovely music – water-related in some sort of way – She came on, did a little shimmy, did a couple of over-arms impersonating swimming and shed all her costume. So she was standing there completely starkers and then she sucked up – not through her mouth – all the contents of a big bowl of liquid. There was a pause and then she squirted it all at the audience – to a distance of six, seven, maybe even ten metres – and drenched everybody. Then she went on to delicately suck up – not with her mouth – various goldfish of different sizes from a bowl and then she spat them back out – not using her mouth.”

“At the audience?” I asked.

“No,” said Martin. “Into the bowl. She wasn’t cruel to the goldfish.”

“Did the goldfish seem to enjoy it?” I asked.

“I’m not quite sure about the fish,” Martin told me, “but the audience were absolutely mortified. They had had Chris Langham on earlier doing Ken Campbell sketches and John Sessions reading bits of Ken Campbell’s poetry and Nina Conti talking to them and then suddenly there was this bombshell of an act. I roared and roared and roared with laughter. John Sessions and Chris Langham had bolted backstage as soon as the clothes came off.”

Goldfish lead unmemorable lives

Goldfish lead unmemorable lives even when things happen

“Perhaps they knew what was coming,” I said.

“In the audience,” said Martin, “the ones who weren’t mortified were very vociferous in their dislike and disgust. The compère came on – I can’t remember who it was – and said Fish was Ken Campbell’s favourite act.”

“Memorable,” I said, “except presumably for the goldfish.”

“I guess so,” said Martin.

“It must be dull being a goldfish,” I said, “even when interesting things happen.”

“It’s difficult to know,” said Martin.

* * * * *

After the above blog was posted, I received the following message from Kev Wright:

Excellent to see the night remembered! It was organised by A Cracking Night Out.

Her name is actually Mouse not Fish.

I booked her and the compere was Psychic Dave – who ran the night with me.

We were very nearly banned from Glastonbury a few years ago for also putting Mouse on there, in a very small cabaret tent (Starred & Feathered) that we set up next to The Miniscule Of Sound without permission in the first place, let alone with Mouse pretending to be a dog sliding around in dog food and spraying the stunned audience with liquid as above – ‘playing’ with dog bones etc.

There were a teenage couple of hippieish indie kids sat on the floor right at the front whose faces I will never forget and who I imagine will never forget that night either!

“What did you see at the festival?” their mum may well have asked upon return…!!

I haven’t seen Mouse for a while but she is still performing I believe . .
Oh and i believe she did an act demonstrating the art of ventriloquism with ken campbell once in a rather unconventional way . . . .

That memorial night also ended up in the daily mail – hated of course!



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