Tag Archives: drunk

New Scots comic Machete Hettie on she gangs, Bulgarians & the big black wave

Machete Hettie at The Grouchy Club in Edinburgh

Machete Hettie at The Grouchy Club in Edinburgh last month

When I was at the Edinburgh Fringe last month, I occasionally posted blogs about what had happened at the increasingly prestigious Grouchy Club which I co-hosted with comedy critic Kate Copstick. But the shows were an hour long and what I mentioned in the blogs were only 5 or 10 minute excerpts.

One character who never turned up in the blogs was someone I did blog about last year – newbie comic Machete Hettie.

She lives in the Leith area of Edinburgh – or ‘Leithiopia’ as she calls it.

When she called in to The Grouchy Club, she had just come back from a holiday.

“Where did you go?” I asked.

“I went to Sunny Beach in Bulgaria,” she told us, “and the place was mental. The taxi drivers are really fucking crazy. They drive aboot wi’ a bottle of beer in one hand and a phone in the other and nae hands on the wheel. They charge what they want. They’re the dearest part o’ yer night oot.

“Everything over there’s fake, from yer handbag to yer fake lighters. They even sell ye fake lighters wi’ nae gas! Look!” she said, rummaging in her handbag, “I’ve got twelve bloody lighters! They’ll give ye one light and that’s it! Everything’s fake-it-an-bake-it.”

“How long were you there?” Copstick asked her.

Machette Hettie in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria

Machete Hettie in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria

“A week,” Machete Hettie replied. “Ma liver is in pain. Seven days of shots. I managed to get steamin’ drunk for like £2 a night. They give you great big tubes with a half bottle o’ vodka in them. It’s meant to dae ye from midnight to 6 o’clock in the morning. Great big tubes. But they’re that heavy you can hardly carry them. You end up using them as a dancing partner, ken? They’re that big.

“Till 6 o’clock in the mornin’ ye can get steamin’ in Sunny Beach an’ I’m sure there’s loads o’ people that must come back pregnant an’ call their baby Sunny cos that’s no very hard cos they’re all at it in the streets an’ that..”

“How do you know?” I asked.

“Cos I seen it,” said Machete Hettie. “Cos I was there. It happens oot in the street. It happens everywhere.

“I didnae have any shenanigans wi’ them myself, like for sex or anything like that, no matter how much they were nice-lookin. I had it in my mind that, if you done anything wi’ those Bulgarians, you’d end up wi’ no flip-flops. But I ended up getting robbed o’ my flip-flips and my phone anyway. There was a great big fuckin wave came and took it all away. It took ma handbag, ma shoes, the fuckin lot.

“I was sunbathing a bit too close to the sea and a great big wave came and snatched ma bag and the whole shebang, then it threw it back at me wi’ a broken phone and ma money all tae fuck.”

“You’re used to nicking things,” I said. “Surely.”

Kate Copstick & Machete Hetty after Grouchy Club show

Kate Copstick and Machete Hettie after Grouchy Club show at Edinburgh Fringe

“But I’m no used to stuff getting fuckin robbed offa me,” replied Machete Hettie. “Especially by a Bulgarian Black Sea wave. I thought it was gonna be from some sort of Bulgarian/Romanian/Russian gypsy. I didn’t think some black wave was gonna come along and tax us.”

“Why did you decide on Bulgaria?” I asked. “Because it was cheap?”

“Aye. Cheap and nasty,” replied Machete Hettie. “It was a last minute deal.”

“Was the nasty bit good as well?” I asked.

“Nasty was very good. That good that I’m going back.”

“How did they manage with your accent?” I asked.

“Extremely hard. They were asking me which part o’ Bulgaria I was fae.”

“I’ve known you about a year,” I said, “and you’ve never ever told me why you’re called Machete Hettie.”

“Well, how do I explain that?” she replied. “It was basically shit that happened when I was younger. Let’s say I was up to nae good in the neighbourhood. Dysfunctional shenanigans. I was in my twenties.”

“What sort of no good?” I asked.

“Well…”

“Remembering,” I told her, “that this is being recorded.”

“I probably just hung aboot in she gangs and things like that. It was gang related.”

“They’re called She Gangs?” I asked.

“Aye. I’m originally fae Dundee. I’m a Dundonian/Leithiopian.”

“That’s scary,” said Copstick.

“That’s scary,” agreed Machete Hettie. “Now you can maybe understand ma nature.”

“So you were in teenage she gangs in Dundee?” I asked.

“Yes. They were called the Hull Toon Huns.”

“Why Hull Toon?” I asked.

“Cos I was fae an area called Hull Toon – the Hull Town – which was quite a rough area. I done some shit years ago and I got the nickname Machete Hettie. I’m using it as a comedy name now because it’s catchy, but the balaclava and the whip, well… I’ve dropped them now; they was causing too much trouble… where airports and that were concerned. I’ve been accused of everything.

