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Casual Violence with Mr Methane farting around, plus Fringe comedy, David Icke & the Bilderberg conspiracy

Last night, I saw comedy sketch group Casual Violence performing what they called a ‘work in progress’ version of their upcoming new Edinburgh Fringe show House of Nostril.

It was slick, sick and silly, peculiar, perverse and potty – in other words classic Casual Violence weirdness.

James Hamilton, Casual Violence writer and twice Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award nominee, reckons his stuff is not weird but, then, he IS weird, so what does he know about it?

Casual Violence have even put a video about hair on YouTube this morning.

After the Casual Violence show last night, I got back to relative normality at home when I received to an email about the World Farting Championships at Utajärvi in Finland.

It seems the Chortle comedy website’s Fast Fringe preview is on 11th July in London and Chortle’s Steve Bennett had inquired into the availability of Mr Methane, the farter of alternative comedy, but he was sadly unavailable because he will be off to the World Farting Championships.

When I intruded into Steve’s grief last night, he told me: “It’s a shame. Mr Methane would have added something very distinctive to the atmosphere of the gig. However, the other 28 acts who are on the bill will possibly be grateful as the dressing rooms at Leicester Square Theatre are very small.”

I asked Mr Methane about his now tragic non-appearance at the upcoming Chortle gig:

“Being invited to the Fast Fringe,” he told me, “is a significant acknowledgement for any performer who is out there working his ring off, so it goes without saying that I’m more than a little frustrated at having a Diary Clash.

“But, that said, I can’t let down my fans in Finland nor the World Farting Championships – The promoters had already booked my tickets and announced my appearance.

“I have promised them some anal japery and anal japery they will get. My word is my bond. Mr Methane always come up trumps.”

“But,” I asked him, “what if you HAD appeared at the Fast Fringe preview: what would you have shown them?”

“I would,”  he told me, “have given potential Fringe goers a taster –  if that’s the right word – of what to expect at my Edinburgh Fringe show.

“It’s not just a performance show this year. I am attempting to give audiences the ‘back story’ of my 20+ years at the ‘bottom end’ of showbusiness… the quirky, stupid stuff that to me has become everyday normal but to everyday normal people is anything but normal.”

I thought of Casual Violence at this point.

“That said,” continued Mr Methane, “I realise that many will just want to see the farting so I’m going to do that as well… All the crowd pleasers… Candle in the Wind, the cake, the talcum powder, farting the dart…

“It’s going to be tricky getting the balance between spoken word and farting right, but I’m sure that wherever the balance point ends up I will share some good crack.”

His show – Mr Methane: My Life in Farting – is at the Edinburgh Fringe 13th-17th August – at Bob Slayer’s new venue Bob’s Bookshop. It should, as Steve of Chortle said, add “atmosphere”.

Never knowingly under-promoted: my upcoming Fringe show

Never knowingly under-promoted: my upcoming Fringe show

For better or worse, I may have to inhabit some of that atmosphere, as my show Aaaaaaaaaaaarrghhh! So It Goes- John Fleming’s Comedy Blog Chat Show is in the same venue 19th-23rd August. Let us hope the sweet smell of success transfers.

Mr Methane had two other little snippets of news for me.

The first was something totally unexplained in an e-mail. He told me:

“I met Bob Slayer at the weekend. The tank broke down due to fuel starvation, so he wasn’t able to arrive from out of the sea on an amphibious craft but is hoping to try again next year.”

I have absolutely no idea what this means.

The second thing he told me was in the same e-mail:

“BTW there is a Fringe Festival happening near you very soon – the Bilderberg Fringe Festival. Speakers confirmed so far include David Icke and Alex Jones, who Rolling Stone described as a giant in America’s conspiracy sub-culture.

Publicity for the Bilderberg Fringe

Publicity for Bilderberg Fringe features esteemed David Icke

“Fancy! The Bilderbergs just happening to set up shop down the road from you and then along comes a Bilderberg Fringe Festival as well. They’ve got an alternative media centre outside the hotel – That’s a whole week’s blog material right outside your front door. It’s come a long way since Jon Ronson covered them.”

