Tag Archives: dog

One man talks to his sad-looking dog

Not the Alsatian dog on the train

Not the sad-looking Alsatian dog on the train

I was travelling in a train yesterday.

There was a man sitting at the other side of the carriage with a sad-looking Alsatian dog.

The man wore a dark, neat, very expensive business suit. He had short black curly hair and was clean. Very neat and clean. He was perhaps in his mid-thirties.

After we had gone one station, the man said to the dog:

“They’re all good and bad at the same time.”

The dog looked at him, as if the man were telling him there was no more dog food left in the world.

“Politicians,” the man explained to the dog. “They’re all brown. A warm brown.”

The dog looked at the man, then looked at me. His eyes were very sad.

The man looked at me with no expression in his eyes.

I looked at the dog.

“They are,” the man told me.

The dog looked at the man.

The man looked at the dog.

I looked at the empty seat opposite me.

The man and the dog left the train at the next station.

I have no explanation.

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Filed under Dogs, Surreal

Comedian Chris Dangerfield on his new Edinburgh show and starting up a sex business without the Chinese Triads.

(This was also published by Indian news site WSN)

Chris Dangerfield looks over his shoulder yesterday

Chris Dangerfield looking over his shoulder yesterday

SERIOUSLY… A SEVERE WARNING… REALLY:
This blog contains very sexually explicit material and should not be read if you find that sort of material offensive.

* * *

I met Chris Dangerfield for tea in London’s Soho yesterday.

When I arrived in Chinatown and phoned him, as arranged, at 5.00pm, he said “Hello, John,” and then put someone else on the line.

“Hello, John,” a female Chinese voice said.

“I’ll be five minutes,” said Chris.

When he arrived, he told me he had had eight hours sleep in the previous three days.

“You know Pam died?” he asked.

“Pam?” I asked.

“Pam. Beggar. Been round here twenty years. Stood as tall as your knee. Green hands from moving 2p coins in them. Gambling addict. She died. Died just before Christmas. Probably cancer. She had it. Was treated. And I only found out yesterday that she died. So that was a bit of a shock.”

“She was a tramp?” I asked.

“She lived in sheltered housing,” said Chris, “but she was a gambling addict. It’s all about addiction. Last time we spoke, I was on the way to rehab for my hideously re-occurring heroin addiction…”

“…for a weekend,” I added.

“Yeah,” said Chris, “well, it went on a bit longer than a weekend.”

“Did it work?”

“Yeah, I’m clean. Yeah. But I got a girlfriend and she’s been hit by a car and she’s in hospital. That’s why I’m kind of… I left her on Sunday and I found out this morning (Thursday) that’s she’s in hospital.”

“What happened?” I asked. “A broken leg?”

“I don’t know,” said Chris, “because I’m trying not to get too… I just don’t know, John. It’s all  very… new. So that’s why I’m a little bit… more confused than usual… I’m also trying to buy 50 kilos of silver off of someone… That’s another complication… I’m all up-in-the-air.”

“All a great source for comedy,” I suggested.

“I had an interesting phone call,” said Chris. “The Comedy Cafe phoned me and said If you can fill our venue, you can have 100% of the door. An interesting business model. I said What’s the capacity? They said A hundred people. So I’ll do an hour’s show there. I’ll get £800. I can fill it. I am very good at marketing these things.”

Coming soon – the last ever performance of his 2012 show

Coming soon – the last ever performance of this 2012 show

“When is this?” I asked.

“25th of April,” said Chris.

“You’ll manage that,” I said. “Are you doing last year’s Edinburgh Fringe show?”

“Yes. And it’ll be the last performance of it. The last time I ever perform Sex Tourist. So that’s also a selling point for it.”

“So things are going well?” I asked.

“Well, I’ve been asked back to Swansea,” said Chris.

“Whaaaat???” I reacted.

“I know,” said Chris. “It was a nightmare, a living nightmare last time. You blogged about it. I’ve been asked back by Richard Griffiths, the same person who booked me last time. He said I’m in demand down there. He rang me up and said £400 plus travel expenses.”