Machete Hettie celebrates in a Clerkenwell street last night

Machete Hettie in a London street last year

“They’d say: A gimp mask? They’d ask: Did you knit that yourself?… I wouldn’t like to be your neighbour if that’s what you go about doing to your neighbours. A lot of men thought it was quite kinky, ken. But I was fuckin sweating. I couldn’t handle it nae mare underneath them lights.”

“Have you ever in your life,” I asked, “held a machete?”

“Aye, of course I have. When you were allowed to bring them back fae Spain – and big Samurai swords an’ that.”

“The fact you were allowed to bring them back,” I suggested, “didn’t mean you HAD to bring them back.”

“Oh,” she said, thinking about it, “maybe you weren’t allowed to.”

1 Comment

Filed under Comedy, Crime, Edinburgh

Getting drunk at the Edinburgh Fringe and singing over a dead man’s body

The latest news (maybe) from Broadway Baby

The latest Fringe news (maybe) from Broadway Baby

My left shoulder is in middling agony if I move it. It is comedian Arthur Smith’s fault. More about that later.

This morning, I booked the Ballroom of The Counting House in Edinburgh on Friday 28th August next year from 11.00pm to 1.00am… for the increasingly prestigious annual Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show. Next year is the tenth anniversary of the death by drowning of Malcolm, the godfather of British Alternative Comedy.

He was known, among many things, for his outrageous publicity stunts at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Yesterday in Edinburgh, it was good to see a special Broadway Baby review sheet about Fringe award winners.

Notable was Barry Ferns, who was listed on the front and who got a 6-star front page review for his show The Barry Experience. There was also a large photo of Barry on the back of the sheet, standing atop Arthur’s Seat. Also on the back sheet were reviews of sundry Fringe shows including:

  • Erection
  • Oxford English Dictionary: 2014 Edition
  • Laserdroids of Bangkok
  • The Elephant Nan
  • Rosencrantz & Guildenstern in Bed

You should be aware that, last year, Barry won the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award for a series of stunts including producing and distributing fake versions of Broadway Baby.

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

At The Grouchy Club, I was an innocent bystander to sex talk

Yesterday, the final Saturday of the Fringe, had a varied collection of other very interesting highlights including the penultimate Grouchy Club show at which my co-host Kate Copstick described to a Tesco Clubcard executive and his credit agency partner how she taught the sex workers of Nairobi about ‘soapy tit wanks’ and the use of fizzy drinks in penile erection plus she had tales of wild orgies in Radlett, Hertfordshire (the next village to where I live in Borehamwood/Elstree). Alas, the descriptions are too vivid for me to transcribe without breaking into tears and uncontrollable twitching.

This was followed by me being part of an alleged audience who were going to repeatedly sing the words “Neil Young” in a raucous way for a forthcoming music album. Alas, it never happened and, instead, Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt nominee Mark Dean Quinn appeared performing a one-hour act (possibly inspired by Andy Kaufman) in which he said very little but stared a lot at the audience.

Mark Dean Quinn - the Kaufman of ballooning

Mark Dean Quinn – arguably the Andy Kaufman of ballooning

It also involved (apparently by osmosis) the audience blowing up balloons to create male-genitalia-like hats. This went well until one young man was encouraged by his chum to get up out of his seat and immediately fell unconscious in a faint onto the floor.

He was tall, thin, pale-skinned and ginger haired. He had been previously blowing up a balloon but, at the time of his fall, was not. He was revived and Mark Dean Quinn quickly retrieved the balloons from his audience and changed the direction of his show.

If you can call it a show. It depends on your definition.

I certainly enjoyed it.

At any rate, all the donations received at the end of the show are now going to be given to an asthma charity.

It was a day of falling-downs and medical problems.

Wilfredo comforts Copstick (with her damaged left arm) by tickling her chin

Wilfredo comforts injured Copstick (with her damaged left arm) by tickling her with a rose

Later, I met up with the still physically and possibly mentally damaged Kate Copstick.

She had a hip replacement a couple of months ago (uninsured) after she fell off the platform on which her slum house stands in Kenya – and broke her elbow about a week ago after being accidentally bowled over by a couple of drunk gents in an Edinburgh street. She is still wearing a sling and goes “Ouch!” on a distractingly regular basis.

She blames the physical damage from both the Kenyan fall which smashed her hip and the Edinburgh fall which smashed her elbow on her being stone-cold sober. She reckons, if she had been drunk, she would have fallen in a more floppy, less damaging way.

Wilfredo handed out roses to his last fans last night

Wilfredo handed out roses last night

She and I were both in the basement of the Tron pub last night to see comic music act Wilfredo record his next album. References to Copstick seemed to pepper the show, the audience (heavily made-up of comics) adored the great man himself and I felt lucky to escape without Wilfredo’s spittle speckling me.

Afterwards, Wilfredo’s godfather Matt Roper told me: “I have to hear it back before I decide whether it will be released as an album. If it works, we’ll get it out by November.”

Which brings us to me lying face-down in the Royal Mile at about 2.30am this morning.