I looked up the Bilderberg Fringe website after getting Mr Methane’s e-mail. It says:

“The Bilderberg conference is an annual, unaccountable, off-the-record summit attended by royalty, politicians, intelligence, Big Pharma, tech, banking and corporate CEOs plus policy-makers and media moguls from all over the world. The press are not invited, nor given any details beyond a participant list and a sketchy agenda.

“The group is run by a Steering Committee (which is the Bilderberg Group proper). The UK’s Minster of Justice Kenneth Clarke has been a member of the steering committee since at least 1998.

“Seeking to stimulate hearts and minds and unite the politically conscious, the Bilderberg Fringe Festival is an unmissable occasion for conscious citizens from all over the world to join together. We are expressing our outrage at this travesty of democracy the only way we know how. By hula-hooping in the sunshine and dancing barefoot in the grass. Except where cows have been.”

Perhaps James Hamilton and Casual Violence are not as uniquely weird as I thought.

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The Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show gets thrown together – much like spaghetti – at the Edinburgh Fringe

Like Malcolm, a unique one-off

The Awards Show poster at the 2012 Fringe

I always tell people that staging the annual two-hour Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show at the Edinburgh Fringe is a win-win situation.

If the show goes smoothly, that is good.

If the show turns a bit shambolic, then it is a true tribute to Malcolm and just as good.

The trick is really to book a good MC. Last year I struck gold with the excellent Miss Behave, who was and is on the right wavelength of Bizarre and knows all the best odd acts. This allowed the show to comprise even more speciality acts and less straight stand-ups. I hope she will present the Awards Show again this year but her availability is still uncertain – as is always the case with all acts at the Fringe.

I am not going to approach most acts until after the Fringe Programme is published on May 30th and I know who is actually in town, but I have some building blocks.

Last year, we had a very successful celebrity Russian Egg Roulette contest – instead of holding guns to the head, two people face each other across a table and smash hard-boiled eggs on their foreheads BUT one of the eggs is not hard-boiled – it is raw. The result is messy and that person loses.

Last year, contestants included comedians Richard Herring and Arthur Smith as well as eventual winner Lewis Schaffer.

This year, the World Egg Throwing Federation’s esteemed president Andy Dunlop will again be supervising a contest and has agreed our event will be the official Scottish Russian Egg Roulette Championship.

I feel honoured and humbled. And somewhat soiled.

Even British Mensa member Noel Burger had trouble juggling spaghetti in 2011

Even British Mensa member Noel Burger had trouble juggling spaghetti in Edinburgh in 2011

The two-hour Awards Show will also (I hope) include the return of uncooked spaghetti juggling.

Several Fringe performers and passers-by tried this a couple of years ago outside the Beehive Inn in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket. The only one who managed it truly successfully was juggler supreme Mat Ricardo who (unless he gets a better offer) will recreate his triumph on the show.

It is also likely that the farter of Alternative Comedy, the world’s only performing professional flatulist Mr Methane (after a run of his own show earlier in the Fringe), will make a special trip back up to Edinburgh to perform on the Comedy Awards Show.

As for publicity, I will be hosting five daily chat shows in the week of the Awards Show, titled Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrghhh! So It Goes – John Fleming’s Comedy Blog Chat Show. Book early to avoid disappointment – it’s only a fiver.

Malcolm Hardee pioneered the use of Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrghhh! in Fringe show titles as a way to get first listing in the Fringe Programme. One can but pray no-one else has added more letter ‘A’s this year. The Awards Show itself is titled Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrghhh! Free! It’s the Increasingly Prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show.

Details of who is appearing in the show will be posted on my website www.thejohnfleming.com and on the long-due-for-a-re-design Malcolm Hardee website www.malcolmhardee.co.uk/award

But also, in keeping with the title of the show, I have bought the domain name www.increasinglyprestigious.co.uk as well as www.fringecomedyawards.co.uk and, as the current newish sponsors of what used to be the Perrier Awards keep misleadingly implying that they have been sponsoring their awards for the last 30+ years, you can also find details of the Malcolm Hardee Awards at www.fosterscomedyawards.co.uk

This is in a general hope that they may try to sue me for misleading punters – something that is, I would argue strongly, at the heart of the Fringe experience. We do, after all, have an annual award for the best Cunning Stunt.