“Perhaps news of your nightmare has spread,” I suggested. “Did Richard Griffiths explain why he has had this mental aberration?”

“I don’t care,” said Chris. “£400 plus travel expenses to go down to Swansea and do a gig is OK by me. He’s got a different venue. I said I’ll do it. I want the money in advance. I’m not going all the way down to what is essentially a… a… well, I don’t even need to describe it. Everyone knows what Swansea’s like. I’m going to go down there and preview my new show, which is now called Enter The Dragon.”

“Because?” I asked.

“It’s about how I spent £150,000 – I’m done the maths now and it wasn’t £200,000 like I told you, it was only £150,000 – So it’s now called Enter The Dragon: How I Spent £150,000 on Chinese Prostitutes… sub-titled Looking For Love in All The Wong Places.”

“Aha,” I said.

“Now,” Chris continued, “when you rung me up, I was in a Chinese brothel, as you know, because I put one of the girls on the phone. I am going to set up my own massage parlour…

“I am trying to get Will Self – who I know – to let me do a gig to just him. I want to preview my Edinburgh show just to Will, because I want him to write a review because he’s excellent with language and I grew up reading Will Self stuff. That sounds like it might be on the cards, but I also told him about setting-up this massage parlour because you know I had a meeting with the Triads?”

“Errrr…. No,” I said. “Which Triad?”

“They’re actually the Xxxxx Family,” said Chris. “Hong Kong organised crime, essentially. They wanted an Englishman to front a massage parlour for them in London. I had a meeting with them and all these Chinese women came in first – all beautiful – and I thought they were laying them on. I thought it was like a little sweetener. It was 11 o’clock in the morning in a hotel in North Soho and I thought, Jesus Christ, man, this is it. Game on! but then the boys come in and discussed terms with me.

“I was with all these Triads and these women and the meeting went on for about three hours and halfway though – and I say this embarrassed – I was squinting my eyes and my accent had changed slightly – Ah. This ah sounds like-ha good ideeah in a Chinese accent – because it all seemed just so seductive to be part of their world. The weird thing is I’ve never felt I belonged anywhere. The only place I’ve ever belonged is rehab. When I’m in rehab, I think Yes, I should be here.

“I’ve got a terrible history with organised crime. I’ve had people put guns in my mouth. I’ve been chased round the country. I’m still paying someone off for some very very naughty business I used to be involved in.

Chris Dangerfield in Soho yesterday, just off Chinatown

Chris Dangerfield in Chinatown yesterday

“So I said to the Xxxxx Family, You have a terrible reputation for cutting people’s hands off. And we all laughed. Hahahahaha we went and they said, Yeah, but we just wanna make money.

“Anyway, I turned that business model down. I decided not to do it. But the woman you spoke to on the phone today – me and her are going to set up a massage parlour. And that’s part of my new Edinburgh Fringe show. That meeting with the Triads and what happened before and after. I’m not saying I have a particularly bizarre life, but I wouldn’t put it in my show unless it went worse than just a meeting with some crooked businessmen.

“This year’s Fringe show opens with a true story about having sex with an Alsatian called Emma.”

“This is a woman from Alsace, not a dog?” I checked.

“No, it’s a dog not a woman,” Chris corrected me.

(I have changed the dog’s name to preserve its privacy)

“The thing is,” said Chris, “you know they say You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink? In much the same way, you can lead a dog to penis but you can’t make it fuck. I did not rape the animal. I did insert my penis into an animal, but it took to it like a… duck to… water. It truly did.

“I didn’t fuck it… I’ll tell you why I call it ‘it’ in a minute. Weirdly… You know some people name their pets with human names like a gerbil called Scott? Well, this Alsatian was called Emma. It really did not help to have my penis inside a dog called Emma. I was quite high and remember stroking its back and thinking Emma’s got amazingly soft hair.