Arthur Smith was doing his annual free Alternative Tour of the Royal Mile last night from 2.00am which I guess attracted 50-80 people. That is a lot when you are one crowded bundle of people rolling down the Royal Mile following a man with surreality on his mind.

Arthur (left) and the stripped man in a waste bin

Arthur (left) & the stripped man in a waste bin in Royal Mile

There was a lack of the total nudity and urination which characterised his event in the later years of last century, but it still involved various pranks such as Arthur’s partner Beth doing the splits, Wally (as in Where’s Wally?) being chased out of his hiding place and legging it off up the Royal Mile, a man being persuaded to climb into a rubbish bin wearing only his pants, the assembled throng singing Jerusalem with obscene lyrics to bemused customers at a pizza stand, constant verbal attacks on the integrity of a local French restaurant and singing a song involving the word ‘cunt’ over the body of an apparently dead man on the pavement.

Arthur Smith encouraged singing over ‘dead’ man in Royal Mile

Arthur Smith led the singing over a ‘dead’ man in Royal Mile

At one point, shortly after singing the song involving the word ‘cunt’ over an apparently dead man lying on the pavement (one of Arthur’s many pre-arranged stunts),  I tripped and fell flat on my front on the pavement (no arms out, just a straight fall onto my front). People just ignored this for a brief moment and looked at me, presumably thinking it was another stunt. But then I was helped up. This getting-up worried me slightly because, as I went down, a shooting pain similar to cramp had shot up my left leg. Fortunately, though, I was OK.

Until this morning, when I found I had searing, shooting pain if I tried to move my left shoulder. The shoulder which never mended properly after being smashed when I got hit by a truck in 1991.

There is nothing broken, as far as I know. Presumably it is just bruised muscle.

But it makes me think Copstick has a point.

I was sober when I fell.

I do not drink, really, except at funerals and marriages, when it would seem rude not to.

If you are drunk, falling is less dangerous.

I think perhaps I should start to drink.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, Humor, Humour

Can comedian Bob Slayer – infamously Edinburgh Fringey – turn into a cuddly grey-bearded children’s entertainer?

In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned that comedians often have another ‘day job’.

Around seven years ago, Bob Slayer was managing Japanese rock group Electric Eel Shock when they made a Christmas video in which he appeared as Father Christmas. It was posted on YouTube.

Now Bob has become a real Santa Claus. He started the job yesterday in a grotto under a giant Christmas tree at Whiteley’s department store in London’s Queensway and he will be donning his red-and-white robes there throughout December.

BEFORE...

BEFORE…

AFTER...

AFTER…

“You have to respond to the audience that’s in front of you,” says Bob

‘Santa’ Bob with helper elves ‘Ruthy Boothy’ Sarah (left) and ‘Wilma Words’ Christine

I talked to him last night after he finished his Ho Ho Ho duties. He told me he was going to have to think up some more Christmas stories, because some children had come back a second time on this his first day in the role.

“I’d been telling them how reindeer fly and how they have to go to Tromsø in Norway,” said Bob, “and I could see some of the parents looking at me thinking I don’t know this story; this isn’t a real Santa, so I told the children You see, mummies and daddies don’t know about reindeer.”

Happy Drunk illustration by comedian Rich Rose

One Happy Drunk illustration by Rich Rose

And that’s not all.

Tonight, at the Chortle Comedy Book Festival, Bob launches a children’s book he wrote, with illustrations by Rich Rose of comedy duo Ellis & Rose (last referred-to in this blog yesterday a propos their Jimmy Savile: The Punch & Judy Show).

“Rich is a brilliant illustrator,” said Bob.

“Remind me what the book is called?” I asked.

The Happy Drunk,” confirmed Bob.

He financed it by crowdfunding and reached 169% of his target. The title was originally Calpol Is Evil but he changed it – allegedly after he received an alleged letter from solicitors representing the manufacturers of Calpol. Never forget that Bob Slayer won a much-coveted Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award in 2011 for his ‘Cockgate’ stunt at the Edinburgh Fringe.

“What’s the premise of The Happy Drunk?” I asked.

“It’s a children’s book for adults. It’s for Big Kids.”

“Would 14-year-olds enjoy it?” I asked.

HappyDrunk

Bob’s new book is for Big Babies everywhere – but not lawyers

“I don’t know,” replied Bob. “I think they would, although whether their parents would want them to read it… I’d say it should have a PG rating.

“Actually, I should have put that on the cover!” he laughed. “I’ve only printed 50 so far – as a proof to check they’re OK – so I think I might put PG Rated on future covers.”

“Are drunks happy?” I asked.

“Drunks in comedy clubs,” explained Bob, “get a bad name due to the alcopop drunks that the Jongleurs and Highlight comedy chains get in, whereas the sort of people I like doing gigs to are genuinely happy drunks: people who know what they’re drinking.

