Tag Archives: Nazis

Comic Del Strain on Americans, the EU and Nazis on the dark side of the Moon

This penguin is real and is not a spider

This penguin is real and is not a spider

I rarely remember my dreams but, this morning, I remember I dreamt I threw something on the floor and out of it came a brown spider. A big one.

“It’s too big,” I told someone,” to put a glass over it. And then I realised it really was too big – vertically – because it was white and black with orange-yellow feet or flippers, because it was a penguin. But it was not smooth and slimy as, I suspect, penguins actually are. Instead it seemed to have a slightly ruffled and wrinkled cotton skin as if it was made from cotton and was maybe one size too big for it.

That was in the early hours of this morning.

This afternoon, I had tea with Scots comic Del Strain at Soho Theatre. The very first thing he said to me, rather excitedly, was:

“I’ve got a new gun!”

“Is it legal?” I asked.

“Of course,” said Del. “It’s a new stage prop. I treated myself.”

“Most people who want to treat themselves,” I suggested, “might have a tea and fairy cake or something like that.”

“This is a sight to behold,” said Del. “It’s a Smith & Wesson but it’s too heavy to go down the back of my strides; I think I will have to buy a shoulder holster.”

“How can this possibly be legal?” I asked.

“I dunno,” said Del. “Ask the man in Newcastle who sold me it… It’s one of these old shops you go in and…”

“Is this genuinely legal?” I asked. “Can I mention it in my blog?”

Del Strain with his new Smith & Wesson

Del Strain at home with his new Smith & Wesson purchase

“YES!” insisted Del. “I’ve got a receipt and everything. This shop does everything: replicas, gas-fired guns. It’s legal. If I was in the foyer of Barclays Bank with a mask made out of a pair of someone’s old stockings, I would be in a lot of trouble.but, as I’m on stage…”

“How do you carry this around?” I asked.

“In my bag,” said Del. “The old gun I’ve got was enough to get you shot, believe you me, but this one would REALLY get you shot.”

“By whom?” I asked.

“Armed police, who are nervous and who seem to shoot poor black guys for just having a diary in their pocket. They’re getting a bit trigger-happy on this side of the pond too, John. But I bought it for a prop. See, rich people have got TESSAs and pensions and shit but, the way this country’s going, I’ve got this.”

”I think,” I said, “when John Wilkes Booth went to the theatre he may have claimed it was only a prop.”

“Well,” said Del, “maybe that bullet DID kill Lincoln – or maybe the people that were ready to send Andrew Johnson in to rape the South and kill all the Indians and steal the gold killed him. Who knows? History is a wonderful thing when it’s written by the victors.”

“But,” I asked, “surely politicians would not lie to us?”

“I don’t trust none of them,” said Del. “Brown, Blair, Cameron, Osborne – all playing the flute of Rothschild and the EU bankers. They’re never going to change nothing, because they’re all greedy madmen and they’re going to end up leading us all to the brink of destruction. They’re raping London; they’re ripping the soul out of it – all to build these ghettos in the sky where no-one can hear you scream. It’s ridiculous. They’re taking out the salt of the earth that made London what it was, because people can’t afford to live here no more.”

“Is Scotland going to be the People’s Paradise?” I asked.

“Yeah, well,” said Del, “I don’t know about that. It depends if we’ve got some undercover oil that we haven’t declared, which is what I hear.”

“Really?” I asked.

“Yeah. Apparently the Yanks are in on it. The Norwegians. Just rubbing their hands in glee, waiting. So who knows?”

“Until Apple brings out an electric car,” I mused. “But, then, plastics need oil in the manufacturing process, don’t they?”

“Yeah,” said Del, “but it’s that synthetic oil that I think the Nazis started inventing in World War Two. When they couldn’t get any oil, they invented synthetics in drugs and oils and everything else.”

“When you live on the dark side of the Moon,” I said, “you can develop all these things. Have you seen Iron Sky?”

Iron Sky from the dark side

Iron Sky from the dark side of the Moon

“No. Is it about Nazis on the Moon? I don’t even think the Americans went to the Moon.”

“Surely,” I suggested, “the Russians would have known if the Americans did not get to the Moon and would have told everyone?”

“The Russians,” said Del, “are quoted as saying to the Americans: If you don’t tell people about the aliens, we are going to. The Russians are quoted as saying that Eisenhower met these people in 1947 and the American newspapers from the time are actually quite open about the fact of there being aliens.