“My point is that, although the dog was called Emma, I couldn’t tell if it was a male or a female. My question to you, John, is Has anyone ever seen a dog’s vagina?”

“Another dog, I presume?” I managed to suggest.

“Have you yourself ever seen a dog’s vagina?” Chris asked me.

“Errr… Not that I remember.”

“If you were going to have to put your finger in a dog’s orifice, starting under the tail… Weird, isn’t it?”

“It seems that way to me,” I agreed.

“Fill yourself full or heroin and tuinal,” Chris continued. “Look… I had a penis; the dog was happy to reverse onto it. In Germany, they’ve got animal brothels. They’re trying to get them closed down, but I’ve seen men fucking horses and you can’t make… I’ve seen a horse fucking a man on a video… and you can’t make a horse do that. The horse either wants to do it or not. I’ve seen a man – not on video, live – put his penis in the massive chasm that is a horse’s rear end. It wasn’t pleasant.”

“I think this conversation is getting out of hand for my blog,” I said.

“Well,” said Chris, “you’ve got the Triads, you’ve got the bestiality, you’ve got the mother-and-daughter prostitutes who, whilst wanking me off…”

“I must have missed that one,” I said. “My attention must have wandered. Run that past me again..”

“The mother-and-daughter prostitutes who, whilst wanking me off,” repeated Chris, “had an argument that ended up with them hitting each other, whilst they’re still wanking me. They did not stop. You’ve got to admire that…”

I shrugged casually.

“So this new Edinburgh show is going to be excellent,” Chris told me.

“I’m going to regret using this phrase,” I said, “but you’re not sucking up to me with made-up stories just to get publicity in my blog, are you?”

“You know me by now.” said Chris. “It’s all true. I can take you to meet the people. This is my Edinburgh show. Every single thing is true. You know me by now, John. You know that I don’t actually have an imagination. I can’t write jokes. I’ve never written any comedy down. I buy books. Every year, I think: It’s time to grow a bit as an act. I buy a book. I open the book up, I do a pencil drawing of a goose with human legs and it gets put in the bin. It’s all true.

“Another bit of news is… When is this blog being published?…”

“Probably tomorrow,” I said.

“OK, then I can’t tell you this next bit. It’s a PR stunt. I’ll ring you and you will be the first to know. But I can tell you I’m doing a UK tour – me, Trevor Lock and Lee Kern of the TV show Celebrity Bedlam… The three of us are doing a UK tour with a very, very, very odd, different… I’m not going to tell you any more, but it is not just a comedy tour.”

“Does it involve any woodland creatures?” I asked.

“There’s no animals,” said Chris, “unless anyone brings one along to the show. But there will be no reversing them onto me.”

“At my age,” I said. “I am thankful for small mercies.”

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Filed under Comedy, Crime, Dogs, Drugs, Sex

Advice on four ways to make money illegally in movies and sport

No 1: Become a movie producer

This morning, I was reading an old interview with famed Hollywood scriptwriter Tom Mankiewicz, in which he mentioned big-budget movie producer Alexander Salkind, one of whose productions was the 1978 Superman film starring Christopher Reeve, which Mankiewicz scripted.

If you make a big-budget international movie, you have a perfect excuse to move money, people and odd pieces of complicated props and machinery with space in which to hide things backwards-and-forwards between countries without arousing suspicion.

Salkind was a rather dodgy character who occasionally came to the attention of the authorities. I vaguely remember him once getting arrested by police – I think for fraud – and unexpectedly producing a diplomatic passport, which gave him immunity from prosecution. My memory is that it was a Panamanian diplomatic passport, but Tom Mankiewicz says Salkind, in fact, paid the government of Costa Rica to secretly make him their cultural attaché to Switzerland. This would give him, he thought, total diplomatic immunity.

But the scam did not work 100%, according to Mankiewicz. In the United States, where there was a warrant out for his arrest, the FBI said: “I’m sorry, cultural attaché from Costa Rica to Switzerland doesn’t cut it with us. That’s not a diplomatic passport as far as we’re concerned.”

