Tag Archives: Ann Summers

Chocolate genitalia from comedian Matt Price. Odd sex tips from critic Copstick.

Things you can buy for £1 in Poundland - two cartons of milk. (This become relevant later)

Things you can buy for £1 in Poundland – two cartons of milk. (This honestly becomes much more relevant later in this blog)

This is the final day of the Edinburgh Fringe and, as is traditional, it is a Bank Holiday in England, but not in Scotland. This means that, in Scotland, all the shops are open and it is a normal working day… except that the banks are closed.

You may want to read that paragraph again.

You did not mis-read it.

Yes. It is not a Bank Holiday and everywhere is open except the banks.

This does not seem odd in Edinburgh in August.

I saw a man dressed as a showgirl talking to a medieval monk outside a church last week.

Morning glory: Claire Smith on her iPhone + Matt Price thinks of sausages

Claire Smith on her iPhone and Matt Price thinks of sausages

And I am posting this after having had breakfast with comedian Matt Price and Scotsman journalist Claire Smith.

To brighten up their mornings, they have been asking people round to share sausages with them.

“I went through a phase,” Matt told me, “of taking a toy fish out onto the stage with me. When you start out as a comic, you assume anyone who contributes – like a heckler – is a threat. But they’re not. Sometimes they might be just thinking out loud. Sometimes they may be just eccentric.

“The fish became a good device for dealing with hecklers. If someone heckled me, I would say: Look, what you said wasn’t bad. But would you like to do it a second time and this time you have to do it holding a fish? It created a certain dynamic in the room and I’ve seen grown men start quivering. It was great fun: just playing around with the audience. You learn how to embrace hecklers rather than be frightened of them.

“I used to be scared of the audience. I was always very self-conscious until one day Martha (Matt’s partner) said to me: Why don’t you learn to love the audience? Why don’t you learn to accept that they maybe don’t hate you: maybe they’re there to have a good time. 

“And it was like flipping a switch. It changed almost immediately.”

At The Grouchy Club yesterday: a bad selfie of Coptick and me

I am an innocent at large in Grouchy Club with Kate Copstick

Matt and Claire were at yesterday’s final Grouchy Club show at the Edinburgh Fringe, in which critic Kate Copstick and I basically gossiped with comedians.

Yesterday, four genuine members of the ‘real’ public had inexplicably wandered in thinking they were seeing a totally different show. Also in the audience were sundry comedians, the head of the Stage newspaper’s Fringe review team, someone possibly pretending not to be from The British Comedy Guide and a Greek physicist; I have no explanation.

Matt Price chocolate cocks Kate Copstick

Kate Copstick examined Matt Price’s left-over comedy props

Matt’s first words yesterday, as he delved into a bag containing giant pink edible chocolate penises, were: “I’m not being crude, but…”

He explained: “My show is about self-assertion and I went into Ann Summers to buy some props for the show and the woman persuaded me to buy fifty giant pink edible chocolate penises. So I have loads of cocks. You’re very welcome. They’re really good quality. I’m sick of edible cocks. You’re welcome. Just, please… I’ve had enough. I’ve genuinely had enough. There’s 900 calories in each one of these,” said Matt.

“But,” said mind-reader Doug Segal, “if you’re practical, you can work off some of those calories.”

Kate Copstick eats chocolate cock

Kate Copstick sampling chocolate yesterday

Copstick sampled the product, saying: “It’s nicer than it looks,” but then started to choke and cough.

“They’re £9,” said Matt.

“Why on earth do you have so many left?” asked Doug.

“I over-anticipated,” said Matt.

Copstick had another attempt at sampling the product.

“It looks like Christmas morning,” said comic Matt Roper  (not to be confused with Matt Price) without explanation.

Copstick started coughing again. When she recovered, she said:

A rival to Ann Summers in Edinburgh

Poundland: a rival to Ann Summers’ sex shops in Edinburgh?

“Oddly enough, I’ve just been across to Poundland (a chain of shops where everything is priced at £1) and the thing with it is you have to keep going because you never know what is going to be there. It’s like a charity shop: you never know when something wonderful is going to come in.

“Today in Poundland,” she continued, rummaging in a bag, “I got vibrators and vibrating cock rings.”

She produced one of each.

There was controlled uproar and some disbelief in the room.

Kate Copstick with vibrator and cock ring

Kate Copstick’s discoveries from Poundland

“One pound each!” said Copstick.

“With batteries?” asked the Greek physicist.