“You don’t know what to believe, because these people propagate and manipulate history so much that it’s like archaeologists putting dirt through a sieve to find what is real, because there’s just so much rubbish out there. All I know is that these people have been running the show since the Battle of Waterloo.”

Iron Sky,” I explained, “starts from the supposition that, In 1945, some Nazis escaped to the dark side of the Moon and Now they’re back!

“There is a swastika up there on the Moon,” Del told me. “Someone took a picture of it and there is a swastika on the Moon. No shit. The guy who was in charge of all the Nazi’s specialist weapons, his body was never found. He disappeared. The bell that they had – which was a little mini flying saucer – was taken to America. They were on it. The Nazis had been building these superstructures in South America. Some people say that it wasn’t even Hitler that died – that he lived out his days there.”

“Can I quote all this?” I asked.

“If you want,” said Del. “Some people say that. I am not saying it is a fact, but what I’m saying is, considering some of the shit these people have pulled – the deaths of Martin Luther King, John F Kennedy, Bob Marley… Bob Marley gets cancer through playing football but no football player has ever had that injury? Come on! When people get too vocal, when people listen to them, you become a danger and who knows? Who knows if it was his body? I hope it was his body. I think they dug him up in he 1990s and said it definitively was.”

“Who?” I asked.

Del Strain with his hand on his heart today

Del Strain showing his sincerity at Soho Theatre earlier today

“Hitler,” laughed Del. “Not Bob Marley. I’m not definitively saying that. I’m only surmising. But Hitler still has living relatives in America. They changed their name.”

“I suppose they would,” I said.

“The CIA,” Del continued, “took them all over there as well as the 90 Nazi scientists who were the ones who invented the Moon landings and Apollo 11 and all that. If you look at The Odessa File, that was based on a true story. Within four or five years, they all slipped right back into their old roles running the courts, the police system, running everything.”

“In Germany?” I asked

“In Germany, yes. I see the EU flag as a swastika. I see it as a sign of oppression. They are doing now with a pen and economics and banks what they used to do with Panzer tanks and MP40s. It’s still the same terror. It’s still the same control. It’s still the same dictating.

“You cannot make Barnsley like Barcelona at 4.00am on a Saturday night. Barnsley will never be Barcelona because, in Barcelona, they’re sitting and talking about Gaudi and architecture and philosophy and drinking Stella Artois. In Barnsley, they’re fucking each other over skips, eating kebabs, drunk that much that they’re lying on the fucking road. That is Britain. You can’t change that. It is everything that made this country strong.

“You go from Lancashire to Yorkshire to Scouse – 28 miles and we’ve got our own slang, our own foods, our own people. That is everything that made Britain Britain. We are an island nation. We need that. But they want us all to be a bland little revenue gerbil, just spinning on the wheel for some feed and some water.”

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Trevor Lock on Dapper Laughs, Andrew Lawrence and the rise of liberal Fascism (my phrase not his)

trevor Lock, as seen by Poppy Hillstead

Trevor Lock, as painted by Poppy Hillstead

In yesterday’s blog, comedian Trevor Lock explained that he does not think Third World charity aid is always a good thing.

We talked at the end of a week in which there had been a social media maelstrom in the UK about comics Dapper Laughs and Andrew Lawrence.

Dapper Laughs had been at the centre of a storm about misogyny. Andrew Lawrence had posted on Facebook about the UK Independence Party’s poll successes and immigration.

I told Trevor Lock: “I don’t think Andrew Lawrence is being unreasonable if you actually read what he says.”

“Yes,” said Trevor. “If you read what he says. But it’s just… People… It’s absolutely terrifying… You can understand how Nazi Germany got off the ground. You really do see the witch huntery delight in identifying ‘the enemy’. It’s horrendous. Chilling. I found it chilling. That and the Dapper Laughs thing I find chilling.”

“Dapper Laughs,” I said, “I have no opinion on, because I’ve never seen or heard his stuff.”

“I don’t find him funny,” said Trevor, “but the point is he is not the anti-Christ.”

“Can I quote you?” I asked. “You might get hate mail.”

Andrew Lawrence’s Facebook postings ruffled feathers

Andrew Lawrence’s Facebook postings

“Yeah,” said Trevor. “I don’t care. I got hate mail for the Andrew Lawrence thing. I was ‘outed’ on Facebook for liking Andrew Lawrence’s thing. I was described as being a Right Wing, misogynistic whatever. It’s weird.”

