Tag Archives: penis

Flying toilets, taking new drugs and having a penis enlargement operation

Comedy critic Kate Copstick and I record a weekly Grouchy Club Podcast. It covers more than gossip about the comedy industry as do the monthly, live Grouchy Club meetings. Inevitably, after this week’s was finished, the conversation carried on. Three main anecdotes cropped up…


Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya (Photo by Schreibkraft)

Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya (Photograph by Schreibkraft)

FLYING TOILETS

The podcast is recorded in Copstick’s Mama Biashara charity shop in Shepherds Bush, London.

The charity works in Kenya, helping small business start-ups.

When over in Nairobi, Copstick lives in slum areas and had this description of the ‘flying toilets’ in Kibera, Nairobi, said to be the largest urban slum in Africa. 

* * * * *

The houses are incredibly close together – you can’t really extend your arms in the little rat runs between the houses. It is much better now but originally there was allegedly 2,000 people to every one long-drop toilet.

Now the government have put in some standpipes and there are public toilets but you are still sharing a toilet with a helluva lot more people than you would like to. If you go out into the darkness of the night – and you really can’t see in front of your face – you have no idea what you are stepping on, you creak open the door of the long-drop toilet and have no idea what state it’s in. It’s a bit Russian Rouletty. You may also get killed or attacked on your way there or back.

So, if you wake up in the middle of the dark night and think: “God! I desperately need a shit!” – which people do a lot because there is a lot of diarrhea around – what you do is go outside and take a shit into a plastic carrier bag, then tie the top of the carrier bag and take the little butterfly bit at the top and whirl it round your head like a Scotsman flinging the hammer. When it gets to peak velocity, you let go and it flies away into the night as far as it can.

Obviously, in an ideal world, you aim high and generally what will happen is that somebody a couple of streets or houses away will hear a SPLATT! on their corrugated iron roof and they will think: Oh fuck! Somebody’s flying toilet! I must remember to go up and scrape it off in the morning!

The shit is in a plastic bag but, when the plastic bag lands, it generally splits open. Also, if you are in a big family – my mate Sylverster has a one-bedroom house for seven of them – as the children get older, when it’s not raining, the girls sleep inside the house but the boys sleep on the roof. So that can get messy.


Kate Copstick prepares for a Grouchy Club

Kate Copstick prepares for a Grouchy Club

WHITE BLOOD CELLS

For many years, Copstick has suffered from the painful and debilitating disease lupus. It is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in many parts of the body.

Until 2½ months ago she was in agony most of the time…

* * * * *

Since the lupus struck, I have always had a low white blood cell count – neutropenia. The white cells are the fighter cells and scavenger cells. When you get a bruise, the neutrophils go in and clear away all the damaged blood.

Last June, they put me on this new medication – methotrexate – which I injected into the flub on my stomach. It is a kick-ass drug. It’s used in chemotherapy – for leukaemia and other cancers. Then they found out it really worked for rheumatoid arthritis and, through that, they found it worked for other auto-immune diseases like lupus.

I got put on methotrexate last June/July. Then in August in Edinburgh I got bacterial pneumonia and they thought it might be the methotrexate and I kept taking it and they said: “Oh, your white blood cell count keeps going down.”

Then suddenly, 2½ months ago, I felt great; I felt fantastic. Nothing had been changed in the drugs but I suddenly felt physically great. And the best I’ve felt psychologically for years. I was actually happy. I felt happy. Just wonderful. No pain; no headaches; no tinnitus; no cold sweats; and the white blood cell count had gone down even more.

Then, two weeks ago, the doctors said the white blood cell count had become very dangerously low.

I said: “I’m feeling fine!”

They said: “No no no no no. You’re very dangerously low.”

They kept asking me if I had temperatures and beadaches.

I said: “No! I feel wonderful!”

So, last week, they told me to stop taking the methotrexate because they thought that was lowering the white blood cells. I stopped taking it and I feel like shit this week. As soon as I stopped the injections, I got the pain back – tiredness, pain, headache, dizziness – all the lupus shit.