“No, not with the batteries,” replied Copstick. “But I work a lot with commercial sex workers in Kenya and any time I can give the girls who want to stay as commercial sex workers any toys that they can use on the guys for bargaining… You can’t force a man to use a condom, but you can persuade him to wear one. If they try to force him to use one, the guy will just rape them and run away…

“Yesterday (at the Grouchy Club), I was talking about how I taught them about peppermint blow jobs and poor man’s champagne blow jobs.”

“What is a peppermint blow job?” asked Matt Roper.

“You get your girlfriend,” explained Copstick, “to either spread a little peppermint toothpaste over the inside of her mouth – or a mouthwash – and then, when she gives the blow job, it’s all tingly.”

“In Poundland,” I said, “you can get toothpaste for £1. It really is the poor man’s Ann Summers.”

“For the poor man’s champagne blow job,” said Copstick, “you just use beer instead of champagne and the bubbles kind of tickle.”

“It’s a great way to get a yeast infection,” said an anonymous voice from the audience.

Yesterday’s quickly-made logo

The chat show with comedians that provides oh so much more

That was just the start of The Grouchy Club’s final free Edinburgh show. Later we got on to the contest to find Edinburgh’s best Lewis Schaffer impersonator.

Claire Smith won.

Her prize was a Poundland vibrator.

“What have you done with it?” I asked her this morning. “Have you mounted it on the mantelpiece?”

“I think I might get some batteries,” she replied.

“And what’s next for you?” I asked Matt.

“No fish and no confectionary-based humour,” he told me. “It’s too stressful. I need to move on.”

“There is talk of a monthly London Grouchy Club – a venue has been suggested – and we have been approached by a pay venue to do the daily show again at next year’s Edinburgh Fringe – though I am not sure how a pay-to-enter show would work.

Perhaps we could get sponsored by Ann Summers or Poundland.

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Why performer Juliette Burton will dress as a Muslim woman, go naked and become a man with a very ‘big package’

Juliette Burton

Juliette Burton will cover up and strip off

Next Tuesday and Wednesday, Juliette Burton is performing her 2013 Edinburgh Fringe show When I Grow Up show at the Leicester Square Theatre in London and then she is immediately going off to tour Australia with it.

This morning she told me: “I just found out yesterday that I’m getting funding from the Arts Council towards the cost of research and development on my next show Look at Me.”

“Because?” I asked.

“Because it’s all about body diversity, body confidence and the celebration of difference. It questions whether who we appear to be is who we are and whether we can change who we are on the inside by changing who we seem to be on the outside.”

“For When I Grow Up,” I said, “you pre-shot lots of video inserts and interviews with various people.”

“Yes,” said Juliette. “And that’s what the funding is going towards on the new show this year: things like prosthetics.”

“So this year, for Look at Me…?” I asked.

“I will be dressing more and more provocatively,” explained Juliette, “to see – if a woman does dress provocatively – if she is going to get unwanted attention from men.”

“You read what Kate Copstick said in that controversial chat show I had at the Edinburgh Fringe last August?” I said.

“I think some interesting points were made,” Juliette said carefully.

“Some people,” I said, “thought Copstick said women were ‘asking for it’ if they dress provocatively…”

Juliette stalked Prince Harry this week

For her When I Grow Up show, Juliette tried to marry Prince Harry by stalking him: she failed

“That’s what I’m finding out,” said Juliette. “But, to counteract that – to see if there is any substance to that – for another part of the show, I’m going to be wearing the hijab.

“I’ve been working with the Muslim Women’s Association of Edinburgh to make sure I do that in a sensitive and informed way, rather than in an Islamophobic way.”

“What are you going to do?” I asked. “Just wander around the streets?”

“With all of these appearances,” said Juliette, “I’m going to be spending some time in context – somewhere you might expect to see someone dressing in that way – and then somewhere it might appear to be a bit strange. So you might find it strange to see a woman wearing a hijab in an Ann Summers shop.”

I laughed.

“But why is that strange?” Juliette shot back. “Women wearing the hijab have every right to be in an Ann Summers shop.”

“My eternally-un-named friend has a burka,” I said, trying to be helpful.

“I’ve already got one,” replied Juliette.

“But, as well as the hijab in your show…” I prompted.

“There are prosthetics,” said Juliette. “I will become a man. Not only dress as a man. The prosthetics will turn me into a man with facial hair and, I hope, a big ‘package’.”

“A big package???” I asked.

Can this woman be turned into a man?

Can this woman be turned into a man?

“Well,” said Juliette, “I don’t quite know how, but I’ve got a very talented prosthetics make-up artist called Sarah Jane.