I suggested: “It was the three-word description of some women on panel shows that did for Andrew.”

Women impersonating comedians,” said Trevor. “He didn’t say all female comedians and it’s true. They have a lot of people who are not comedians on the shows. I didn’t agree with everything he said and the way he put it, but the shocking thing for me was how people took delight in deliberately mis-representing him or jumping to the worst possible conclusion in order to hate him. It’s frightening.

“I find the self-righteousness of it terrifying,” Trevor continued. “This certainty – this chilling certainty – that they are right. That is how most of these people think. They are certain they are the good guys. Did the Nazis walk around thinking they were the bad guys?”

“That is something it’s dangerous to even talk about,” I suggested. “Presumably Hitler, while committing unspeakable evil, thought he was doing good.”

“Well, of course he did,” said Trevor. “Stalin thought it was a good idea to kill people. On Facebook, a propos the Andrew Lawrence debate, someone wrote something to the effect of It’s funny how, if everybody who opposed liberalism were to be shot, the world would be a much better place. It was there on my Facebook Feed and I just thought: This is interesting on so many levels.

Hessy Levinsons Taft's photograph was selected by Nazi party for the front cover of Sonne Ins Haus publication, but Joseph Goebbels' propaganda machine never discovered she was Jewish, 1935.

This photograph won a contest to find the ‘ideal Aryan infant’. It was selected by the Nazi Party as front cover of Sonne Ins Haus in 1935. They never realised she was Jewish.

“Well, Hitler was a National Socialist,” I said. “And that’s not a misnomer. I’ve always thought that Socialism is not a political system; it’s a religion. If you follow the true path of Socialism without deviation, it will create a perfect heaven on a perfect earth. That’s bollocks. That’s religion not reality. If you’re a Conservative and someone disagrees with you, then you think: Someone disagrees with me. If you’re a militant Socialist and someone disagrees with you, then you think: They are evil.”

“That’s what we’re talking about,” said Trevor.

“There’s that thing in some universities,” I said: “We are liberals. We are democrats. So we must not have people coming to talk to us if they disagree with what we think.

“It’s astonishing,” said Trevor. “This time last year, someone invited me to talk at Leicester University. He said: I am chairman of the Oxfam Society. I would like you to come and give a speech on the importance of charity. So I said OK.”

“Why did they invite you?” I asked.

“He said: I love listening to you and reading about your philosophical take on life.

“They also wanted me to write something for their student magazine and it was just after Russell Brand had said Don’t vote! when he was on BBC2’s Newsnight.

There is a YouTube clip of Russell Brand’s appearance on Newsnight last year.

“So I wrote this piece explaining my views on charity and they were on the phone to me saying: We’re not sure we can publish this and we’re really worried about you coming to talk to us.

“And I was like: Whaaatt?? You can’t publish my views on charity – about how I have a completely different understanding of charity and how giving money to an organisation is not what I understand as charity. And I was sympathetic to Russell’s idea about not voting.

“And they changed the wording of my piece. They edited bits out to make it sound like I was in favour of charity. They sent it to me and said: This is what we are going to publish. Is it alright?

How would that be alright? I told them. You have made me say Vote! when I did not say that; it was a complicated thing. And I am actually against organised charity. 

Yeah, they said, we’re really worried about what you’re gonna say.

Well, I asked them, why have you booked me? I even said it in the article. I said I didn’t know why I had been booked to talk about charity.”

“Did they keep the booking?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Trevor.

“How did it go?”

Trevor Lock may go to a variety of counties in South America

Trevor Lock talked to me at Soho Theatre earlier this week

“It went fine. There was one clever know-it-all trying to make me defend Russell Brand’s point of view, which I don’t fully share. But what was amazing was that this was a university unable to hear… I don’t think I’m known as being Right Wing; I don’t think my opinions are particularly Right Wing… I was just saying: This is what I think charity is.”

“And did they print your piece?” I asked.

“In the end,” said Trevor. “But it took me a long long time and I had to accuse… well, two of them got very angry.”

“They printed your original version?”

“Yes. Because I told them: You have to put THIS back in. Then they said: It’s too long…. I thought: Don’t tell brazen lies to me! You are telling me you have had to edit the article to make it sound the opposite of what I said because my article was too long??

“If they disagreed with your views,” I said, “all they had to do was commission someone with opposite views to write a counterbalancing article and then it would be an interesting debate.”