Our two hour charity variety show will, of course, include the presentation of the three annual Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards (even I would not be THAT misleading). These are:

– The Malcolm Hardee Award For Comic Originality

– The Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award (for best Fringe publicity stunt)

and, hopefully self-explanatory…

– The Malcolm Hardee ‘Act Most Likely to Make a Million Quid’ Award

The Malcolm Hardee Awards by the Forth Bridge

The Malcolm Hardee Awards await collection by Forth Bridge

Obviously, there are no rules, no forms and no application processes. The winners emerge, much like a new Pope, after obscure consultation in small rooms and modest tea-drinking by the judges who are more talent spotters than Simon Cowell type judges.

We hope to stumble on the winners. We do not particularly encourage people to suggest themselves.

The winner of the main Comic Originality award has to have a truly original act, show or persona. Anyone who thinks their show is “zany” is on the wrong wavelength. We have no idea what we are looking for – if we knew what to look for, it would not be truly original – but we recognise it when we see it.

If anyone has to tell us they have pulled a cunning publicity stunt, then they are not going to win by definition – If they have to tell us because we have not heard about it, then the stunt has failed to get publicity.

As for the ‘Million Quid’ award, the number of people likely to pretend to think they are going to make a million quid is too high to even begin to think about. Even if they do make a million quid, it will probably be squandered on drink, drugs, sex and agents they can’t afford, so it is usually a hollow success. But it sounds good as an Award title.

Last year, Ireland’s Rubberbandits won the Award For Comic Originality… England’s Stuart Goldsmith won the Cunning Stunt Award… and South Africa’s Trevor Noah won the ‘Act Most Likely To Make a Million Quid’ Award.

As usual, the three Awards this year will be presented by The Scotsman’s legendary comedy reviewer Kate Copstick and the evening will end, I hope, with The Greatest Show On Legs performing their traditional naked balloon dance. I certainly hope this is going to happen, because central ‘Leg’ Martin Soan is coming up to Edinburgh solely for this show and is stealing my bed in my Edinburgh flat on the basis he will get his kit off and wave some inflated rubber spheres around in a balletic manner.

Other performers will be announced nearer the date. Previous Malcolm Hardee tribute shows have included Jo Brand, Jimmy Carr, Jools Holland, Stewart Lee, Johnny Vegas et al. Do not expect Justin Bieber.

The Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show is part of the Laughing Horse Free Festival – free entry, but with the audience encouraged to donate money as they leave. A full 100% of all money collected (with no deductions of any kind) goes to the Mama Biashara charity run by Kate Copstick.

As Malcolm Hardee’s reputation on money was not angelic, I feel obliged to spell out the exact details.

Especially as this year, for the first time, the Awards Show will be sponsored.

Just The Greatest sponsors

Just The Greatest sponsors the 2013 Comedy Awards

The new Just The Greatest comedy audio label is kindly donating a lump sum to cover the cost of designing, printing and distributing flyers and posters… and the cost of the Fringe Programme fee, the sound teching of the show and the cost of engraving the trophies. A full 100% of any money left over from this lump sum will be donated to the Mama Biashara charity.

I have always been a bit wary of sponsorship for the Awards because of the risk of anything too corporate being connected with an anarchic-imaged set of awards. Also, I do not want to make or to be misinterpreted as making money out of giving awards in memory of dead Malcolm. And I would have trouble getting top acts to perform for free if the few pennies donated were not going to charity or if I were making anything out of it. So I have never covered any of my costs before.

Because of Malcolm’s rather dodgy reputation, just to be clear… None of my personal costs are being covered. No transport; no accommodation costs; no personal costs. Nowt is being covered except show costs – the Fringe Programme entry, flyers, posters, engraving and sound teching. To save money, the flyers and posters will probably advertise both the Awards Show and the five days of my chat shows. In that case, only 50% of their costs will be taken from the sponsorship money (to cover the Awards Show element) and I will pay for the other 50% (to cover the chat shows’ advertising) out of my own pocket.

