So I got an email from Malcolm Hardee Award winning comic Becky Fury. It read:
“Do you want to do a blog about this creepy clown sex cult that I narrowly avoided joining?”
Well, obviously, there is only one answer to a question like that.
I was, to an extent, however, literally laid low with a spinal problem, so the ever-plucky Becky – rather than talk to me over Skype – decided to risk the wild uncertainties of train travel by Thameslink and the physical risks posed by my coughing fits and nose sniffles to come up to my home in Borehamwood.
This is how the conversation went…
JOHN: A clown sex cult?
BECKY: There was a clowning course. All sex cults need a good USP.
JOHN: How did you find them?
BECKY: He found me.
BECKY: The guru.
JOHN: There’s a guru?
BECKY: Of course. All sex cults need a guru.
JOHN: And his selling point as a Messiah is…?
BECKY: That he has a clown school in a European city.
(NOTE TO READERS – THIS IS NOT, REPEAT NOT, IN PARIS)
BECKY: It seemed to have lots of interesting teachers. But I started getting suspicious when he started offering me a very reduced fee. Also I did an interview online and he wanted to re-name me.
JOHN: To what name?
BECKY: (LAUGHS) Miss Behave.
JOHN: (LAUGHS) Did you point out there is already a well-established Miss Behave?
BECKY: I didn’t want to give him any more information.
JOHN: But you wanted to be a clown?
BECKY: No. That’s the thing. I didn’t want to be a clown and certainly not using the name of someone who was already using that name. I had wanted to learn some techniques. There are always interesting things you can learn from people who are masters of their arts. But he sent me a list of classes that would take place and they included things like ‘Oil Massage’ which I thought maybe should not be on the syllabus for a Clown Course.
JOHN: Maybe all clown courses have it… Maybe Gaulier in Paris has a…
BECKY: No, I don’t think his is a sex cult; more a hate cult.
JOHN: Well, he allegedly breaks you down to build you up. A bit like Charles Manson.
BECKY: Well, this clown cult guy kept re-using the term ‘Family’… and also the word ‘polyamory’. The guy is from the 1960s, so he’s the sort of guy that took a load of acid, ’freaked out’, then became a ‘clown’.
JOHN: I still don’t understand how you got into this. You saw an ad somewhere?
BECKY: No. he found me. He was a Facebook Friend and he contacted me and said he was interested in stuff he had seen I was doing and he thought maybe I would want to attend his course. It all seemed very innocent to start with. But I said I didn’t think I could afford £3,000 for the month’s course. So he said: “What about £1,500? It’s not about the money; it’s about who we get on the course.”
And then he dropped the cost again and I thought: Well, what’s the exchange here? What am I going to have to do? How am I going to be paying?
This was just before the Edinburgh Fringe, so I was very distracted. He kept asking me to go on the course, then I got one last message from him and then suddenly I got contacted by another woman who was a clown and it turned out she was his wife. And she was saying: “Well, actually, it’s going to be £3,000.”
So I think I had done something to piss him off. And then there were some other women he was involved with. And then there was an email from another woman basically accusing him of being exactly what I thought he was: that he was this kind of very controlling guru who basically got lots of weak women to come to what was billed as a clown course but basically it was a sex cult.
JOHN: But you are only surmising.
JOHN: What was the ‘sell’?
BECKY: He said he wanted to direct me in a show and then have me go round Europe saying, “I am the protégée of (HIS NAME),” and all his clown mates would think: That sexy woman? What a fucking man he is! He’s moulded this woman; she’s doing his bidding. It’s a big male ego trip and I’ve had that before. There was another older comedian – a British one. His thing was he wanted me to be his protégée and have everybody saying about him: “Oh! Wow!”
This recent guy was wanting to change what I was doing. I said: “No. I do comedy… I don’t want to go round Europe doing ‘clowning’. I want to go on the course and learn interesting techniques that I can put into what I do… not be something that you’ve created.”
JOHN: What’s the difference between Comedy and Clowning?
BECKY: Well, you can use aspects of clowning in comedy. It’s just that heightened quality of performance… Well, it’s basically just fucking around, isn’t it?
JOHN: Can I quote that?
BECKY: Yeah. That’s all it is. That’s another reason I didn’t go. I’ve done bits of clowning before and really all it is is just fucking about. You need to get yourself in the zone of just fucking about. There are courses on how to be ‘stupid’ and how to ‘uncover your inner fool’. But all of these things are about remembering how to play. And that’s what comedians do. They play – mainly with language a lot of the time.
I’m kinda fed up with these older men wanting to use me to be some kind of extension of themselves.
JOHN: To create through you.
JOHN: Those who can do and those who can’t manipulate.
BECKY: They end up using you as a vessel for their thwarted youth – and they get off on it as well, because it’s a male thing. I’ve had this before. I’ve already had that one guru. He did a lot of stuff that was very manipulative and controlling. A lot of the time with these old men that go out with younger women, the reason they do it is some inadequacy of theirs that they don’t want women of their own age to pick up on. So they’ll go for women that are young and naive who think: Oh, wow! This guy is really sorted! when, actually, he’s just a dickhead.
I’m not making any moral judgment. I think it’s just an interesting aspect of humanity.
JOHN: Randy men?
BECKY: Randy clowns.
JOHN: You could have formed a double act: Randy & Miss Behave 2.
BECKY: In a way I would like to have had time to find out what was actually going in the clown sex cult.
BECKY: Unfortunately we only have a finite amount of time on this planet and I have a new comedy show to write for the Leicester Comedy Festival. Anyway, after all that, I never heard from him again.
JOHN: Perhaps you will. Perhaps, one day, there will be a knock on your door and standing there will be a man in a red nose wearing long floppy shoes and beeping a horn at you.
BECKY: Mmmm… Different type of clown.