Which is why Salkind did not and could not ever show up for any of his movie openings in the US.

Who knows what was happening to the money Salkind was moving from country to country in large amounts?

But it reminded me of three sporting scams which worked… mostly.

No 2: Hide the drugs inside something very high profile

I was told that one particularly creative heroin smuggling gang managed to get a man working inside the team of a Formula 1 World Champion. The heroin was transported from country to country inside the World Champion’s racing car (without his knowledge). After all, which brave Customs man is going to dismantle the World Champion’s hi-tech racing car to search for drugs?

Perhaps small scale for heroin smuggling, but it worked.

No 3: Steal money from people who are taking bribes

I was once also told the true story of a top British champion jockey (now dead) who was being paid to lose races (to help a betting scam). Obviously, he received the money in cash and, to avoid ‘misunderstandings’, he got it at the racecourse immediately after the race. On one occasion, he was paid for losing a race, then had to be helicoptered elsewhere for another high-profile race before being returned to the first racecourse. So he left the money (several thousand pounds) in the boot of his car.

A criminal who heard about this arrangement, simply stole the money from the boot while the jockey was away. When he returned, it was assumed by the jockey to be a random car theft and, of course, the theft of the bribe could not be reported to the police as a crime.

As near to a perfect crime as you can get.

No 4: Go to the dogs

On an even more admirably creative level, a British comedian with criminal links in his past told me a story about the ‘wrong’ dog coming round the final bend at Romford Stadium and someone throwing four footballs onto the track in front of the dogs to cause chaos and get the race abandoned.

The late comedian Malcolm Hardee, inevitably, topped this story by telling me he had once shared a prison cell with a man nicknamed ‘Teddy Bear’. This odd nickname came about because the man had been paid to stand by the rail at various stadiums around the UK and, if the ‘wrong’ dog was winning, he would throw a teddy bear onto the track. The dogs then went crazy and tore it apart, stopping the race. “His great talent,” explained Malcolm, “was that he could run very fast after he had thrown the teddy bear.”

I can only presume that, on one occasion, he failed to do this fast enough.

Crime does not always pay.

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Why I am pictured in Mensa Magazine (twice) holding a man with an erection

How did a man sporting an erect penis with a dog on the end of it get published (twice) in the current issue of Mensa Magazine, the glossy monthly publication for members of British Mensa?

And why am I holding the man?

Well, that’s an interesting question. Thankyou for asking.

Sit down with a cup of hot chocolate and pay close attention.

Preparing for Edinburgh Fringe shows in August tends to start way back in December or January each year.

I am organising Malcolm Hardee Week in the final week of the Fringe – basically two debates, two spaghetti-juggling contests (anything to get noticed at the over-crowded Fringe!) and a two-hour variety show during which the three annual Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards will be presented.

I am normally a shrinking wallflower where self-publicity is concerned but, because I am chairing the two Malcolm Hardee Debates and there are precious few other photo opportunities, I had some pictures taken, courtesy of lecturer Peter Cattrell, by photography students at St Martin’s College of Art (where, it turned out, no girl came from Greece, though they did have a thirst for knowledge).

I had brought along a giant dice box for no reason other than the fact it looked interesting. Student Cody Cai had brought along a pair of comedy spectacles and student Kerstin Diegel took a photo of me wearing the glasses and holding the box.

I remember thinking, “Oy! Oy! Malcolm Hardee could be Photoshopped into this, popping up out of the box!”

So now, dear reader, we have to take a time trip with wobbly special effects transitions back into the mists of last century – probably to the late 1990s, when the world was young and the Twin Towers still stood in New York…

London photographer David Tuck took some photos of comedian and club owner Malcolm Hardee, including an iconic one of Malcolm apparently doing shadow puppetry with his hands – you know the routine – you link your open hands together, flap them and it allegedly looks like a bird – except that the shadow on the wall behind Malcolm looks like a dog and, with the shadow of his arm included, it also looks like he has a giant penis rising out of his groin in the foreground… with a dog on the end of it.

