Category Archives: Norway

Why Bob Slayer did not see the famed Norwegian sex act in 2004. Honest.

The 2004 Norwegian coupling that started it off

The 2004 Norwegian Cumshots gig coupling that started it off

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:

COUPLE HAS SEX ON STAGE AT NORWEGIAN MUSIC FESTIVAL: PHOTOS AVAILABLE

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.

Bob Slayer on his mobile phone last night

Peace-loving chap Bob Slayer on his mobile phone last night

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?”

Bob (left) at the Slottsfjell Festival in Norway, 2014

Bob being Bob (left) at the Slottsfjell Festival in Norway, 2014

“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.

Bob Slayer (left), naked atop a Norwegian caravan

Bob (left), naked atop Norwegian caravan… Things happen…

“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.

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Filed under Anarchy, Music, Norway, Sex

UK comedy roundup: How Malcolm Hardee made his trousers fall down & why Bob Slayer was naked in Norway

With my eternally-un-named friend and Martin Soan

With my eternally-un-named friend and Martin Soan (photograph by saxophonist & compere Vivienne Soan)

Yesterday, my eternally-un-named friend and I went round to Vivienne and Martin Soan’s back garden. It has Astroturf on it to stop weeds coming through.

Vivienne said she was thinking of speaking in German when she introduces one of the acts at this Friday’s Pull The Other One comedy club. As I mentioned in a blog last time she compered Pull The Other One, I am confident this German language thing will explain itself in a few months.

In the meantime, Martin Soan seems to have put together his very complicated Village Hall Experience show for Peckham, sponsored by Southwark Council and supporting The Fostering Partnership. He told me he is also building a large carrot for some comedian at the Edinburgh Fringe.

“How is your penis going?” I asked him as we left.

“Very smoothly,” he replied. As previously mentioned in a blog, he is building a giant male member for another comedian’s Edinburgh show. It is not the first time Martin has been involved with genitalia at the Fringe, both carefully-crafted handmade ones and real. Not least because he and the late Malcolm Hardee used to perform the Naked Balloon Dance as the Greatest Show On Legs up there over many years.

My eternally-un-named friend and I then went to visit Jacki Cook and Jonathan Hale, who run the Emporium vintage clothes shop in Greenwich.

But not for much longer.

In less than two weeks time, they are closing their shop after 27 years.

“I don’t know,” said Jacki, “what all those scruffy old comedians are gonna do. Malcolm Hardee used to buy a new suit from us every week – sometimes two a week, depending what capers he got up to. He liked to roll around in a Savile Row suit. That was Malc. He never bothered to clean them; he just bought a new one from us every week.”

My eternally-un-named friend (who used to work for Malcolm) told me:

“Malcolm used to ‘distress’ jackets when he got them. I remember he undid the stitching round the arm of one jacket when he got it.”

Malcolm with distressed shoulder in Up The Creek office

Malcolm with distressed shoulder in his Up The Creek office last century (photograph by my eternally-un-named friend)

“Why?” I asked.

“It just gave it a dishevelled look,” she told me, “and that’s the way he wanted people to see him. But the actual clothes he wore were really nice.”

“He liked to wear trousers that were slightly too big for him,” said Jacki, “so that, if he breathed in, he could make them fall down.”

Jacki & Jon’s shop is closing, but they are going to continue their business online – they have rented costumes in the past to television companies and big scale movies – everything from Mission Impossible I & II and Steven Spielberg’s Munich to Dagenham Girls.

When I got home to Borehamwood last night, waiting for me, inevitably, was a bizarre message from comedian Bob Slayer. He has just come back to the UK from Norway.

Bob Slayer (left), naked atop a Norwegian caravan

Bob Slayer (left), naked atop a Norwegian caravan – of course (photograph by the Norwegian comedian Christer Torjussen)

“They said at Oslo Airport,” Bob told me, “that I couldn’t take a bottle of wine onto a plane. I disagreed. I showed them I could take it onto a plane in my tummy. I opened it up and drank it at airport security. It is quite a nice place to hang out and have a tipple.

“I am now trying to get back from Leicester, but I got on the wrong train. thus turning a one hour journey into a three hour journey…  In other news, I can report that the Corby trouser press in my Holiday Inn room was less effective at re-heating last night’s kebab than I thought it would be.”

The great and the good of Edinburgh have allowed him to run a bar in his new Bob’s Bookshop venue at the Edinburgh Fringe next month. I am not necessarily convinced this is a good idea.

In the title of this blog, I included the words: WHY BOB SLAYER WAS NAKED IN NORWAY.

In fact, I have no idea why he was pictured naked, standing on top of a caravan in Norway. I suspect neither does he – nor does the good Lord.

Some things have – and, indeed, require – no sane explanation.

They just are.

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Filed under Comedy, Humor, Humour, Norway, UK

Comedian Paul B.Edwards on the UK’s crisis in comedy and The Helsinki Bus Station Theory of how to build a career

Paul B.Edwards in Borehamwood yesterday

Paul B.Edwards in Borehamwood yesterday

Tomorrow, Paul B.Edwards’ Last Minute Comedy Club in Hitchin celebrates its 20th anniversary. He also runs comedy clubs in Letchworth, Luton and Baldock.

“People have been complaining about a ‘crisis’ in comedy,” I said to him yesterday, “with people not going to live clubs.”

“Well, my clubs are part of a huge squeezed middle,” he told me. “People at the very top are doing very well with their tours on the back of TV appearances. Michael McIntyre made more money than the Rolling Stones last year touring. But TV is making famous other people who aren’t ready.

