Tag Archives: blood

I think my body may be starting to fall apart. Perhaps leeches are the answer.

Yesterday was a hotchpotch of a day, starting with the unsettling news that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il had died. There may be more about this in my blog in four or five months time.

I have been hobbling a bit every since a humorous incident last month in which my left foot got stuck in a Wellington boot in a shoe shop and the Wellington had to be cut off me with a large pair of scissors. Before that, there had been much pulling by various people of my toes and heel with the result that the outside edge of my left heel has, ever since, been painful when I stand on it in my bare feet, though not when I wear shoes. But it has now started to occasionally be painful in shoes, too, so I guess I will have to go to my GP and maybe try to get it X-rayed. Two visits to my osteopath have not cured the problem, which he thinks is caused by problems in my toes, not my heel.

The humorous Wellington boot incident happened on 10th November; it is now 20th December. I have had problems ever since.

When you are younger, you think old people move slower because it is in their nature. As you get older, you realise it is often because of pain or the anticipation of pain.

Now there is something for me to look forward to.

Well, it seems I don’t even have to look forward. It is here.

My left shoulder is also giving me occasional pain after a visit to an osteopath (not my own) who was going cheap in a Daily Telegraph offer. She poked and prodded the flat stretch between my left shoulder and neck, which was damaged when I was hit by a large truck while standing on the pavement in 1991 – or was it 1990?- I can’t be bothered to check – and it has been more painful since then.

I think I was born too early.

The 19th century was all about mechanical inventions. The 20th century was electrical and electronic advances. The 21st century looks set to be an era of biological discoveries and advancement.

I was born too early.

John Ward with some Malcolm Hardee Awards for Comedy

I was thinking this yesterday lunchtime and then mad John Ward, designer of the three annual Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards and eccentric inventor of bizarre contraptions, e-mailed to tell me he had designed the ultimate bird table and I could see it on YouTube.

I think it has some echo of the villain’s lair in The Spy Who Loved Me crossed with the Martian tripods in War of The Worlds – someone else who saw it just thought it might attract foxes.

Perhaps the 21st century will not be all biology.

Perhaps eccentricity will proliferate.

I then had to go to hospital to have a minor operation: the surgical removal of two growths – well, OK, two little bobbly things were cut off my skin by a highly-trained and I presume highly-paid consultant with a scalpel. He is, in all seriousness, professionally called a ‘Lumps & Bumps’ consultant and, like 50% of doctors, has a good sense of humour.

One of the lumps – well, as I said, it was more like a little bobbly thing of soft flesh – has been growing on the side of my neck for a couple of years or so; the other has been growing, mini-mushroom-like, on the inside of my upper left leg like my body was trying to grow a second, more impressive penis (not difficult) beside the original one.

I don’t know which was more embarrassing: having the two bobbly things sliced off or having the consultant comment unfavourably on my bright yellow socks.

As this happened in a private hospital, we (my accompanying friend and I) were given tea and two Quality Street chocolates afterwards by the very amiable Irish nurse who told me that, if you give blood in Edgware, they give you cup of tea, a sandwich of your choice and crisps. As I have shamefully not given blood for about three years, this is tempting.

Blood transfusion centres used to just give you a cup of tea and a selection of biscuits. Things are looking up, though my friend opined she has never fully understood why doctors stopped using leeches and ‘bleeding’ patients on a regular basis.

For hundreds of years, people seemed to think that it was an effective and positively healthy thing to do. Can they really all have been wrong?

She may have a point, but where can one get leeches nowadays?

On a more 21st century subject, she discovered her O2 dongle does not work with Apple’s new Lion operating system because O2 have not pulled their finger out and updated their system. The Lion OS has been in use for months and O2 has sold customers dongles that no longer work. There may be biological advances in the 21st century but one thing seems likely to remain the same – all British telecom companies are equal.

‘Incompetent wankers’ seems to be the suitable phrase which covers this.

When I got home after the (admittedly not what anyone could call major) operation and the major trauma of realising O2 is selling products which do not work, I was almost immediately phoned by Adrian ‘Nosey’ Wigley: always a cheerily uplifting experience. I do not think we have talked this century, though I did mention him at the end of a blog a couple of months ago.

I booked him on a few TV programmes in the 1980s and/or the 1990s to showcase his impressive talent for playing Spanish Eyes on an electric organ with his nose.