David Tuck cannot remember exactly when the picture was taken, but it was a couple of weeks before Malcolm opened a short-lived comedy club in Harlesden, which would make it the late 1990s. Memories of Malcolm seldom come with exact dates.

David tells me: “The image Malcolm originally had in mind was that he would be doing a simple bird shape with his hands and a magnificent eagle would be the shadow image. This was before the days of Photoshop so, to get the image onto a piece of black and white photographic paper, I had to cut the image out of card and physically lay it on top of the picture during the darkroom process.

“My abilities with the scalpel weren’t exactly up to creating a photo-accurate eagle in full flight, so we talked about other possibilities and, when he mentioned a dog, I thought: Yeah, a dog I can do!

“I remember afterwards someone saying that it was funny because it appears to be coming out of Malcolm’s flies, like some sort of shadow penis. Just to set the record straight, that wasn’t the joke. I didn’t even notice until someone said it.”

From such random accidents do iconic photos come!

For anyone who knew Malcolm, it will come as no surprise that he never actually got round to paying David Tuck for the publicity photos he took and that this shadow puppet photo was used widely for years afterwards without David ever getting any money or even any credit for taking the photo.

When I used the photo on Malcolm’s website after he drowned in 2005, I found out David had taken it and have always tried to give him credit for it.

Around 2006, comic Brian Damage, at heart an arty sort, was playing around with images. Brian says:

“I was in the middle of my second or possibly third mid-life crisis. (You lose count after a while) It could have been age-related or something to do with giving up smoking or both.”

He played around with the David Tuck photo of Malcolm and basically ‘cartoonised’ it.

I thought it was excellent and got Vinny Lewis to design a poster using this image for all subsequent Malcolm Hardee shows at the Fringe.

Vinny had designed occasional artwork for Malcolm’s Up The Creek comedy club and had created the printed programme for both Malcolm’s funeral and the first Hackney Empire memorial show in 2006.

He added a coloured background to the cartoon and played with details.

So, when I got the St Martin’s photo back from Kerstin Diegel, I got Vinny to Photoshop the Malcolm shadow puppet image into the photo and the result is now available for The Scotsman or anyone else to publish to plug Malcolm Hardee Week at the Edinburgh Fringe.

‘Anybody else’ turned out to be Mensa Magazine who printed the image on the contents page of their July issue and, inside, to illustrate a piece on Malcolm Hardee Week.

I suspect it may be the first time Mensa Magazine has published a photo of a man displaying an apparent cartoon erection with a dog on the end of it. Their defence is clear – that even David Tuck and (possibly not even) Malcolm noticed that the shadow was of an erect penis.

It’s a funny old world.

You can see the photo here.

It was created by Kerstin Diegel, Cody Cai, David Tuck, Brian Damage and Vinny Lewis.

Nothing is ever simple.

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Other creatures’ lives: Charlie Chuck and Elsie the duck who sits on his head

Yesterday, I drove up to Leicestershire to take photographs of comedian Charlie Chuck with his ducks. Well, they are not his ducks. They are his girlfriend’s ducks.

It is not a quiet nor a simple life having 21 ducks, two dogs, an occasional fox and Charlie Chuck in your back garden. Because they have to be mostly kept apart for safety reasons.

There are four females ducks, four very large males and 13 newly-born ducklings.

The four males have to be kept separate to stop them leaping on the four females, grabbing them violently by the back of their necks and making what Shakespeare almost called the duck with two backs.

The four females and 12 ducklings can be left to roam but need careful shepherding in case they make a bolt for the wrought-iron side gate and, from there, the front garden and road.

And then there is Elsie.