“If people go and see ‘the funniest bloke they’ve ever seen on the telly’ live in a theatre and he actually isn’t very funny and he’s ‘the funniest person’ they’ve ever seen, what is the point of them going to a comedy club where they’ve never heard of anybody? It’s stopped new people coming to see live stand-up comedy.

“My single biggest problem is the falling number of people under the age of 30. Audiences are getting older, certainly in the sort of provincial clubs I’ve got.

“The comedy circuits are diverging. There’s a whole young Daniel Sloss audience who have never heard of Ian Cognito and vice versa. You’ve got kids going to see shows performed by kids. And adults seeing shows with adults in. And party types going to see Jongleurs-style shows. And people who really believe in stand-up comedy going to see shows in rooms in the back of pubs, like it always was and is supposed to be.

“You have five or six diverging circuits and very few people can work on all of them, which means all of our audiences have gone down as the number of clubs has expanded. There are more and more clubs around, but there are less and less people suitable for each type of club.

“Add to that an economic recession when existing audiences have tightened their belts and, instead of coming once-a-month or once-a-week, they come once-every-other-month or once-a-fortnight… You’ve halved the audience straight away and you’re not getting new people.

“It used to be that, when I got an article in the local Hitchin Comet newspaper, I would get 30 extra people at my club. Now it make no difference whatsoever unless the photograph is of someone people have seen on the telly.”

“So you have been affected by the economic recession?” I asked.

“My Hitchin show halved in numbers,” said Paul, “but I didn’t really know why. The audiences had always been great to the point they’d queue out into the car park to get in. Suddenly it was down to just over 100 people and I didn’t know why.”

“Did this happen in 2008 with the economic recession?” I asked.

“It took a little while to drop – maybe 2009,” replied Paul. “But now, to the current recession, you have to add the ‘Michael McIntyre’ effect, the big arena tours, the TV panel game effect. I think any one of those the comedy circuit would have survived but the fact they all happened at the same time halved audiences. Clubs shut. Anyone who says they didn’t suffer or aren’t suffering is a fucking liar.

“Every time one audience member doesn’t go to a comedy club, they may save themselves £10 but, collectively, if 100 people save themselves £10, the club loses £1,000.

“I didn’t know what to do until Peppa Pig showed up.”

“Peppa Pig?” I asked.

No, no… Not that Peppa Pig

No… Not that Peppa Pig… The one with a computer database

“Peppa Pig is this girl who came to my show in Letchworth. The audience there used to be 120; but it had dropped to 80. That was alright. I figured it was a newer club and a smaller drop – though still a 33% drop.

“At all my clubs, I always go down to the the pub afterwards with the audience – from the minute they get to the gig, I’m their mate as well as their host. She came up to me afterwards and we got talking. Peppa Pig said: Is there anything I can do to help? I market local events for people putting things on. At the weekend, she gets dressed up as Peppa Pig and goes round children’s parties. She works in schools, all sorts of things.

“I asked What do you want? She said: I don’t want anything at all. I want the club to keep going and I can help.

“I had no idea what she could do to help. But she has a database that I’ve never heard of and they’ve never heard of me – namely young parents… Young people who had not been to my comedy clubs, who don’t get out very often but who plan a babysitter for once a month and go out. She told them: Come to comedy.

“Overnight, Letchworth was sold out, Hitchin was selling out… This was in January.”

“Last year?” I asked.

“This year,” Paul said. “It’s only just happened. The numbers had dropped virtually overnight. Now they recovered virtually overnight – simply by someone reaching a group of people I couldn’t reach. Full houses. Paul’s happy again.”

And now Paul has expanded into Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Paul’s Oslo Comedy Club

Paul has been expanding into Scandinavia

He has opened comedy clubs in OsloGothenburg and, as of next month, Copenhagen.

“I take two comics out there,” Paul told me yesterday. “It’s 100% English-speaking-as-a-first-language at the moment, but that may change as there are quite a lot of local comics who want to do comedy in English. At the moment, there’s quite an exciting comedy scene in Oslo of people who can’t get booked because the main club there has made themselves a sort-of closed shop. So there’s all these new comics coming through who have hit a glass ceiling and have nowhere to play.”

“Much the same thing happened in Scotland,” I said. “But making a career out of comedy has never been easy.”

“Do you know the Helsinki Bus Station Theory?” Paul asked me.

“No,” I said, mystified.

“If you want a successful creative career,” explained Paul, “you have to understand the timetabling and bus routes of Helsinki Bus Station.

“Helsinki Bus Station has about 25 or 26 different routes going to 25 or 26 different destinations, but there’s only one road into Helsinki Bus Station and only one road out. For the first kilometre, all the buses are on the same road.

“When you first start off, you start off thinking you’re having creatively original ideas, but you’re not having creatively original ideas because you don’t realise everyone’s having the same ideas as you. If you look out of the window, there are 25 other buses going along exactly the same road.

“But, after one kilometre, the buses start to move off in different directions. The the only way you can have a successful career is to Stay on the fucking bus. The longer you stay on the bus, the more likely you are to eventually reach that unique place that only you are going to.

“Other people are getting off the bus too early until, eventually, there’s only you and the driver.

Stay on the fucking bus – That’s the Helsinki Bus Station Theory.

“As a stand-up comic, I’m not famous yet and I may never be famous, but I’m staying on the fucking bus.”

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Filed under Comedy, Denmark, Norway, Sweden