100% of any sponsorship money not spent on specific show costs will go to the Mama Biashara charity. As will 100% of all money given by the audience on the night of the Awards Show – Friday 23rd August, the final Friday of the Fringe.

Jesus! The hoops I have to make sure I am seen to jump through just because Malcolm might have been a bit creative with money. And I will still be losing money on the show. All this for some dead bloke with big bollocks!

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Another comedian is not going to the Edinburgh Fringe this year because he is preparing his Edinburgh Fringe show

Another comedian not going to the Edinburgh Fringe this year

Martin thinks camping around is too extreme for me

In a previous blog, almost a month ago, I mentioned comedian Martin Soan’s suggestion that he and I take a one-week barge trip through rural England.

He told me then: “I do all the barging. I do all the cooking. And you just sit on your computer and you blog. I’ll be telling you stories. But also you’ll be sailing at six miles an hour – roughly two miles an hour faster than walking speed – which is very good for contemplation and creativity. What a brilliant idea that is.”

Last night he told me:

“I looked into it. Hiring a barge is prohibitively expensive. But you could sit on your sofa in your living room at home in Borehamwood and I will get you a roller…”

“The car?” I asked.

“Not the car,” said Martin. “A roller like they used in the old silent movies. I paint lots of country scenery on this roller and it moves along behind your sofa so it feels to you like you are travelling along at six miles an hour. And I do everything else. I do all the work. You just sit there…”

“You do all what work?” I asked.

“Like cooking,” said Martin. “Cooking, cleaning and rollering and the scenery goes past you like in the middle distance at a perfect speed for cogitation and imaginative thought.”

“What about the lack of water?” I asked.

“Well,” said Martin, “you’ll have your computer with you, so you can’t risk having any water around. You would have been OK on a barge with a computer, but that’s prohibitively expensive and camping on riverbanks is too extreme for you.”

“Camping on riverbanks is too extreme for me?” I asked.

“Too extreme for you,” said Martin.

“I don’t mind extreme,” I said, slightly miffed.

“I know a trip down the River Wye…” continued Martin.

“Why?” I asked.

“Wye,” repeated Martin wearily. “And you can do a three day trip down and it only costs you £150 to hire the canoe and you can…”

“Did you say canoe?” I asked, slightly worried.

“Canoe,” confirmed Martin.

“That sounds a bit extreme for me,” I said.

“It’s an absolute genius holiday,” Martin emphasised.

“Is a canoe like a barge?” I queried.

“Nothing like a barge,” said Martin, “but the same rules apply. If it’s raining, that’s tough but – you know – it’s always raining. It’s amazing. When you’re outside in Britain 24 hours a day, it is amazing how much rain there is out there. You would say it hadn’t rained today, wouldn’t you?”

“It hasn’t rained today,” I said, trying to be helpful.

“It has rained three times,” said Martin.

“Where?” I asked.

“Here, there and everywhere,” replied Martin. “Believe me. I speak the truth. It always does.”

“It does in Edinburgh, that’s for sure,” I said. “Why aren’t you performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year?”

“I can’t say why,” explained Martin, “because it would go in your blog and people would know about it. And it’s not going to be ready until next year.”

“You don’t have to mention that,” I reassured him, “You only have to say why you’re not going up this year.”

“I’m working on my Edinburgh show for next year… That’s why I’m not going up to Edinburgh this August,” laughed Martin. “I’ve got to a stage of maturity within my showbiz career when I realise it’s pointless.”

“What’s pointless?”

“Me going up to Edinburgh this year. I don’t have the show. Next year, I will have the show. I’m starting work on it now and I don’t want to be rushed into it or cobble things together. Last year’s show was so rushed I didn’t think it through.”

“For example?”

“The exploding maraca man – What a gag – But it was dropped on Day One, because I just had the costume in shreds without the exploded maraca… and no explosion… All these things are fairly essential to make the gag work.”

“You had the maraca?” I asked.

“I had the maraca,” Martin confirmed.

“You had to be there, I guess,” I said.

