Tag Archives: flatulism

Britain’s Got Talent, farts, pigeon impersonators and PR spin

The ghost of Malcolm Hardee still stalks the world of comedy and speciality acts six years after his untimely drowning.

In 2009, my chum Mr Methane – the world’s only professionally performing farter and an oft-time performer at Malcolm’s various clubs – was invited to audition for Britain’s Got Talent on ITV. They did not choose him, perhaps because his farts were unusually smelly that day (they usually don’t smell at all and the act is an odour-free zone). But it was worth the trip as the video on YouTubehas so far got almost seven million hits worldwide and it led to him appearing on and reaching the semi-finals of Das Supertalent – Germany’s Got Talent, despite not being German and having no German connections.

And they say the Germans have no sense of the absurd!

On Britain’s Got Talent, the judges perform just as much as the auditionees – they provide OTT, sometimes cartoony, reactions so there is a supply of good cutaway shots for the edited, transmitted show.

It was good to see another regular Malcolm Hardee club performer – Phil ‘The Pigeon Man’ Zimmerman – making the tabloids yesterday by allegedly terrifying Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden. Getting reported in the Daily Mail is always good news. Especially when they claim you were dressed in a pigeon costume and you weren’t.

According to an ‘audience member’ calling herself Katie Beth who posted on the Digital Spy website, “When the crazy guy was on Amanda looked freaked out and left her seat and spoke to a security guy. Then she went back to her seat only for him to leap off the stage at the end of his ‘performance’. When he jumped off the stage Amanda was straight back out of her seat and stood/hid behind Michael McIntyre who spun his chair round so he was hugging her while security grabbed the crazy man.”

Metro correctly, if less dramatically, reported that Phil had, in fact, only approached the judges to hand out flyers for his comedy club.

And the Chortle website reported that, after the incident, Amanda Holden tweeted on Twitter: “Been possibly the best day we’ve ever had in London for BGT today!! Next week, Manchester here we come!” so I doubt if the lovely Amanda will need too much therapy for post-traumatic stress syndrome.

The spin betwixt truth and publicity is always interesting. But Phil Zimmerman is certainly someone to watch.

I was invited to Phil’s Guy Fawkes Night party last year but couldn’t go – it involved video cameras positioned throughout his house which (as far I remember) were going to stream what was happening inside the house onto the internet. I now wish I had gone. Someone who did go tells me it all ended when an irate neighbour started shooting at the party-goers with an air gun causing mass panic in the garden. When the police eventually arrived, they spent some considerable time crawling around the garden in the dark looking for pellets in the grass…

Phil Zimmerman. The man who brought the Metropolitan Police to its knees.

It sounds almost Hardee-esque in its bizarreness.

On the subject of PR spin and talent, I organise (if that’s the word for it and it probably isn’t) the annual Malcolm Hardee Awards, the real Edinburgh Fringe Awards for comedy. This year, they will be presented during a two-hour stage show on Friday 26th August. Accept no substitutes.

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Data protection, a mad inventor, Mr Methane and the Commonwealth Games

After spending the period July 29th to September 30th trying and failing to move my landline and broadband to O2, I gave up. Instead, I signed with Virgin Media’s cable system.

The day before the switch-over, I got a call from Virgin Media saying they wanted to talk to me about the installation but, first, under the terms of the Data Protection Act, they had to ask me for my security details, including my address and the password on my account. I refused. They said, if I did not answer the security questions, my installation would be cancelled. I told the woman I had no way of knowing for certain who she was but that I would tell her my security details if she told me her bank PIN number and home telephone number and I would then check them. She refused, which I thought was a tad unreasonable. I refused to give her my security details. She said, as a consequence, they would cancel my installation. So I phoned back a Virgin Media number where they confirmed it was, indeed, Virgin Media who had called but that they would still install the phone and broadband service. Their previous phone call had been because they had wanted to check if there were any parking restrictions outside my house which might affect the installer’s van.

I complained by e-mail to Virgin Media that they were asking me to give my security details to any caller who claimed they were from Virgin Media. Two days later, I got a call from the Virgin Media Complaints Dept to discuss my complaint but first, the guy told me, I would have to answer security questions including my password. I refused. He seemed surprised.

He then sent me an e-mail saying that, under English law, Virgin Media had to ask for my security details before discussing subjects with me. Virgin Media tell me the Data Protection Act forces them to ask me to give out my security details if they cold call me and want to ask me if I have parking restrictions outside my house. And the Data Protection Act forces them to ask me to give out my security details if they cold call me and… erm… want to inform me that they have to ask me to give out my security details if they cold call me.

Have Telecom companies in the UK been secretly involved in organising the Commonwealth Games? It somehow seems likely.

Virgin Media should think themselves lucky. When I was having trouble with BT and O2 I had pre-emptively arranged for eccentric inventor John Ward to come down to London one afternoon and be photographed with his Bullshit detector (labelled B******T Detector) outside the BT headquarters building. The next day Mr Methane, the world’s only professional farteur, had agreed to come to London in costume and fart at the BT building to see if it made any difference to the hot air emanating from the building. The third day would have involved a farmer whom I know slightly with a large muck-spraying machine.

My current Virgin Media service is erratic. John Ward, Mr Methane and the agricultural muck-spreader remain on standby.

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Mr Methane’s act was blown off course in Italy

Mr Methane was performing in northern Italy at the weekend, by the Lakes, and was unable to demonstrate some of the more spectacular parts of his act because of high winds.

The irony. The irony.

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Farting Rules at the BBC

Mr Methane – the world’s only professionally performing flatulist – tells me that, four or five years ago, there was a “three fart rule” on BBC TV children’s shows – you could have no more than three fart jokes in any children’s TV show.

Is this still the case?

What has the the world come to?

Another great British tradition under attack…

Once you’ve had three fart jokes, what is the unacceptability of a fourth?

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