“This is the thing,” said Trevor. “When I went to university, it was about hearing and talking about ideas. I am 40 years old and here are young lads in theirs 20s who should be debating interesting thoughts. But they are frightened to hear my thoughts. It’s almost like being in Nineteen Eighty-Four.”

Welcome to 1984 Doublethink “The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.” Welcome to the Big Brother House.

“The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible”… Welcome to the Big Brother House.

I said: “Whenever wankers use the phrase ‘positive discrimination’ I think Have they not read about Doublethink in Nineteen Eighty-Four? Positive discrimination is discrimination.”

Trevor said: “What I have taken away from reading Facebook in this last week about Andrew Lawrence and Dapper Laughs is that Hitler could have happened here.”

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A birthday present from Dartmoor and the crumbling of dark Nazi structures

The perfect birthday present for a man with a slip disc

The perfect birthday present for a slipped disc man

Last night in Nuremberg, I slept on the floor because of my bad back: I was hit by a truck in was it 1990 or was it 1991? I can’t remember and can’t be bothered to check.

Rudiger, with whom I and my eternally-un-named friend are staying understands my problem. He had a slipped disc recently.

It was his birthday yesterday and one of the presents his mother gave him was a pad for his back containing, as far as I understand it, some soil from Dartmoor in England. The pad seems to be called a Moor-Rucken-Kissen. When I put that into Google Translate. it says that it is a Moor-jerking-cushion.

Multi-national life can be very complicated.

“You have to put it in a microwave or hot water and then you put it on your back,” Rudiger told me.

“But you don’t have a microwave,” my eternally-un-named friend pointed out. “It’s a heat thing?”

“Yeah,” said Rudiger, “yeah.”

Rudiger with his back pack yesterday

Rudiger with his back pack yesterday

“It’s a moor back compress,” I read out from the packet. “A pleasant heat source for your back… Helps to release neck tension. Long heat storage due to ‘ist’ whatever that means. Natural moor filling. Perfect fixation by means of individually-adjustable hook and loop fastener. Removable washable covering made from cotton and it’s from Dartmoor?”

“My sister told me it was,” replied Rudiger. “I do not know for certain. I hope so. It would make it more interesting.”

“How are you going to heat it up?” asked my eternally-un-named friend.

“You have to put it in a microwave,” said Rudiger.

“But you don’t have a microwave,” I said.

“I will have to use hot water,” said Rudiger.

“Do you sleep in it,” I asked, “or do you just walk around in it?”

“I think I walk around in it,” Rudiger told me. “I do not know.”

Later in the day, we went to the Nazi Party rally ground on the edge of Nuremberg where Hitler showpieced the best of his Thousand Year Reich.

It looked smaller than it seemed on the newsreels and in the films but, apparently, the rallies comprised 200,000 people.

One of the Thousand Year Reich’s Nuremberg Rallies

One of the Thousand Year Reich’s Nuremberg Rallies of 200,000 Nazis

The vast parade stands and outbuildings of the Thousand Year Reich’s iconic rally ground had started to crumble less than half a century after they were built. They were still crumbling. Reportedly it costs 100,000 Euros per year just to maintain the deteriorating structures and the local council is uncertain whether to keep maintaining them as historic monuments or to knock them down.

Afterwards, Rudiger told us that, once a year, in the 1930s, the Nazi Party would bring together top Nazi officials from all over the country for their own elite rally in the half-built Coliseum near the main rally ground. These vast annual meetings/rallies were filmed but took place only at night, never in the daylight. The reason was that most of the party elite looked far from the ideal of tall, thin, blonde demi-gods. Like Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler and other top Party people, they were often short and dark.

Tall Aryan troops in black uniforms and with blonde hair fronted the assembled masses for the cameras with torches flaring and, in the darkness behind them, were the Nazis.

The Nazis always had a good eye for visual composition and good theatrical events, though I have never heard of any comedy clubs.

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John Lennon, Aristotle Onassis and the famous ballerina who was a gun runner

“There’s nowt as queer as folk,” is a saying which perhaps doesn’t translate too well into American. In British English, it means there’s nothing more strange nor more interesting than people.

So bear with me, dear reader, as I tell this meandering tale of less than six degrees of separation, a Wagnerian concentration camp, John Lennon and hand grenades in Cricklewood, north west London.