“When I do gigs in breweries, they’re drinking nice drink. They’re lively, but they don’t get out of hand; they’re good audiences. They’re people who are in for their drink but also in for their comedy. In the comedy club chains, you get big groups of people and some of them do want to see comedy, but others had wanted to go to the cinema or go bowling; they’re not all committed to watching comedy.

“I’m going to print 1,000 copies of The Happy Drunk initially. Rich Rose is having 300, I’ll put some online and sell the rest at gigs. Writing it was a stopgap, because it’s taking me longer to write my How To Out-Drink Australia book than I thought it would. It’s taking longer to edit.”

Bob Slayer - too hot to handle in Australia

Turning a tour into a book is complicated

“You have a problem with people’s perception of you,” I said. “People think you’re always going to be the OTT Edinburgh Fringe Bob Slayer character.”

“Well,” said Bob, “you have to respond to the audience that’s in front of you. I like to think that I can mirror whatever audience is there. If you put me in a golf club, then I’m not going to end up naked – well, unless that’s what they want. There have been occasions when it’s gone out of control and perhaps I have gone the wrong way, but they’re one-off incidents like in Norway, where I got banned from that theatre.

“But, look, the fact was that they had five members of The Cumshots band there. So I’m going to perform to my mates The Cumshots, aren’t I? And they’re a band that invite you to come onstage and ‘fuck for forests’ – I HAD to come off the balcony on a rope. Though the reason I was actually banned was because I opened a bottle of Jägermeister on stage and had a drink and I was unaware how strict the licensing laws are there.”

“Ironically,” I said, “you got a Scottish licence to run your own bar at Bob’s Bookshop during the Edinburgh Fringe. Are you going to do other comedy club bars?”

Bob Slayer: no entry for the easily offended

Comedian; promoter; licensed venue manager; looney?

“Well,” explained Bob, “The reason I could be Father Christmas here was because I had a mostly-free December. And that was because I was going to do a pop-up comedy venue and bar in London – like Bob’s Bookshop in Edinburgh. I looked at a couple of places in Hackney and round East London, but I just ran out of time to get the licensing sorted. So I had kept December free and, when the pop-up club didn’t happen, I put a few club gigs into my diary then this Father Christmas offer came along.”

“So you will be doing other pop-up comedy venues and bars?” I asked.

“I’m doing one at the Leicester Comedy Festival in February,” said Bob. “The programme’s out tomorrow and I’m doing three long weekends, putting on about 30 shows – people like Tom Binns, Devvo, Brian Gittins, Stuart Goldsmith, Phil Kay, Adam Larter, Doug Segal, Ben Target. We’ve got an old chapel in Leicester – Hansom Hall, named after the guy who invented the hansom cab. He designed the building.

“I’m working with a new brewery – BrewDog who are Aberdeen-based. They’re the fastest-growing food and drink company in the UK in the last three years. A really interesting independent brewer. They’re funding themselves by crowdfunding: you can invest in BrewDog. The moment they heard about Cockgate at the Edinburgh Fringe, they said We want to work with you.”

“And then?” I asked.

“I’m trying to be quiet in January to finish writing my Australian book. I’ve got to get the book done for the next Edinburgh Fringe.”

What???

Bob Slayer “trying to be quiet”?

This does not compute.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Children, Christmas, Comedy, Drink

Odd news of enemas, buckets & Bitcoins from Germany, Sweden and Canada

BERLIN, GERMANY

Cabaret performer Matt Roper in Berlin - the home of Cabaret

Cabaret performer Matt Roper in Berlin – the home of Cabaret

Comedian Matt Roper has been forced to sleep in a doorway holding music legend Morrissey in his hands.

Matt is currently staying in a flat in Berlin which belongs to a musician friend of his who is on tour.

As there was a spare room, Matt had asked me if I wanted to stay there too.

It sounds like I was lucky I did not go. I got an e-mail:

“When I arrived here,” Matt told me, “I collected the keys from the neighbours, threw my bags into the hallway, then went out for the night to explore. I was kidnapped by two journalists from the Bild newspaper (the German equivalent of the Sun) who took me to various bars, ending up in a place where an exotic dancer performing onstage finished her act by sitting on a large bottle of Becks beer and opened it by bending over.

“When I got back to the flat at 2.40am, I realised I had been given the wrong set of keys. Well, the keys to the flat were fine, but I had not got one to the main door from the street. I had to spend the night in the doorway until somebody from the building left for work in the morning at 6.45am. I had trouble convincing him I was legitimately staying there. I do not speak much German and, in the intervening four hours, I had been sipping beer from a bottle and reading Morrissey’s autobiography so, by this point, was looking quite dishevelled.

“The next day,” Matt told me, “my card was cloned by some bastard in India who has plundered my current account of all its funds. And now I can smell gas coming from the flat below.”

“Well, gas and Germany tend to go together,” I told Matt when I Skyped him yesterday.