Elsie was a sickly duckling, excluded from the family nest which was in a large wooden dog house. She was tended by Charlie Chuck’s girlfriend’s grown-up son and has bonded with him and humans not ducks. She does not like water except to drink. She refuses to swim. And, if she goes outside when the other ducklings are around, they attack her. But she will settle on human shoulders – especially Charlie Chuck’s – like a miniature would-be pirate’s parrot.

And on his head.

If no human is available, she will follow the nearest mother substitute available – usually Billy the Jack Russell dog belonging to Charlie Chuck’s girlfriend. Of a night-time, Elsie would ideally like to sleep with Billy the Jack Russell dog, but Billy does not want this, so he tries to avoid the arrangement by running away, resulting in a regular circular chase round a tree in the back garden, with Billy pursued by Elsie in the twilight.

And then there is Charlie Chuck’s dog Ollie the collie who never barks at home but who does when he visits Charlie Chuck’s girlfriend’s home and hears Billy the Jack Russell dog bark.

And then there is the occasional fox, kept at bay at night by Charlie Chuck’s girlfriend’s grown-up son with a catapult in an upstairs window.

And then there is Charlie Chuck.

At home, the books on Charlie Chuck’s bookshelf include all the children’s stories written by C.S.Lewis, the autobiography I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake by Malcolm Hardee (he drowned) and The Paranormal: A Bishop Investigates by theologian Hugh Montefiore who was born a Sephardic Jew but who became the Church of England’s Bishop of Birmingham 1977-1987. He (Montefiore) converted to Christianity as a 16-year-old schoolboy when he had a vision of Christ while sitting in his study at Rugby school.

Jesus was a Jew who never converted to Christianity.

It can be a complicated world.

There are pictures of Charlie Chuck with Elsie the duck on my Facebook page here.

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A dog called Dylan and the fickle finger of fame

Last night I went to South East London to see Charmian Hughes’ try-out of her upcoming Brighton Fringe/Edinburgh Fringe show The Ten Charmandments at the equally charming and fascinating Living Room Theatre which is, indeed, just what it says on the label.

It’s a living room theatre.

I suppose I should have counted, but I think the full room had an audience of twelve, sitting in a U-shape. That’s ten or eleven more than some Edinburgh Fringe shows I’ve been to.

The Living Room Theatre allows performers to preview and try-out shows in an amiable, low-key atmosphere and is run by writer-performer Claire Dowie and Colin Watkeys who, among his other accomplishments was apparently the late, much-lamented Ken Campbell’s manager. Now THAT must have been a job and a half.

But, oddly, it was the theatre dog’s name that leapt to mind this morning and the fickle nature of fame. Yes, the Living Room Theatre has a dog. Dylan the dog, though missing from the performance itself, was an amiable and attentive addition to the over-all theatrical event.

It was the name “Dylan” that got to me, though.

People want their name to be remembered, but how that name is remembered is sometimes not what they might have hoped for.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson wanted to be remembered as a serious mathematician, logician and academic; instead, he was remembered first as children’s author Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland and, more recently, as the taker of some rather dodgy photographs of young children; his reputation has started to transform into a sort-of Victorian wannabe Gary Glitter.

Thomas Crapper was a very admirable man whose hard work and professionalism changed the hygiene, health and social behaviour of the British nation – there are manhole covers with his company’s name proudly displayed in Westminster Abbey, scene of our recent glamorous Royal Wedding… but his surname has become synonymous with shit. He can’t be turning happily in his grave.

And pity poor Dylan Thomas, the verbose Welsh bard, who presumably wanted to be known for his literary art and womanising but people’s first thoughts of the name “Dylan” soon turned into a Jewish folk singer with incomprehensible lyrics and a terrible singing voice, then into an animated rabbit with acid-head drug fans in the Anglicised version of The Magic Roundabout and now, it seems, among cutting-edge theatre-goers in South East London, into a dog’s name. Though, admittedly, he is a very likeable dog. Probably more likeable than the verbose Welsh bard.

Oh – for the record – The Ten Charmandments is very well worth seeing, though God may disapprove of the name change.

I particularly recommend the sand dance.

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