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