In my erstwhile youth, while I was a student, I lived in a Hampstead house of bedsits. One of the other inhabitants was the late Martin Lickert who, at the time, was John Lennon’s chauffeur. He lived in a bedsit because he was rarely home and only needed an occasional single bed to be unconscious in at night. Although, one night, I had to swap beds with him as I had a double bed and he had to entertain a girl called Juliet. He later went on to become a poacher-turned-gamekeeper. Long after I knew him, he trained as a barrister and specialised in prosecuting drug cases for HM Customs & Excise.

His relevance, as far as this blog is concerned, is that he accidentally appeared in the little-seen and staggeringly weird Frank Zappa movie 200 Motels.

In that film, shot at Pinewood Studios, the part of ‘Jeff ‘was originally going to be played by the Mothers of Invention’s bass player Jeff Simmons who quit before filming. He was replaced in the movie by Wilfred Brambell, star of BBC TV’s Steptoe and Son and The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, who walked off set in a rage after a few days and Frank Zappa said: “The next person who comes through that door gets the part!”

The next person who came through the door was Martin Lickert, by then Ringo Starr’s chauffeur, who had gone to buy some tissues for his drumming employer who had a “permanent cold”.

The co-director with Frank Zappa of 200 Motels was Tony Palmer, famed director of documentaries on classical composers who, last night, was talking about his career in a Westminster library. I was there.

It was an absolutely riveting series of anecdotes which lasted 90 minutes but it seemed like 20 minutes, so fascinating were Tony Palmer’s stories.

He has, to say the least, had an odd career ranging from directing Richard Burton, Vanessa Redgrave and Frank Zappa in feature films to large-scale documentaries on heavyweight classical composers and from making documentaries on Liberace, Hugh Hefner and Peter Sellers to Swinging Britain TV rock shows like Colour Me Pop, How It Is and the extraordinary feature-length 1968 documentary All My Loving, suggested to him by John Lennon and so controversial at the time that it was shelved by David Attenborough (then Controller of BBC2) who said it would only be screened over his dead body – Attenborough denies using these words, but Palmer has the memo.

All My Loving was eventually screened on BBC TV after the channel had officially closed down for the night. I saw it when it was transmitted and, even now, it is an extraordinarily OTT piece of film-making.

Tony Palmer’s film-making career is much like the composing career of Igor Stravinsky (whom Palmer introduced to John Lennon when The Beatles were at their height). Stravinsky saw Tchaikovsky conduct in the 19th century and was still composing when he died in 1971, after The Beatles had broken up. So there are fewer than even six degrees of separation between Tchaikovsky and Martin Lickert.

Palmer – who is currently preparing a documentary project with Richard Dawkins – has had an extraordinarily wide range of encounters from which to draw autobiographical anecdotes.

He directed Michael Palin and Terry Jones in Twice a Fortnight, one of the important precursors of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and he directed the 17-hour, 12-part 1977 TV series All You Need Is Love tracing the development of popular music. Again, that project was suggested to him by John Lennon and he discovered that, though The Beatles had never tried to copyright the title All You Need Is Love, it had been registered by a Hong Kong manufacturer of sexy clothing and a brothel in Amsterdam.

Palmer also advised director Stanley Kubrick on music for his last movie Eyes Wide Shut and has apparently endless anecdotes on the great creative artists of the 20th century.

Who knew that the cellist Rostropovich used to get paid in cash, would put the cash inside the cello which he then went and played on stage and bought refrigerators in bulk in the UK so he could send them back to the USSR and sell them at a vast profit?

I, for one, had never heard that the German composer Richard Wagner, Hitler’s favourite composer and much admired by the Nazis, actually had a grandson who ran a concentration camp towards the end of World War II.

Nor that, in the 1950s, ballerina Margot Fonteyn got paid in cash which she then took to a Cricklewood arms dealer to buy guns and grenades which were channeled though France to Panama where her dodgy politician husband was planning a coup.

It’s amazing that, by now, someone has not made a documentary about Tony Palmer.

I suppose the problem is ironic: that the perfect person to have done this would have been Tony Palmer.

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The bum-numbing recording of that IKEA ad and the Auschwitz Factor in live audience shows

What is it with my blog about the TV recording of the IKEA ad which I posted on 10th March – almost a month ago?

I have been blogging seriously (perhaps that’s the wrong word) since December and I now get fairly healthy hits on my blog but, yesterday, the hits went through the roof and early this morning – between midnight yesterday and 0230 this morning – the IKEA blog on its own got more hits than I normally get in an entire day.

Who is up at 0230 apart from me, burglars, comedians and the incontinent?

