Yesterday afternoon, my eagle-eyed Facebook friend and anonymous Edinburgh Fringe Scarlet Pimpernel figure Garry Platt sent me the link to a 2004 article headlined:
The story was that, at the Quart Festival, during a performance by Norwegian ‘death’n’roll’ band The Cumshots, a couple of activists from the suitably-named conservation group Fuck For Forest had got on stage and done what you would expect two activists from a group with that name would do.
This had happened back in 2004, but the names The Cumshots and Fuck For Forest – as well as the incident itself – rang familiar bells at the back of my mind.
“Bob Slayer!” the bells chimed at the back of my mind.
This 2004 sex-on-stage incident was actually mentioned obliquely in a blog of mine in 2013.
So I Skyped Bob last night on his mobile phone and of course, almost inevitably, he had just come back from Norway.
Before leaping full-time into comedy performing and promoting, he used to be in the music business. One of his many enterprises was managing Japanese rock band Electric Eel Shock.
“In 2004,” he told me, “I was at that Quart Festival and The Cumshots came to see Electric Eel Shock the night before it happened. They kept telling me: You must come and see our show tomorrow! But we had to leave early the next morning to play a festival in Denmark. The Cumshots wouldn’t tell me what, but I knew they were up to something and, a week later, sure enough, I read in Kerrang! magazine: NORWEGIAN BAND FINED FOR LETTING A COUPLE HAVE SEX ON STAGE.”
The Quart festival organisation was reportedly fined 50,000 NOK (look, that’s the currency; it is nothing to do with me) and the band members were fined 10,000 NOK each.
You can see The Cumshots’ toe-tapping Praying For Cancer on YouTube.
“Kristopher Schau, the lead singer of The Cumshots,” Bob told me yesterday, “is a really interesting guy. As well as being in The Cumshots, he’s been on TV shows. He even had his own TV show based on the Seven Deadly Sins. In one of the episodes, he lived in a shop window for a month without washing – though I’m not sure what exact sin that is. And, in another episode, he was circumcised and ate his foreskin.
“He is a thinking man’s Jackass. It’s nonsense and weird but there’s thought and statements and I’ve watch some of his stuff with sub-titles and it’s fascinating.”
“What,” I asked, “is the philosophical depth of eating your own foreskin?”
“There is one,” Bob told me definitively. “And the Cumshots are part of a really interesting collective of Norwegian bands – Duplex Records – which is very influential. It includes bands like Hurra Torpedo, Black Debbath and Thulsa Doom.
“Kristopher Schau, the singer of The Cumshots is the drummer for Hurra Torpedo and the Cumshots’ guitarist Ole Petter Andreassen is the drummer for Black Debbath. There are five or six bands and they swap around and they’re all really interesting.”
“Not traditional rock bands?” I asked.
“Hurra Torpedo do have a guitar but, apart from that, all their other instruments are appliances like washing machines. In your blog, you MUST link to their cover of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of The Heart. It is fantastic.”
Who am I to say nay Bob Slayer? Here it is on YouTube…
“So,” I asked Bob yesterday. “The couple who actually had sex on stage… Tommy Hol Ellingsen and Leona Johansson…?”
“They made porn,” explained Bob, “and wanted to sell that porn to make money to save the rainforests. But, when they tried to donate the money, charities told them: We don’t want your dirty porn money.
“So they moved to Brazil, to the rainforests, to set up their own projects, which had the knock-on effect that the value of their porn went up. They now fuck IN the forest to SAVE the forest. I haven’t Googled them recently to see if they are still going.
“I find these people really inspiring, because they are… That is a truly alternative thing to do…”
“I get the impression,” I said, “that you’ve been to Norway quite a lot. Why were you over there this weekend just past?”
“For the Crap åppå Park Comedy Festival.”
“Ah,” I said.
“It’s their fifth year,” said Bob, “and it’s grown and grown. Now it’s a week long.
“I’ve gigged all round Norway on the back of getting banned by the Latter Theatre in Oslo, which is basically the Jongleurs of Norway.”
“Remind me?” I said.
“Two years ago, I was performing three nights in Latter. After the first two nights, they asked me to calm down and the third night I WAS going to calm down but they made two mistakes.
“One was that, in the afternoon, the local newspaper had us sampling Christmas beers. They gave us a bucket and said: You can spit into that.
“I said: I’m not spitting beer into a bucket. I want to drink from that bucket. So I got drunk.”
“And the second mistake?” I asked.
“In the audience that night, were The Cumshots and a guy who makes the stage props for the black metal band Mayhem – they’re the ones who killed each other and ate each others brains and now they put pigs’ heads on stage.
“My friend Spacebrain was in the audience and I thought: (a) I’m a bit drunk and (b) I can’t do a Jongleurs or Latter type gig to The Cumshots.
“So I didn’t do the calmed-down set I had been thinking of. Instead, I came off the balcony on a rope, threw fruit at the audience as I came down the rope, went on stage, pulled out a bottle of Jägermeister, drank most of that, talked about The Cumshots and… well, it was the Jägermeister was ultimately why I got banned.
“How illegal is that in Norway? – Having a bottle on stage and pouring it? It’s very illegal. And then, when a guy said: That can’t be real Jägermeister, I poured some for this guy in the front row. Handing out free drinks to the audience is… not allowed either.
“Then, as I handed the guy in the front row the Jägermeister, I saw he was in a wheelchair. He drank it and said: Oh yeah. That’s real Jägermeister! and I said: Yes, mate. And you’ve got more chance of walking out of this gig than I have.
“When they banned me for going mental and illegal drinking, they also told me: What you said to that man in the wheelchair was not acceptable.
“I asked: Why? Did he complain? and they said: No, but he could have done.
“I asked: What was the guy in the wheelchair’s name? and they said: It’s irrelevant.
“I said, No, his name is Lars. And I pulled out my camera and showed them photos of me and Lars drinking after the show, me and Lars and The Cumshots drinking, Lars rolling around in the road and me doing laps of honour round him in his own wheelchair and him laughing like a drain.”
“And now,” I asked Bob, “you get gigs in Norway BECAUSE you got banned?”
“I didn’t get banned this weekend, despite nearly killing someone.”
“You didn’t?” I asked.
“I did feed someone a banana and he did turn out to be allergic to bananas,” explained Bob.
“I read,” I said, “that you are running comedy at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.”
“Yes,” said Bob.“It’s their first festival in Melbourne, Derbyshire, but already they can proudly boast it’s the second biggest Melbourne Comedy Festival in the world.”
“Have you been banned in the other Melbourne?” I asked, “or was that only in Perth?”
“I’ve never been to the other Melbourne,” said Bob.
“And you’re putting on shows in The Hive at the Edinburgh Fringe this year?” I asked.
“… and I’m working on building a mobile venue,” replied Bob.
“Poor Edinburgh,” I said. “Just when they thought they were safe.”
There is a ‘trailer’ on YouTube which gives a fair idea of the Fuck For Forest philosophy.