“The neighbours just said to ignore it and it has gone away,” he confirmed, then continued: “Listen. There’s an enema spa in Thailand I know very well. We should go one day next year. After the Edinburgh Fringe. Next September. You fast for ten days straight and take silium husk. I met Hermann Goering‘s niece there. You can have ten days of blogging with interesting characters talking about what they’ve passed that morning into a sieve. How can you resist?”

I told Matt I had put enemas behind me and was not interested.

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

Bob Slayer (right) met a man with drink in Sweden

When baldies collide: Bob Slayer (right) met a man on a bus

Shortly after talking to Matt Roper, I got an e-mail from comedian Bob Slayer.

“Yesterday,” it started, “I found an artificial leg in a park in Stockholm… There were signs of a struggle and half a broken step ladder. What can this all mean?”

I could not help Bob with any sensible explanation.

“This morning,” the e-mail coninued, “I was woken up in a closed shopping centre (also in Stockholm) by a security guard called Linus. Neither of us knew how I had got into the closed shopping centre and he complimented me on my sleeping place but – sadly – he told me that he had not seen my artificial leg… So that is now lost again.

“It would be lovely if you could blog about my new book Bob Slayer: The Happy Drunk. I have written it and Rich Rose has illustrated it. The pre-order via Kickstarter closes on Sunday.” (This means tomorrow to rapid readers of this blog.)

Bob’s Kickstarter target was £666 and, at the time of writing, he has raised £1,008, so I think it is likely the book may well appear.

Later, I got another message from Bob.

“I get a ferry to Aland for a gig,” it started. “Aland is an island between Sweden and Finland which is Finnish but they speak Swedish. The two countries argued over it for years and sorted things out with a treaty that made Swedish the main language and gave the island a high degree of autonomy. The first thing they did was get rid of all tax on booze. I love this place. It is a schizophrenic island full of piss heads…

“I have been to Aland several times before with bands. My gig is promoted by a man called Grulle. When I was managing the Japanese rock band Electric Eel Shock, we once took Grulle to the Hultsfred Festival. When we picked him up, all he was carrying was a bucket. It turned out to be his portable toilet complete with a seat. Grulle spent some very happy moments with his potty in the woods that weekend.”

Even later yesterday, I got a text message on my phone from Bob who, bizarrely, is a former racehorse jockey.

“I have met an old man called Björn on the bus to the ferry,” the text said. “He was a race horse trainer but, more importantly, he has wine and vodka. An important feature is that the booze is in bottles of vitamin water.”

I have heard nothing from Bob since.

VANCOUVER, CANADA

Anna Smith ignores the BBC in Canada

Anna Smith has some fishy yet true stories

When I told Anna Smith – this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent – that Bob Slayer was in Stockholm, she unexpectedly suggested I should immediately tell him that Sweden now allows public masturbation.

Sure enough, Time magazine and the UK’s Independent newspaper have both reported that a 65-year-old Swedish man was acquitted of sexual assault after “pleasuring himself” on a beach in Stockholm in June.

The district court of Södertörn tossed out the charge on the grounds that he did not look at anybody while fondling himself. Public prosecutor Olof Vrethammar told the Mitti newspaper that he had no plans to appeal and called the ruling “reasonable.” When asked if masturbating in public was now acceptable in Sweden, Vrethammar said public fondling was “okay” – as long as it was not directed towards a specific individual.”

Anna Smith lives in Vancouver, where the world’s first Bitcoin machine has now been installed in a branch of Waves coffee shop. Anna tells me:

“The coffee shop is opposite the British Columbia Supreme Court. I wonder if it will come in handy for criminals who are about to be sentenced to lengthy terms or ones who have just won their cases and need to convert currency or pay off people. I have noticed that men about to be incarcerated sometimes have absurd amounts of cash in their motel rooms.”

Anna has other things on her mind, too:

“I have started part time work in a used book store,” she tells me. “The place is always good for a laugh. The owners grumble about business, customers come in to rant and the elderly men are funny, trying to outdo one another with anecdotes. One elderly Indian man was crowing from the top of a ladder: I was there when Khrushchev stepped off the train in Bombay!  to which another geezer, who is blind and too unsteady to climb ladders but sings filthy doggerel, replied: My mother was an Irish nurse who marched with Mao across China!

Respected Italian politician La Cicciolina

The respected Italian politician La Cicciolina

“Directly opposite the bookstore is the Marble Arch Hotel, full of mentally-ill drug addicts, who used to fire projectiles at the store windows from their rooms. Fortunately, the City of Vancouver is renovating the hotel, so the whole building is enveloped in scaffolding and blue nets, making it temporarily impossible to shoot ball bearings. In better days, the hotel had a striptease club which featured such famous performers as La Cicciolina, the popular Hungarian-born Italian politician.

“I recently went to a Celebration of Life for Fijian princess and actress Freda Perry, which was held at a Ukrainian Orthodox Church. A banquet including extremely delicious curried lamb was served, Fijians sang prayers and there was a Kava ceremony, though I missed that bit.