I mean, everything you take, every normal mainstream medication that you take does something bad to you. I think it should be about what makes you feel good. I’m fucking fed up feeling like shit. I’ve felt like shit for a lot of years, a lot.

Nothing bad seemed to be happening with the low white blood cells and I was feeling great and I reckon for me that’s better than being like this and taking handfuls of tramadol and dihydrocodeine and anything else I can lay my hands on just so I can be functional.


Devils on Horseback

“A bit like Devils on Horseback” which is dates stuffed with almonds and wrapped in bacon

PENIS ENLARGEMENT

In her TV production hat, a few years ago, Copstick developed, wrote and produced a series for the Bravo TV channel called World of Pain.

* * * * *

It was about things like pain for pleasure, sporting pain, all different things. And one episode was called Suffer To Be Beautiful which was about people having plastic surgery and all the crazy shit they do.

So I went to New York to film a penis enlargement operation. It was around the year 2000 and there was nobody in Britain who would allow me to film them. Those who go for penis enlargement tend to want people to imagine that’s how they always have been naturally.

I filmed the entire operation. It was absolutely fascinating. I was the cameraperson. When we sent it to the compliance lawyers, most of it ended up on the cutting room floor not because it was erotic but because there was just so much blood. Somebody was having the shaft of his penis split open with a scalpel and the skin peeled…

What I did not realise was that every man is born with as much penis length as anyone can give you. It just depends if you are a show-er or a grow-er.

If you are a show-er, even when you are flaccid, it is all hanging out there.

If you are a grow-er, there is more to come from inside.

So what they do, when somebody wants more length, is make two cuts in the inguinal area – just above the pubic bone – one on either side – and in there are the ligaments that hold the penis in place and they snip those.

Then – this is true – one doctor or a very strong nurse holds the patient on the operating table while the other doctor grabs the penis and pulls. And I am talking PULLS. We are talking like tug-of-war. And they yank out as much of the penis as they can.

Then they stitch up the little incisions and you are now a show-er.

What surprised me is that men who want more length want it for the locker room. They want it for that moment when the Calvin Kleins hit the carpet and another person – male or female – gets their first look at what you are packing.

This guy I was filming wanted more length. So they did that. But he also wanted more girth.

Enhancement can help a bit on girth with what they call ‘harvested tissue’. Have you ever larded a joint of meat? Where you take strips of fat…

Anyway, what they do is get the penis and slit open the skin down the length of it and then… Have you ever buttered the breast of a chicken before you roasted it?

What you do is you ease your hands in between the flesh and the skin of the chicken and you open it up so the skin separates from the flesh.

So, with penis enhancement, they get little rectangles of harvested tissue, lift the skin of the penis away from the shaft and wrap these bits of tissue around the shaft. Then they sew that bit up and do another bit until… It’s a bit like Devils on Horseback or a beef olive.

Then they stitch the skin back into place and wrap it all in very tight elastic bandage. Then the person goes away with lots of painkillers and hopes that they only think clean thoughts.

Because the single biggest problem with the process is guys who go away from the hospital, take their painkillers and, after a day or so, wake up with a bit of morning glory and burst all their stitches.

As for pee-ing, initially you are catheterised but the answer after that is to pee very very carefully.

How do you get harvested tissue? With a scalpel and a dead body.

So be careful when you sign your organ donor card. You may think you will be giving sight to the blind, but you could end up giving girth to the under-endowed and find yourself wrapped around some tiny-dicked guy’s enlarged penis.

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Filed under Health, Humor, Humour, Kenya, Medical, Poverty, Sex

My gay day in Soho yesterday and, later, seeing women’s armpit hair in Stockwell

Me and my new friend in Soho yesterday

Me and my new boy friend in Soho yesterday

So, I was at a gay bar in London’s Soho yesterday afternoon, talking to this young ‘boy’ with stubble on his chin. I did not ask his name and we went into an alleyway beside the Vue cinemas in Leicester Square where he asked me: “Do you want me to take my penis out?” then stuck his hand into his trousers and started rummaging around.

But more about that later.