His nose has not lost its musical ability and I am surprised he has not popped up on Britain’s Got Talent.

He lives in Brownhills in the West Midlands which, when last I heard, was home to several Guinness world record holders.

I think it’s the tedium that gets to them.

I hope, in the 21st century, it is eccentricity which proliferates.

Life can be so uneventful.

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Filed under Eccentrics, Health, Medical

Surreal cult comedian Charlie Chuck – balancing on the cusp of a big change

I spent an afternoon with comedian Charlie Chuck this week. Mad, bad and dangerous to know. Staring eyes. Shouting. A plank of wood in his hand. Talking gibberish with occasional mentions of a donkey. That’s Charlie Chuck on stage.

Whenever people hear that I know him, the inevitable question is:

“How dangerous is he?”

The answer is Not at all.

Off stage, he is a lovely, gentle person. He is a Christian.

In the early 1990s, I was up at the Edinburgh Fringe with the then-relatively-unknown Charlie Chuck. He was playing at new Venue 45 in Old St Paul’s Church, hidden away under the North Bridge and, with an unknown venue and a relatively unknown comic, audience figures were – at best – variable. He was thinking of giving up and going home. My advice to him then was – and to anyone at any time is:

“It’s the Fringe. Even if you have an audience of one person or no audience at all, play the gig and play the full run of the show because you don’t know who may be in the audience or who may turn up.”

A few days later, there were only four people in the audience. Charlie Chuck performed the show. Two of the audience members were preparing an upcoming BBC TV series The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer and, as a direct result, Charlie Chuck was cast as ‘Uncle Peter’ in the series.

Well, in fact, there was no ‘Uncle Peter’ character created; they just shot the established Charlie Chuck act. Personally, I have always thought they ripped him off and took the script credit.

Now Charlie Chuck, under his real name of David Kear, has just finished filming a small role in a short film Teddy starring Sally Carman of Channel 4’s Shameless and directed by Rebecca Papworth who won the 2011 UK Film Council/ CTBF John Brabourne Award. It was a straight acting role played with his trademark hair slicked back.

He came down to London to talk to me about his Edinburgh Fringe show this year, still called Charlie Chuck’s Laughter Lounge but now – like many a Fringe show – somewhat unlike its description in the Fringe Programme. It will include two guest comics each night and it may or may not also include snippets of a ‘testimony’ show called Charlie Chuck’s Guide to the Universe which he had been going to perform at Old St Paul’s Church this year but which he will now develop for the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe – either as a play or as a one-man show.

This year’s show in SpaceCabaret @ 54 will be his traditional surreal mayhem and non-sequiters and, I suspect, much talk of ducks and donkeys and waving around of a plank will be involved.

Charlie Chuck’s Guide to the Universe next year will be about why he is a Christian, the effect on him of his father’s death and about how, by changing your perception, you can change your reality.

“Do you know,” he asked me, “that you grow a new stomach lining every three days? Our entire blood renews itself every three or four months. You get a new liver every six months and a new heart every six months.” But he could not resist adding: “An apple pie could be part of your back leg by next week.”

Charlie Chuck certainly seems to be on the cusp of a big change. But I think bits of surrealism may hang on in there.

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Is “Killer Bitch” worse than hardcore pornography and what does the dead poet William Blake know about it?

The actor Jack Nicholson said of film censorship: “The reality is, if you suck a tit, you’re an X, but if you cut it off with a sword, you’re a PG.”

As if the power of the tabloid press to overcome common sense and logic needed to be proved, consider the case of the movie Killer Bitch. (I was always a fan of early Roger Corman movies…)

This much-pre-publicised modern-day B-movie was attacked before it was even finished as “vile” porn by newspapers from London to Sydney to New York to New Delhi (yes, literally those places) by journalists who had never seen even a single frame of it. Indeed, the attacks started in the News of the World just two weeks after shooting began: subsequent news reports assumed what had been written the the News of the World was true.

Despite this, when the movie was eventually submitted to the British Board of Film Classification (the UK film censors), I didn’t actually expect much of a problem. It was a  low-budget film, so there was no wildly explicit gore – lots of fake blood but no OTT gore, no bullets exploding on bodies, no exploding heads – and the sex, it seemed to me, though much hyped, was not especially explicit – not by current standards.