“When I saw the Kava bowl I thought it was holy water, so I steered clear and was a little surprised when I saw a man scoop a mug of liquid out and drink it. Fijians are obviously a superior culture as their holy water is drinkable, and mildly intoxicating, whereas our European holy water functions mainly as a transmitter of influenza.

“Big news at the moment, though, is that Vancouver Police are being run ragged in their hunt for rogue dentists who are operating with impunity in secretive subterranean clinics.”

Sure enough, a piece in yesterday’s Globe and Mail newspaper reports that “British Columbia’s College of Dental Surgeons says there’s still no sign of rogue dentist David Wu, though it is proceeding with legal action against two other unlicensed practitioners and investigating even more… Illegal dental clinics tend to be underground and secretive, which the college has said makes them difficult to shut down.”

Vancouver continues to be high on my list of interesting places to be, although Matt Roper continues in his (frankly doomed) attempts to persuade me of the attractions of enema spas in Thailand.

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada, Comedy, Germany, Humor, Humour, Sweden

Last night – “un-Fringe-like behaviour” at Bob Slayer’s Adelaide comedy show

Bob Slayer opens his mouth

When your comedy show is titled Bob Slayer Will OutDrink Australia, then some problems may crop up on the night with either the performer or the audience. This proved to be the case at the recent Perth Fringe, where British comic Bob Slayer was thrown out of the festival. Now he is at the Adelaide Fringe, but it was not his own behaviour which proved to be the problem at his midnight show last night. This is what he told me in an e-mail this morning…

__________

I have had people turn up barely able to stand because of drink. Or others refuse to buy a ticket until I downed a pint that they thrust into my hand. All of them have been a pleasure to perform for and there have been some amazing gigs. But last night, approaching the half-way point in my run, I had my first stinker of a late show.

If you were going to take a bet on who would be the biggest problem at the gig, then I think most people would assume it would be the drunken water pump fitters from Tasmania – three brothers, one of whom had just got out of hospital after an operation to have a brain tumour removed – and so they were knocking back large Jack Daniels and cokes to celebrate. But it was not them. They were great fun.

So who was it?

It could not be the nice couple?

No.

Could it be the venue bar staff who came in after their shift?

No. They have been before and are super.

Surely the most unlikely punters to cause problems in a Fringe gig would be the three girls who came in from the Fringe Office?

When I first meet someone and they drunkenly slur “We are going to come to your show” three inches from my face, then I know that they are likely to be ones to watch. These three certainly meant well. It was nice of them to offer to flyer up the street and in the pub before the gig and I am sure it was nothing to do with them that every other night I have managed to pull in up to a dozen last-minute extra folks whereas last night not even ones who had enquired about buying tickets made it into the room.

I walk into the gig room to start the show and two of them are on stage screeching into the microphone. The other is taking photos.

After some banter and wrestling the mic off them, they sit in the front row but with their back to me, repeatedly asking other audience members the same inane questions that they think stand-up comics should ask an audience. They are certainly living up to my No Rules ethos and creating a challenging start to the gig.

Then one of them falls off her chair. Another unplugs my mic lead. And the third one is ordering more drinks that they mostly seem to be spilling.

When a gig like this happens, sometimes my way of dealing with it is to stand back for a little and conduct the carnage. That’s what I do. And I also get my dartboard out and get naked. Why not? I mean it’s not as if the gig could get any worse, is it? Why not be naked and have people throw real darts at me with only a half-sized dartboard as protection? The venue manager even joins in and has a go throwing one from the back of the room.

Then one of the Fringe girls is on stage again, grabbing the microphone. It’s OK – she only wants to be involved. Her friends tell me that she is normally really shy when she isn’t drunk. The venue manager tosses me some gaffer tape. I ask her if she would like me to make her a designer outfit. She obliges and I wrap her up and lie her down, announcing the world’s newest escapologist. She gets out and, shortly afterwards, all three of them leave the gig to a round of applause.

Strangely and significantly, no-one else walks out.

The audience and I have a chat about what has just happened.

The three drunken water pump fitters from Tasmania tell me that they don’t want their money back and buy me a drink. The nice couple tell me they are going to come back again and see a show which doesn’t have the wheels falling off it quite so much. I do a couple of stories, we wrap it up and go for a drink together. The nice couple tell me that they overhear the girls moaning about the show in the bar to anyone who will listen with no mention of their own “most un-Fringe-like behaviour”.

Now, just as only a bad workman blames his tool, it is also true that only a bad comedian blames his audience and I want to make it clear that it was not the three girls’ fault that this gig disintegrated. I certainly only have myself to blame.

After all, I was the one who let them in.

Leave a comment

Filed under Australia, Comedy, Drink

British comedian Eric, in Australia, has brief encounters with drunk Bob Slayer

British comedian Eric and newborn baby in Australia

“We’re getting on like a house on fire,” someone said as they watched a house burning in yellow flames.

With my sleep-patterns disturbed, that very unusual thing has happened again: I remember part of my dreams last night.