“I would like to find out what it’s like to be a man and whether men really are more empowered or maybe actually it’s really scary being a man. I have no idea. I need a mentor, John. You can teach me how to be a man.”

“More like a grandfather,” I said ruefully.

“That’s the next thing in the show,” said Juliette. “Age. I’m going to age into a much older version of myself using prosthetics. A lot of women of 60+ who I’ve spoken to in interviews for the show have told me they felt when they hit 40 they suddenly became invisible and that only increased as they got older. I’m a bit scared I might end up looking like my mum but, then, why would I be scared by that? My mum’s gorgeous. It’s just that thing of you never expect to turn into your mother.”

“It would be more frightening if I turned into my mother,” I suggested.

“Then, after the ageing process,” continued Juliette, “I will be revisiting my obese self. All the rest are interesting and fun and different, but I am quite nervous about this one. When I became obese, it was because of Compulsive Overeating Disorder – having been anorexic and then also experiencing bulimia. I was a size 4 from anorexia and then a size 20 from compulsive overeating.”

“Maybe it will be cathartic and give you closure,” I suggested.

“Maybe,” said Juliette. “I would love to be able to find some comfort in it. I will have an obese costume to wear. The whole point of the show is If I’m changing my appearance this dramatically, can I really still remain myself?

Starkers starters with a prophetic message

Members of the London Naked Bike Ride

“And then, finally, I will be going nude in two different ways, because I’m not sure which one will make it into the show. I’ve had a couple of meetings with the organiser of the London Naked Bike Ride…”

“Was he naked?” I asked.

“Interestingly,” said Juliette, “he wasn’t. He wore a bowler hat, a waistcoat, shirt, tie, jacket, trousers and overcoat. He was very very clothed.”

“It sounds,” I said, “like you may have dropped through a rip in the fabric of time into 1958.”

“And then,” said Juliette, ignoring me, “the other way I’ll be having a nude experience to see whether it makes a difference will be working with Mat Fraser. He has said I can perform at his Sleaze club night and he’s suggested I try to put together a performance routine where it’s maybe something about stripping away layers: a burlesque performance that’s less about sex and more about body confidence.”

“You could use prosthetics and take your face off, like in Mission Impossible,” I suggested.

“I’m thinking of maybe using the obese costume,” explained Juliette, “but, instead of stripping it away, I will maybe put it on and be sexy within it. Or maybe changing from a man into a woman by taking off the prosthetics. I’m hoping to get a couple of burlesque tutors and Mat says he’ll teach me ‘nudity comfort’.

“Everyone I’ve talked to for the show has these incredibly beautiful stories and experiences within them that you just cannot tell from first appearances.

Juliette filming with Adam Pearson

Juliette Burton filming with Adam Pearson for Look At Me

“There’s a guy called Adam Pearson who has neurofibromatosis, a condition where his nerve-endings continue to grow, so he is facially – for want of a better word – deformed. But he is an incredible guy. He is passionate, very funny. He’s actually starring in a film with Scarlett Johansson soon. Everyone is incredible.

“I interviewed Leo Gormley, who has horrific burns he received when he was 14 and in an awful petrol fire. But he escaped and it’s amazing his body recovered from that. We need to honour our bodies more for what they CAN do and not for their imperfections.

“I’ve also interviewed people who look completely ‘regulation’ – I don’t like the word ‘normal’ any more – but they may have a hidden illness.

“So I’ve spoken to two men currently battling cancer. To look at them, you can’t tell at all. One has a body which, because of the treatment, is being overwhelmed with oestrogen hormones which is changing his body in ways he never expected. Another girl looks beautiful, gorgeous, healthy and well but she has cystic fibrosis and is terminally ill and coughs up blood.

Juliette photographed looking in a mirror - What is real?

A photograph of Juliette photographed looking into a mirror – Which is real?

“She and I both, for different reasons, hate it when people say Oh, you look well. It’s hard when people project something onto you – not vomit but an idea – an idea of something they want you to be. Oh, you look like you’re having fun!… Well, don’t assume anything about anybody. Maybe ask them how they are feeling, rather than project onto them – again, not vomit. Unless you’re very drunk.”

“And all this filming, highly-edited,” I said, “will be in the show.”

“And I’ll be posting videos on YouTube in the run-up to the Edinburgh Fringe.”

“And,” I said, “like last year there will be a song and a music video?”

“Yes,” said Juliette. “We’ve written the song already, It’s very catchy.”

“I don’t doubt it,” I said.

… CONTINUED HERE … AND JULIETTE EXPLAINS MORE ABOUT HER NEW SHOW ON YOUTUBE

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