There IS a sequence in the film which shows actual sexual intercourse but it was edited soft-core and is far less explicit than many a Hollywood studio movie. Almost everything that is seen to happen in Killer Bitch had been passed by the BBFC in a more extreme and more realistic form in previous films and, since 2002, the BBFC have in fact been passing hardcore sex scenes for general distribution. Why the Daily Mail has never picked up on this as a sign of the utter disintegration of British moral culture I don’t know. I think the BBFC started doing it so quietly that, by the time the Daily Mail twigged, it was old news and not worth attacking.

As it turned out, though, there were major problems with the British film censors over Killer Bitch. We were told the BBFC was very concerned at the “content of the movie” and it was screened at least four times to various combinations of censors, eventually including the Chairman of the Board. I suspect it was just a case of a movie with a high-profile tabloid reputation being referred-up because each person was too scared to take the risk of passing it himself/herself…. At one point, a BBFC Examiner sent an e-mail to the UK distributor saying it was “more likely than not” that there would be several cuts.

I was amazed when I found out what they claimed the problem was. We were told there were two areas of concern:

The first was a glimpse of part of the erect shaft of porn star Ben Dover’s penis at the beginning of the movie. This gobsmacked me. Apart from the fact neither the director nor I had ever noticed this and the censors must have gone through it frame by frame with a magnifying glass (no reflection on Ben Dover), I have still never spotted the offending shot in the movie. The BBFC have been giving 18 certificates to hard core sex scenes (erect penises; visible sexual penetration) since 2002. This was, apparently, a glimpse of part of a shaft.

The second problem was the scene which had got the tabloids worldwide into such a tizzy when (without ever having seen it) they had denounced it as a ghastly and “vile” rape scene. What the BBFC was worried about was not the actual sex scene itself (which was not a rape scene at all) but the pre-amble to the sex scene, in which leading lady Yvette Rowland initially resists Alex Reid then melts in his arms.

I understand the BBFC’s worry to an extent though, really, it’s not much more than 1950s/1960s James Bond sexism – a rugged hero takes woman roughly in arms; kisses her; she resists very briefly then melts in his mouth. Arguably sexist, but repeated a thousand times in other movies: hardly a hanging offence. Especially considering what the BBFC have been passing uncut since 2002. This is one description by  critic (not by me) of Willem Dafoe’s 2009 arthouse film Antichrist which was passed uncut by the BBFC:

“After knocking him unconscious, Gainsbourg bores a hole in Dafoe’s leg with a hand drill and bolts him to a grindstone to keep him from escaping. Then, she smashes his scrotum with some sort of blunt object (the moment of impact happens slightly below the frame). We don’t actually see his testicles become disengaged from this body, though it’s implied. Next, she brings him to a climax with her hands and he ejaculates blood (yes, it’s shown). But that’s not all! Later, in an extreme closeup — lensed by Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle! — Gainsbourg cuts off her own clitoris with a pair of scissors.”

The girl’s masturbation of the erect penis is in close-up and is real plus it’s an erect penis that is ejaculating blood.

Killer Bitch and Ben Dover’s imperceptibly-glimpsed bit of shaft should almost get a U if Antichrist gets an 18…

There IS a rape scene in Killer Bitch (which in no way glamorises nor diminishes the horror but it is not the scene the tabloids got into a tizz about). And someone DOES get his cock cut off in vision. But apparently neither of these scenes worried the censors.

What seems to have worried them was the movie’s reputation. It worried everyone. It was, ironically, passed uncut by the BBFC, but banned from display on the shelves of ASDA, Morrison’s, Sainsbury, WH Smith, Tesco and others (although most of those sell it online). It was even withdrawn by iTunes after two days on sale for rather vague reasons. HMV remained a sole beacon of high street retail sanity and online retailers like Amazon and Play.com never had any problem.

Is the movie Killer Bitch really so much worse than hardcore pornography? Or did tabloid perception overcome reality?

William Blake wrote: “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is.”

But, then, what the fuck did William Blake know about anything?

Although he did know a lot about dreams… and I do think it’s slightly odd no-one has noticed Killer Bitch can be seen as an OTT surreal dream by the heroine who may or may not awake, terrified, from unconsciousness early in the movie.

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Filed under Comedy, Crime, Movies, Sex