“Not really,” said Martin.

“But no Edinburgh Fringe show for The Greatest Show on Legs this year,” I checked.

“No,” confirmed Martin.

“Though you might,” I said hopefully, “come up to perform on the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show on the final Friday night?”

“I’m certainly coming up for that,” said Martin.

“Are you sleeping on my floor on the Friday night?” I asked.

“No,” said Martin. “I’m sleeping in your bed. You’re sleeping on the floor.”

Mr Methane might have a prior booking on the bed,” I warned him.

“Is he doing the Malcolm Hardee show?” asked Martin.

“Yes,” I said, “unless he gets a call from Spielberg or Las Vegas. He’s done it before. Last time, he did it as a return trip – he just blew in and blew out.”

Martin looked at me and said nothing.

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Comedy farter Mr Methane gets i-rate and i-noyed with Apple & Red Nose Day

Mr Methane gets iRate with iTunes on his iPhone

Yesterday, Mr Methane got iRate about iTunes on his iPhone

There seems to be no end to the bloggability of my chum Mr Methane, the Farter of Alternative Comedy.

I got an e-mail from him yesterday afternoon:

“Just over two years ago,” it started, “I produced a Mr Methane fart app. This was rejected by iTunes and remains unpublished due to Apple’s we don’t need any more fart apps policy of September 2010.

“They told me: We cannot post this version to the App Store because we are no longer accepting this type of app. We don’t need any more Fart apps. If your app doesn’t do something useful or provide some form of lasting entertainment, it may not be accepted.

“But fast forward to 2013 and, in the UK, Comic Relief now have a Fart App on the Apple Store.

“Something stinks here,” Mr Methane continues, “there seems to be one rule for me and another rule for someone else! In fact, I’d like to offer Apple my app as a charity download for those people pissed off with Red Nose Day. The profits would go to children in Africa deeply traumatised by being visited by Lenny Henry every year for a Comic Relief documentary.

“Seriously, though, I think Comic Relief needs to move on, get more radical and rediscover those anarchic alternative days of the 1980s when Comedy took on the Establishment and politicians, shining a light on their inadequacies and nefarious activities.

Red Nose Day is on 15th March this year

Red Nose Day is 15th March 2013

“I honestly think that if Comic Relief said Look, everybody! This year we are raising money for humanitarian aid to help families whose lives have been wrecked by illegal attacks from US and British operated predator drones, showed a documentary about it and then asked government ministers some awkward questions, they would have the biggest take in the charity’s history.

“That said, it’s a free country – allegedly –  and some people would say that I’m just doing what I always do – Talking out of my arse!”

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At what point does ‘being famous’ start? Take these three comedians… Please.

(This was also published by the Indian news site WSN)

The Fringe has reduced comedian Lewis Schaffer to this

Lewis Schaffer publicising his Leicester Square Theatre show

Is American comedian Lewis Schaffer famous? He has been performing his free show – Free Until Famous – for so long that it has become the longest-running solo comedy show in London.

He usually starts his shows by saying they will be free until he is famous.

In a fortnight, he begins an eight-week run of his new show – Lewis Schaffer’s American Guide to England – at the Leicester Square Theatre (every Sunday) at £10 per ticket. Does this, as mind-reader Doug Segal has suggested, mean that Lewis Schaffer is now famous because he is charging admission? And will his ongoing Free Until Famous shows affect or enhance audiences for his paid shows?

Who knows but, last night, he lost the shirt off his back.

Lewis Schaffer performing in London last night

Lewis Schaffer performing semi-naked in London last night

A woman in the audience told him she was disappointed he was wearing clothes because she had seen the publicity for his Leicester Square shows (in which he is seen, naked, under an American flag) and thought that was the show she had come to see.

So he took his shirt off and did half his show half naked,

I am not sure if this is a sign of successful publicity or fame or desperation or not.

Scór Encore with Aindrias de Staic (left)

Scór Encore with the newly respectable Aindrias de Staic (left)

Yesterday, I also got a publicity blurb from Irish broadcaster RTÉ which informed me that Aindrias de Staic is one of the judges on the new talent show Scór Encore starting on their TG4 channel this Sunday.