People were arriving in a big room for the Edinburgh Fringe festival. Someone said they were looking for “more overton.”

I could not understand what this meant.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the by-now-Edinburgh-Fringe-veteran comedian Eric has been having his sleep patterns disturbed by his new baby Erica. This is not a dream. More a welcome nightmare.

“My whole day is taken up looking after the little one,” he told me in an e-mail over a week ago. “I hardly go out, unless it is to the shop to buy food. The only conversation I have is about the little one, who incidentally seems to take having her nappy removed as her cue to let loose; she managed to get it all up my arm and halfway across the kitchen the other day.”

He had a respite last week, though, when he flew solo from Adelaide to Perth for a series of shows at the Perth Festival. Or, as it turned out, one of the Perth festivals.

It is relevant to mention at this point that British comedian Bob Slayer was supposed to be sending ‘reports’ on his progress in Australia to this blog, but has gone AWOL.

These are extracts from Eric’s diary of last week:

Monday 6th February

I arrive in Perth from Adelaide in a 31 degree heat to find an elderly lady being given a good sniffing-over by one of the airport security dogs. Aha! I think, The only drugs you are going to find on her will have been prescribed by her doctor! But this dog is not looking for drugs; it is a ‘fruit dog’ and this old lady looks a likely suspect to be smuggling in a nectarine or a kumquat. I walk quickly past them hoping the dog does not smell the mango flavoured ice cream I spilt in my lap from the in-flight meal.

Walking across the concourse I bump into Ollie Simon, who is just leaving for Sydney having completed her duties as manager of the Axis of Awesome, an Aussie trio of talented musicians/comedians who are performing at the Fringe World Festival Perth (FWFP) – not to be confused with the Perth Festival, which does not start for another four days yet nor the Perth Fringe Festival which, according to the publicity, was initially due to replace the Fringe World Festival Perth (FWFP) in 2012.

Then I bump into Alex Petty (of the Edinburgh Free Festival) and Bob Slayer. Alex also arrived in Perth this afternoon, but from the UK, so he is significantly more jet-lagged than me. Bob looks like a man who has been here since he was deported for stealing bread and is none too happy about it. I later learn from Alex that Bob has been banished from the Fringe World Festival Perth (FWFP) and has had all his shows cancelled. I try to talk to him about it, but all I get out of him are animal noises.

We head off to see Marcel Lucont’s last show at the FWFP but, when we arrive, there seems to be some debate among the security staff as to whether Bob Slayer is allowed in. After a lot of talking into radios and one girl slipping away to make a discrete phone call to the festival director, Bob is finally issued with a ticket.

Tuesday 7th February

I arrive at the RTRfm radio studio at 7.10am to be interviewed. The interviewer is a guy called Peter Barr, a lovely chap and we chat for several minutes. (Listen here)

Later, I see a show called Polly’s Waffle. I arrive late and have to sit in the front row. Everyone else in the front row is swathed in plastic sheeting. I find out why a few minutes later when we all get covered in food, thrown at us by the very comely Summer Williams.

Marcel Lucont invites me to join him for some supper at an Italian restaurant and I arrive to find Bob Slayer licking a painting on the wall.

Wednesday 8th February

It is my first show today. After the show, I have a drink in the venue’s beer garden and receive a text informing me that Bob Slayer has been refused entry to the Treasury Beer Garden and I am summoned to join him at the Brass Monkey. So I head across town.

On arrival, I find Slayer, his face covered in Emulsion (apparently as a cheap alternative to sunscreen) sitting in the outdoor courtyard rocking backwards and forwards on his chair. He looks up, sees me, slips and jams his hand in between his chair and the railings. He ponces a pint off me and then just sits in silence drinking the beer I have just bought him and rubbing his hand. He is clearly in some discomfort.

Thursday 9th February

I go to Fast Eddie’s for supper with Alex Petty. Walking back across town towards our respective accommodation, we find a single stiletto abandoned on the pavement. A few yards away is a poster advertising Jelly Wrestling.

Friday 10th February

Bob Slayer was last seen tethered to a goat being put in the back of a van, smelling like he has been liberally greased in goose-fat.

I join Alex Petty at the Lucky Shag. I break my own golden rule of foreign travel and have a British beer: a pint of Hobgoblin Ruby – it is not easily found and it is a stonking good ale.

The barmaid has some difficulty pouring it and, after several unsuccessful attempts to stop it bubbling up and overflowing, I ask if there is anything I can do to help. She looks me straight in the eyes and offers to “suck the head off for me.” Then, seeing the look on my face, realises what she has said and we both blush furiously.

Saturday 11th February

As I enter my venue to do my show, the security guard warns me that I have to behave myself tonight or he will throw me out again…

“What do you mean throw me out again?” I ask.

“I had to throw you out last night as you had had too much to drink,” he answers.

“No you didn’t,” I protest. “I didn’t even have a drink here last night!” But it is no good, he is convinced that he ejected me the night before and there appears to be nothing I can do to convince him it wasn’t me.

