Tag Archives: fatherhood

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.

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Filed under Australia, Comedy, Dreams, Drink, Theatre

How a comic’s Christmas baby was born rather late in Australia’s summer sun

I woke up this morning to about six inches of snow as far as the eye could see. Things are said to be worse in the Ukraine. Well, they are. People are dying from the cold.

Things are allegedly better in Australia.

I say ‘allegedly’ because I prefer the snow to the sun – probably a consequence of being partly brought-up on a hill in Aberdeen. There was a block of flats involved.

But I digress already.

I mentioned in passing in a blog a couple of days ago British comedian Eric, who has recently become a father in Australia.

A few people thought my blog was rather sketchy – “At least you could have mentioned the baby’s name,” someone said to me.

Eric is in Adelaide at the moment, but flies to Perth tomorrow to the Fringe World Festival, where he will tell tales of his past as a submariner.

Then he flies back to the Adelaide Fringe, 24 February to 18 March.

So the new baby will be well-travelled very early.

Eric met the new baby’s mum Helen when he was performing his show at the Adelaide Fringe back in 2010.

The baby was due on 18th December last year and the plan was to fly out from Britain to Australia in October, have the baby, then have a typical Aussie Christmas morning on the beach followed by a BBQ.

But, Eric told me this week in an e-mail from Oz:

…the baby had other plans and when we woke up on Christmas morning, she was still in residence in mummy’s tummy and didn’t show any signs of joining us any time soon. So we went to the beach as planned, with Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody blasting out of everybody’s radio. It was the first time I had ever taken any notice of the line, “Are you waiting for the family to arrive?”

While we were at the beach we phoned the hospital, as there had been some water that wasn’t provided by the sea… and the midwife told us to go to the hospital.

 Although they let us out again, we had to go back first thing on Boxing Day (or Proclamation Day as they call it here).

So, at 7.00am, we packed our bags and set off.

As we got to the end of the drive we were flagged down by our elderly neighbour. I thought: Oh! How nice! She is waving us down to say Merry Christmas and wish us well for the delivery!

But, instead, she said: You’ve got to help me! I’ve got no electricity!

She was making Christmas dinner and it was going to be ruined if I couldn’t get the oven back on. So I spent the next few minutes sorting out her electricity supply.

It was something with apricots apparently…

As we set off again, the car radio was playing Johnny Mathis – When a Child is Born.

Twenty-six long hours later, Johnny’s prediction came true.

A water birth if you’re interested.

And she is the most gorgeous little baby girl. Well, according to everyone we meet anyway. Although I must admit I do agree with everyone. And I’m not biased.

We debated names for her… Well, I say we debated… Her mother told me what she was going to be called and I agreed. As I met Helen when she came to see my show, it is perhaps only right that the baby’s name should be meaningful.

So she is now called baby Erica.

Her poos are mustard colour

* * *

So tomorrow, rather worryingly, Eric, Helen and Erica are heading towards Perth where, by all accounts, British comedian Bob Slayer is proving the truth of his show’s title Bob Slayer Will Out-Drink Australia.

What happens in the coming week when there is a triple culture clash between Australia, Bob Slayer and baby Erica and family, I dread to think. Eric tells me:

I played cricket with Bob at the Comedians’ Cricket Match back in the UK last May (my blog about it is hereand we were under strict instructions to wear ‘whites’. The opposition laughed as Bob strode to the crease dressed from head to foot in black, then promptly stopped laughing as he hit their star bowler for six! That’s the thing with Bob: you never know what he is going to do, either onstage or off…

Stay tuned.

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Filed under Australia, Comedy, Parenthood