Just a few years ago, Aindrias was performing an autobiographical Edinburgh Fringe show called Around The World on 80 Quid. He had done exactly what it said in the title. When I contacted him yesterday, he told me: “You could say I’ve been appearing on all sides of the globe lately…

Aindrias de Staic - his normal look

Aindrias de Staic – his more well-known, for-him-normal look

“Last Friday, I was appearing in the UK premiere of Songs for Amy at the Glasgow Film Festival. This week I’m in Toronto, appearing in the first ever Spoken Word Symposium at the Folk Alliance Conference in Toronto – don’t forget to say I’m performing my ‘unique brand of gaelic-hiphop’ – and this coming weekend I’m back on Irish screens as a judge on Scór Encore.

“Having been up before the judge myself many times, it will be an interesting turn-around for this Galway boy to sit in a judge’s chair. I’ll tell you more soon.”

But does all this big screen/stage/small screen work mean he is famous?

At a certain level, it must mean that.

But, as yet, people are not selling or buying Aindrias de Staic face masks or costumes.

You too can buy a Mr Methane costume

Buy your own Methane costume

My chum Mr Methane – the Farter of Alternative Comedy – told me yesterday that ‘officially-licensed Mr Methane costumes’ are currently on sale at the very reasonable asking price of £14.95 – a saving of £15.04. And, for only £1.99 extra, you can also buy “a realistic-looking silver glitter microphone with a black handle” to “complete the desired look”.

Does the fact a company wants to buy a licence to sell copies of your costume to the public mean you are famous?

Mr Methane told me that it set him wondering how many other UK comics market their image via costumes. Sasha Baron Cohen’s ‘mankini’ costume seems to be out there for around £5 but, says Mr Methane, “generally people’s marketing seems to be mostly via those likelife celebrity masks as opposed to a fully-blown costume.

Alan Partridge, as work by Mr Methane

Alan Partridge mask as worn by Mr Methane

“I myself,” confided Mr Methane, “own an Alan Partiridge mask. It was on offer in a local charity shop, unused and still bagged for 50p, so my sister bought it for me with the idea that I could annoy everyone on Christmas Day with Alan Partridge impressions.”

I think everyone in the UK would admit Alan Partridge is famous.

But he does not exist. What about fame?

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What singer Phil Collins thought of Mr Methane’s offer of a farted charity single

After three blogs this week about Mr Methane – the Farter of Alternative Comedy – I thought I had got the world’s only professionally performing flatulist out of my system, but then he goes and tells me that he has the third largest number of hits on the Britain’s Got Talent YouTube channel – at the time of writing, he has had over 28 million views against Susan Boyle’s 22 million views.

Phil Collins - not a fan of flatulence in 1997

Phil Collins – not a fan of flatulent music in 1997

And he also told me about Phil Collins.

In 1994, Mr Methane performed a version of Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight – suitably farted and re-titled Curry In The Air Tonight. Mr M’s manager had initially approached Phil Collins via his PA and asked if they could record and release it

“The message came back,” Mr Methane told me yesterday, “that Phil said Do what the fuck you want with it. We finished the song and sent it off to Phil who was on the road with Genesis at the time for final approval. His manager got involved and said No. Apparently the technicians were playing it at Genesis sounds checks – Whether that had something to do with the change of heart I’m not sure.”

Mr Methane tried again in 1997, contacting Phil who was, at the time, President of Comic Heritage (which later became part of The Heritage Foundation).

Mr Methane’s letter said:

__________________________________________________________

Mr Methane's letter to Phil Collins

Mr Methane tries to curry favour from Phil Collins

Dear Mr Collins,

Though mainly recognised as an international musician/composer, I note your interest and appreciation of comedy and as a result your title, Annual President of Comic Heritage 1997. This is to be applauded and now surely is the time for you to re-appraise the following issue.

I am a working comedy variety act, having performed the ability to pass wind in tune and at will. Three years ago I was refused permission by your publishers to release a comedy version of your well known hit single, ‘In The Air Tonight’. In view of the fact that you are now publicly allied with the world of comedy, I throw down the gauntlet and issue the following invitation.