I wonder: Has Bob Slayer been dressing up as me and causing trouble? Surely not…

I go on to St Georges Terrace, where trapeze artists are suspended high above the city throwing out feathers to mark the opening of the Perth Festival (which, if the posters are anything to go by, translates as the Perth International Arts Festival 10 Feb – 3 March). There are a LOT of feathers – and I mean a LOT of feathers – there are hundreds of people covered in the things and, when the crowd eventually disperses, it looks like a blanket of snow has fallen across the city. I feel that as they have gone to so much effort that it would be inappropriate to point out that today is actually the 11th.

Leave a comment

Filed under Australia, Comedy, Dreams, Drink, Theatre

The drunken death of British comedian Bob Slayer on tour in Australia

When I reached puberty, obviously, I started to masturbate. And some might say that wanking figuratively continues with this blog. Especially if, as I am about to, I describe the aim of this blog as quirky peeps into various sub-strata of society in the early 21st century.

A sort of Peeps Diary.

See?

Still wanking.

One thing which I have tried to develop is a cast of subsidiary characters threaded through the blogs – Hello there comedians Lewis SchafferCharlie ChuckBob Slayer, the late Malcolm Hardee et al.

I still have hopes of persuading Kate Copstick, doyenne of Edinburgh Fringe comedy critics, to contribute occasional offbeat reports from the slums of Nairobi in Kenya and to blog myself about seeing a haggis piped-in in Kiev and eating ice cream in North Korea. Stranger things have happened.

In the meantime, Bob Slayer has reached Perth in his mini-comedy-tour of Australia and, despite large intakes of drink and his larger-than-life fingers having to type on an iPad’s keyboard, his contribution perhaps gives some hints of what the hell is currently happening to him Down Under:

________

SO IT GOES IN AUSTRALIA
with Bob Slayer

I am an ex-Bob. It is hot and I have expired. An intravenous flow of Coopers Pale Ale is somehow keeping my clinically dead corpse in suspended animation until they can find a cure.

But, before I became recently deceased, I managed to go to the Wai-Con anime convention at Perth’s Convention Centre. Unfortunately I defied convention by not dressing as my favorite Japanese animated character, but fortunately that did not bar me from cashing-in on the free hugs being offered by young girls dressed as boys, cats and nuns with rabbit ears.

The event was co-hosted by the very funny and very boy, girl, nun-like John Robertson and his banjo in whose spare room I am currently living. He also performed his show: Dragon Punch! for me, his mum and around fifteen hundred 90s and noughties anime kids. This was the show I booked into The Hive last Edinburgh Fringe, only now it’s anime’d up with props and biscuits and runs an hour and a half. The kids loved John and Tweeted and Facebooked their approval afterwards like mad, in a sort of extended virtual applause…

How exciting it was. And very thirst making.

I found Marcel Lucont propping up the bar in my venue, supping a red wine and looking all mysterious. He shrugged his Gallic shrug and informed me that Bob Log III is in town.

Oh!

How much do I love Bob Log III?!

He is my spiritual father and hero.

He used to be the drummer in a band called Doo Rag. He regularly swapped his drum kit for drink until he gave up on owning drums altogether and would make up his kit entirely out of things he found in and around whatever venue he was playing. The band dissolved before they killed each other.

Now he tours the world near constantly as a one-man band. He sits magnificently behind a single bass drum and a low-slung high-hat cymbal at the front of the stage. He wears his spandex jumpsuit and a crash helmet with an old telephone receiver stuck in the visor as his microphone.

He plays the most amazing and raw blues guitar. He informs the audience with his southern drawl that he has not made one mistake tonight so we can all put away our Bob Log mistake books. He shrieks and wails his way through classics such as Clap Your Tits, I Want Your Shit on My Leg (a love song) and Boob Scotch (Put Yours in Mine).

I first saw him in maybe 2000 supporting Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the Forum in London. He totally and brilliantly split the audience. I was firmly in the blown-away camp and ended up in the flat of some music writer with a dozen strangers who had all been similarly affected and we stayed up all night discussing our new hero.

The next day, I caught a train to Bristol to visit a friend. After a boozy lunch, he had to go back to work for a couple of hours so, to kill time, I went to a music shop, bought a guitar and went busking for the afternoon.

Bob Slayer, street performer, was born.

I have seen my spiritual father many times since in Europe, America and Japan. He has become an underground legend around the world and recently, after marrying a pair of erotic dancers, he has moved to Australia.

Did I tell you how much I love Bob Log III?

My Perth gigs start tomorrow with a few slots and then my own shows are from Wednesday onwards. Tickets for Bob Slayer Will Out-Drink Australia are selling, but anyone who knows anyone in Australia should send them along for me to fall in love with…

Please also send money and clean underpants, as I am running out of both.

Leave a comment

Filed under Australia, Comedy, Drink, Eccentrics, Music, Theatre