The answer seems to be that people were re-Tweeting the link to the blog and, also, I got an e-mail from someone saying “Loved your blog… have passed it around the ad industry”.

Maybe ad men have weak bladders and like to see other ad people score own goals.

The hits went even more apeshit later this morning when people other than incontinent ad men woke up.

The irony is I have still not seen the actual ad itself on broadcast TV – only the version on YouTube.

My friend who went with me to the recording is equally bemused about the number of hits on my blog and clearly – possibly permanently – emotionally scarred by the IKEA recording experience, appears to have turned to hallucinogenic drugs because yesterday he asked me:

“Do you think it was a real ad? I’ve not seen it on TV. You’ve not seen it on TV. They surely can’t be broadcasting a furniture ad on television making a joke about women weeing themselves? Maybe they were just pretending to make an ad for some reason and were filming our reactions to it for some other reason. It can’t have been a real ad.”

“But,” I told him. “It’s IKEA. They’re Swedish. They’re not known for their surreal humour.”

“It just can’t have been real.” my friend replied. “Maybe they were researching something. Maybe it was an experiment of some kind. You were there. Did it look like they were filming a real ad.”

“Well…” I said.

But I’m increasingly pleased I was there.

Someone commented yesterday that they couldn’t understand why the audience at the recording didn’t leave.

It’s a very interesting question indeed.

Partly the answer is, I think, that only people on the ends of rows in audience seating can leave without drawing attention to themselves; partly I guess it is because, if a couple leave, it feels to them that it is they who are are the odd ones out, not the people who stay. Partly it may be that, in a bad situation, you simply hope against hope that the horror will diminish.

I guess the main answer is that there is some strange human urge not to move in awful situations: like rabbits in an oncoming car’s headlights. When people are herded together in large groups in a forest or in a camp and know they are going to be killed, by and large, they don’t run. They walk to their deaths. It’s the Auschwitz Factor. I’m sorry if that offends anyone by trivialising the Holocaust, but it’s true. I know they thought they were going into showers at Auschwitz, but the general principle is true. Given the option of certain death if they stay or probable death if they run, people tend to choose certain death. People in forests dug their own graves and stood on the edge of the pits waiting to be shot.

I once sat through Luchino Visconti’s movie The Damned in the totally full late lamented Hampstead Classic cinema. It was the dullest film I have ever seen in my life and, trust me, I have sat through some dull films. Killer Bitch may have had – errm – “mixed reviews” but one thing it certainly ain’t is dull.

The Damned runs 155 minutes: that’s two hours and a very long 35 minutes. It was so dull that, after about four minutes, I actually started to time how long it would be before someone in the movie went into an exterior scene. But I sat through the whole godawful 155 minutes. My problem was I was in the middle of the front row in the balcony and, being British, I didn’t want to cause chaos and draw attention to myself by leaving and getting people to stand up all the way along the row.

It was also a revelation to see how anyone could make a film with mass murder, rape, orgies, Nazis, nudity and every excess you can possibly imagine into such a bum-numbingly dull movie.

Alright, The Damned is the second dullest movie I have ever seen. I actually DID walk out of Football as Never Before (Fußball wie noch nie) after about 40 minutes of tedium. There are limits which even I have.

But, in general, after a certain time has passed, people will sit through something really bad until the bitter end. And ‘bad’ can be good in a masochistic way.

When a really truly bad bad bad comedian is on stage, it draws other comedians who huddle together at the back of the room to watch the car crash of a performance happening in front of their eyes.

In 1980, Peter O’Toole appeared in a stage production of Macbeth at the Old Vic in London which was said to be so awful that people queued there and around the country to see it. I tried to buy a ticket at the time. You couldn’t get one anywhere. It was a box office smash.

As someone who has been involved in live audience shows for TV and for stage – and who spent 20+ years making TV promotions – I was fascinated at the IKEA ad recording to see how inept the production could get and if there were any way they could manage to pull the thing together.

I wanted to see the whole ghastly thing through to the end in case there was any glorious climax where the production team pulled something unexpected out of an invisible hat or the audience turned on the production team, tore them limb from limb and ate their entrails with tomato ketchup (not that there was any tomato ketchup).

After wasting a certain amount of time, you have to calculate if spending more time may result in a lower waste-per-minute average. How that is calculated will probably be studied by some university academic on a £1 million grant. If you hear of that happening, please tell me as I’d like to share a bit of that dosh and make my IKEA ad time worthwhile.

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