Will the president of Comic Heritage grant licence for my much acclaimed parody of ‘In The Air Tonight’ entitled ‘Curry In The Air Tonight’ to be released with all royalties from this song’ sales going towards Comic Heritage or another charity of the composer’s choice?

Yours sincerely,

Mr Methane

__________________________________________________________

A fortnight later, Mr Methane got a reply from Phil’s manager:

__________________________________________________________

Reply from Phil Collins' manager

Reply from Phil Collins’ personal/business manager

As per our previous correspondence with you, this is to confirm that we will not grant permission for Phil Collins’ hit single “In The Air Tonight” to be used in the manner in which you describe.

This is a very serious song and we cannot see any reason for it to be taken so lightly.

Yours sincerely

Tony Smith

Personal & Business Manager
to Phil Collins

__________________________________________________________

Currently, the official video of In The Air Tonight has had over 24 million views.

But I can’t help but feel that Phil’s manager’s decision was Music’s – and Comedy’s – loss.

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Frank Skinner & Mr Methane TV act banned by the BBC (and Phil Spector)

Mr Methane ended up looking like a Muppet

Someone on the BBC TV show ended up looking like a Muppet

The comedy ‘Rule of Three’ and Fate have combined to decree that Mr Methane appears in my blog for the third day running.

One of his better stories can never be told because, before the performance, he had to sign a non-disclosure agreement that he would never tell anyone the performance had taken place in that location to those people…

However, yesterday he reminded me about one publishable non-appearance he made.

Mr Methane is the Farter of Alternative Comedy, a phrase I will repeat until someone else copies it.

Comedian Frank Skinner used to have a chat show on BBC TV.

One week, Frank had actor Gene Wilder on his show and the subject of Blazing Saddles came up: a movie with a famous farting scene.

Frank mentioned Mr Methane’s performances to Gene and, in Mr Methane’s words, “slagged me off in a comic fashion, said I had played a few ‘bum notes’ and then did a bad impression.”

Mr Methane, a self-publicist experienced in blowing his own trumpet, took Frank to task about slagging him off and the result was he ended up on Frank’s TV show the next week, doing a duet of Da Doo Ron Ron, the 1963 Crystals song originally produced by Phil Spector.

Mr Methane appeared with Frank Skinner, but the BBC got windy

Frank appeared with Mr Methane, but the BBC got windy

“Frank was genuinely sorry about what he’d said the previous week and meant no offence,” Mr Methane tells me. “It was just a comedy slag off.”

According to Frank Skinner’s autobiography Phil Spector was not happy about the farted version of Da Doo Ron Ron. Neither was the BBC who got windy – not because of the song but because of the references to farting in the previous week’s show and the amount of complaints it had generated.

The BBC insisted that Frank edited out the Da Doo Ron Ron performance from his show before it was transmitted.

The act was unseen on the Unseen video

Act still unseen on the Unseen video

Later, the farted version of Da Doo Ron Ron was included on a video titled The Unseen Frank Skinner TV Show, but, Mr Methane tells me, “Phil Spector’s music publishers had an injunction put in place and all the videos had to be withdrawn just before Christmas. My section was edited out and a sticker put on sleeve saying This Video Does Not Contain Mr Methane… because most of sleeve artwork was basically press cuttings about our duet being axed from the original show: Beeb Blow Out Musical Bum, etc. All the re-editing delayed the video’s release and Frank missed the Christmas sales boom. No-one was happy.”

In his highly-recommended autobiography, Frank Skinner also talks about the occasion when Phil Spector, while receiving a lifetime music award, went into a rant live on Australian TV about the farted duet of Da Do Ron Ron, saying that Mr Methane and Frank Skinner had taken his work of art and desecrated it.

In 2009, Phil Spector was convicted of murder – shooting actress Lana Clarkson in 2003. He is serving a prison sentence of 19 years to life.

There is a YouTube video of the banned BBC footage which also features Ronnie Verrel (who did the drumming for Animal on The Muppet Show) on drums.

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