Tag Archives: duck

Comedians Malcolm Hardee, Charlie Chuck + a duck, a fox & a death threat

A pair of Indian Runner ducks

A pair of Indian Runner ducks not quacking on some grass

It is my birthday today and, in lieu of anything interesting happening to blog about this morning, I looked at my diary for 2002.

Nothing much happened on my birthday that year either.

But this is what happened in the week leading up to it.

It involves the comedians Malcolm Hardee and Charlie Chuck.

My father had died the previous year. My mother was ill in Clacton.

Sunday 21st July – Clacton, Essex

Malcolm phoned me up to tell me he can’t hear other people very well at the moment. He says the sound is muffled. But his own voice sounds very loud inside his head.

“It could be just old age,” he mumbled to me. “It could be just old age.”

Monday 22nd July – Stansted, Essex

I collected my friend and her son from Stansted Airport.

Tuesday 23rd July – St Albans, Hertfordshire

I spent the day out at a St Alban’s visitors’ farm with my friend and her son, my friend’s cousin and the cousin’s husband and two children. I said to the cousin, as we watched pigs eat:

“We’re all worm meat in the end.”

“Unless you get cremated,” she replied.

“I’d prefer to rot,” I said. “It seems more romantic.”

“Really?” she said. “I wouldn’t want to be buried after I watched my mother lowered so deep into the ground. I’ve told my husband I won’t watch him being buried.”

Wednesday 24th July – Fleckney, Leicestershire

I went to Charlie Chuck’s home for a meal. The small street in which he lives has a three-legged cat. He told me his occasional sound man – long haired and hippyish – can sleep through anything. Once, in Leeds, the sound man had a broken window in his bedroom and, during the night, a snowdrift built up at the foot of his bed, as high as his mattress. On another occasion, he went to sleep in a field and, in the morning, woke to find slugs in his hair. He had trouble getting them out.

Thursday 25th July – Borehamwood, Hertfordshire

I got a message from a British friend in the US:

“Get this,” she told me. “Americans say Fuckin’ A because Fuckin’ Hell is too rude.  Morons.”

Friday 26th July – Clacton, Essex

Malcolm told me on the phone that he has bought a duck. His partner Andrée found a small duckling which had got stuck halfway out of the shell during birth. She cared for it overnight, but it died. So he went up to Enfield in North London to buy her an Indian Runner duck, which they will keep on his Wibbley Wobbley pub boat.

Saturday 27th July – Rotherhithe, London

Last night, Malcolm was awakened by a sound. He looked out the window and saw a fox walking up the gangplank leaving the boat. The duck was unharmed.

We went to his Wibbley Wobbley boat. The previous owner is over from Spain and has threatened to kill Malcolm unless he gets the remaining £55,000 he is owed from the sale; he is friendly with gangster Charlie Richardson. Fortunately Xxxx Yyyy has just returned from Hong Kong with £150,000 he saved while working there. He has lent Malcolm £55,000 which will be transferred into the previous owner’s bank account on Monday.

The duck is rather big – just over a foot high and only quacks when you go near it.

1 Comment

Filed under Comedy

An everyday surreal conversation about a duck laying an egg or a big spacecraft

I sometimes run interviews in this blog. I often quote people direct. That is because (with their knowledge) I record their conversations on my iPhone. But I always ‘clean up’ what is said. I take out the ums and errs and ahs and sometimes re-order subjects so people speak in something approaching sentences and so the conversation progresses logically.

After school, I was offered a place to study Philosophy at Bristol University but instead, a year later, I did Communication Studies at what was then the Regent Street Polytechnic in London. The radio, TV and journalism course included psychology and sociology.

When I was there, one exercise we had to do was go into a room with two other people and record a conversation we had – any conversation – then transcribe it onto paper word-for-word with no changes. This was to show us the erratic and non-linear way people actually talk as opposed to the logical, linear way we think people speak in conversations.

What follows is a fairly random piece of conversation I recorded recently (with the people’s knowledge) while getting something for my blog. I have not edited what was said. There were three people involved, but I have not identified which person is saying what.

____________________________________________________

–  That’s a big one!

–  A large alien spacecraft just came out of my arse. Fucking hell!

–  Ducks have to learn how to lay eggs?

–  I’m not saying that! You could use that against me.

–  Laying an egg is surely the most natural thing in the world.

–  But not… But only if they’re living in an environment which is natural for them. If they’re living around humans… It’s like the same as like…

–  It’s like saying A woman doesn’t know how to have a baby. It just pops out.

–  But, if a woman grows up around lions, she’s not going to know how to have a baby, because she’s going to be brought up in a different… I think her body was just sorting itself out, because sometimes she would lay really weird, wonky eggs and sometimes eggs with no shell.

–  Well, it’s only then… The way you have to remember it is it’s only then – unless I got all my female physiognomy mixed up – It would only be them going through a monthly cycle. So they create the egg, don’t they…

–  But, if she’s just starting her monthly cycle, it’s going to be a bit touch-and-go, isn’t it… Her body just…

–  It’s a beautiful image, your duck walking along the road and Ooh, I got a bit of a sore tummy. Oh, I got a bit of a sore tummy. Oh oooh! Oooooh! Blimey, I’ve just… a big alien spacecraft,’s coming out of my arse! What the hell is that, man!

–  How big was the garden?

–  It was an acre. It was a big garden.

–  I want to get back to laying eggs. It just comes out, surely.

–  No. When they learn to sit down…

–  What do you mean No? It does.

–  No it doesn’t. Has to be fertilised…

–  They lay unfertilised eggs all the time, don’t they?

–  Well, precisely, yes. That’s what you’re saying, you know.

–  Well, she can’t decide I’m going to have a fertilised egg.

–  No, I’m not suggesting that. I’m…

–  It’s the same with anything. You just go from being to being an adult to doing all the things on your own. Babies have to be looked after until they learn to do things on their own.

–  I’m going mad. An elephant’s got feathers on the back.

–  One of those fake moustaches.

–  What happens when they don’t know how to lay the egg properly? What do they do?

–  They come out wonky, they come out…

–  In what way?

–  They come out with no shell, they come out with half a shell…

–  What’s wonky? An egg is an egg.

–  Like wonky.

–  In what way? An egg is an egg.

–  Irregular.

–  Like a kidney bean. Large…

–  How do you know they’re not laying kidney beans? An egg is an egg.

–  You’re taking it all too literally.

–  Yeah. It’s a woman’s monthly cycle. They’re going to do it whatever.

–  Right, are we going to go feed that cat?

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor, Humour, Surreal

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Comedy, Religion

Lewis Schaffer stunt scuppered; Charlie Chuck fights back with ducks in his hair

A few days ago, I wrote a blog which basically lamented the lack of decent publicity stunts at the Edinburgh Fringe. This is of particular interest to me as I organise the annual Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award for best Fringe publicity stunt. I started it because the Fringe seemed to have lost part of its original irresponsibility.

In 2009, American comic Lewis Schaffer won the Cunning Stunt Award for a fake press release in which he claimed he was sponsoring the former Perrier Awards for £99 and they would henceforth be named after him.

But once is never enough for Lewis.

A few weeks ago, he was going to issue a list of the Top 20 comedians not to have appeared on television and he was going to put himself in the No 7 position “because I don’t really believe in myself”.

I thought this was an interesting self-publicity idea. But his plan was accidentally scuppered when, a couple of days later, Malcolm Hardee judge and doyenne of Fringe comedy critics Kate Copstick, coincidentally published a list in the Scotsman newspaper of her 20 Comedians to Catch at the Edinburgh Festival. As she put Lewis in third place on this ‘proper’ list of good comedians, it tragically undercut his self-deprecation schtick.

Still, I have hopes he will come up with another unexpected publicity stunt. I have always fantasised about him dressed as a chicken. But any Schafferian avian stunt may have been scuppered too.

I had a phone call yesterday from Charlie Chuck whose girlfriend, as I blogged a couple of days ago, has 21 ducks in her back garden, some of them small chicks.

Ducks are occasionally mentioned in Charlie Chuck’s act and he had a cartoon character of himself created years ago which has ducks in its hair so, on the phone, he suggested that… yup… He suggested I should go up to Leicestershire and see him in his girlfriend’s back garden where I could take photographs of him with ducks in his hair.

Or, at least, ducklings.

“There’s this little one that’s up for it and probably more,” he told me. “This one’s only four days old and it’s well up for a bit o’ adventure. It loves being in me hair.”

This idea was so obviously insane and pointless that I immediately said Yes.

I’m driving up in a couple of days time.

As there are not and never will be any hard-and-fast rules for any Malcolm Hardee Award, I see no conflict of interest in taking the photos myself and then, if they are any good and get any publicity for the show, nominating Charlie Chuck for the Cunning Stunt Award.

But, in fact, I’m not convinced one publicity photo taken in a back garden in rural Leicestershire counts as a publicity stunt.

If he were to walk down Princes Street in Edinburgh during the Fringe with 15 birds in his hair, yelling out details of his two shows, that would be a stunt.

But, if it works as a photo – which it may not – it gives an idea of the area we’re interested in for the Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award.

I think mad, bad and dangerous to know is almost always good.

Pity about the price of petrol.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, PR

When Bernard Manning took Charlie Chuck backstage at James Whale’s show

Yesterday afternoon, I had a tea-room crawl around London’s West End with comedian Charlie Chuck. He had come down for a meeting in Soho about appearing in a TV ad.

He told me his girlfriend now has 21 ducks and a Buddha statue in her back garden. To celebrate, we went down to see the ducks in St James’s Park which is a fine example of ornithological multi-culturalism where any number of imaginable and unimaginable breeds intermingle, mostly politely, and occasional light grey pigeons wander randomly about, looking slightly stunned at the surrounding plumage, like drab, grey-suited City gents who have accidentally wandered into the VIP hospitality tent behind the Pyramid Stage in Glastonbury.

Dave (Charlie Chuck’s real name) told me more about his unbilled second show at the upcoming Edinburgh FringeDave Kear’s Guide to the Universe – which I blogged about last week and which he will perform in theSpaces@SurgeonsHall for six days. He has plans to develop this year’s show into an hour-long play called Mister Nobody at the 2012 Fringe and has been discussing with a 1960s ‘celebrity vicar’ what that might involve.

Sitting in St James’s Park, watching a three-mallard duck-fight on the water, Dave suddenly remembered that, when he was a 20-year-old drummer with innocent hopes of a hit parade career ahead of him, he had slept overnight on a deckchair in this very park, the night before an early morning meeting with a record producer in what was then Tin Pan Alley.

He also regaled me with tales of touring Britain for a year in the 1970s as drummer with The Missouri Breaks – backing band for 1950s British rock ‘n’ roll legend Wee Willie Harris. Support acts for Wee Willie Harris on that tour were comedians Bernard Manning and Duncan ‘chase me chase me’ Norvelle.

That sounds to me like one hell of an eclectic tour.

Manning’s act involved going on stage with two large, fearsome-looking bouncers who stood on either side of him while he insulted the audience and the other acts. Seeing the size of the bouncers, no-one ever objected to the insults.

“I met Bernard again on James Whale‘s 40th Birthday Party show,” Dave told me, “and he asked me into his dressing room and told me You’re doing a great job. That’s a great character. I were chuffed. It were very nice of him.”

1 Comment

Filed under Comedy, Music