I was in another bar a couple of weeks ago – the Soho Theatre bar – and Zuma Puma aka Nelly Scott told me:

“I was in this film and one of my teeshirts was a little bit shorter and I was thinking Oh no! What if they’re really upset? and I was walking round the set trying to cover up the fact that I’m a woman with armpit hair, when it’s actually like a matter of pride for me. I was thinking What if this is unacceptable for this character?

“But you were playing the part of a killer,” I said. “A homicidal female psychopath.”

“Exactly,” said Nelly. “Why would she be shaving her armpits? – When would she have the time in between killing people?”

“Why are you so proud of your armpit hair?” I asked Nelly.

Michael Brunström stands in a bucket of water

Michael Brunström stands in a bucket of water

“I love it,” she told me. I love the texture of it. I like stroking it. I like how it keeps my arms warm. And I like my own smell. That’s another bonus. I would wear it as a perfume.”

Last night, I went to her always extraordinarily bizarre weekly Lost Cabaret show in Stockwell which she comperes as Zuma Puma. Somehow the sight of Michael Brunström standing in a bucket of water passionately reading a random article from a Yachting magazine seemed quite normal in the context of Lost Cabaret.

Sharney Emma Nougher (left) & Zuma Puma raise their arms

Zuma Puma (right) and Sharney Nougher raise their arms

After the show, Zuma Puma and Sharney Nougher showed me their armpit hair.

I was very grateful.

It was a fairly ordinary day.

I am always grateful for small kindnesses.

So back to my gay afternoon in Soho yesterday…

The young ‘boy’ I met asked five men in the gay Ku Bar if they fancied him. Three did. Well, two did and one said: “Only if you are in the process of transgendering.”

Juliette Burton as herself

Juliette Burton as herself

A shrewd observation, because yesterday was Day Five in performer Juliette Burton’s week of shooting partly-hidden-camera video inserts for her upcoming Edinburgh Fringe comedy show Look At Me (co-written by comedienne Janey Godley). It is about how people’s external image affects how people perceive them as people.

“Each day has been challenging in different ways,” Juliette told me yesterday.

DAY ONE 

Juliette dressed as what, merely for understandability’s sake, I would describe as ‘tarty’.

“It had the biggest reaction from other people,” she told me. “I was dressed in a costume that was inspired by The Only Way Is Essex, Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and Jordan before she became Katie Price. I started at King’s Cross, then got on a bus to Soho Square and walked through to Covent Garden. Wherever I went, people stared at me and some of the looks I got – we’ve looked at the video we shot – were so disdainful and so scornfuI. I did not do anything tarty. All I did was walk past dressed in a particular way.”

DAY TWO

Juliette partially made-up, with and ‘old’ cheek and throat

Juliette during her transformation, partially made-up, with an ‘old’ cheek and throat

Juliette was made up to look like an old lady.

“That was more liberating in some ways,” she told me, “because I was less noticeable. But, in some ways, it was more emotional.”

“How?” I asked.

“You’ll have to come and see the show,” Juliette said. “It was a sad day.”

DAY THREE

Juliette wore a ‘fat suit’ and was made-up to look fat.

“That was very difficult for personal reasons,” Juliette explained, “because there were some emotional things going on inside me that I hadn’t anticipated. The prosthetics were very good and the character was confident and bold and bright. I was about a size 18 in the prosthetics. I wanted to reclaim my experience when I had been that size, because I used to be a size 20. I wanted to reclaim how I felt about myself back then.”

DAY FOUR

Juliette under cover, literally

Juliette – literally under-cover

“I thought this was going to be my hijab day,” said Juliette. “The hijab is what Moslem women wear when only their face and hands are exposed. The niqab only exposes their eyes and hands. I thought the hijab I had ordered online had a headscarf and a black dress but, in fact, it actually had niqab headgear as well.

“So sometimes I dressed in a niqab, sometimes in a hijab. That was very interesting because most people don’t bat an eyelid if you walk round London like that, though there were some experiences I had that were quite shocking.

“What I hadn’t anticipated, again, was the internal journey. There’s stuff that goes on psychologically that I hadn’t anticipated.”

“But, to find out, I’ll have to come and see the show in Edinburgh?” I asked.

“Absolutely,” laughed Juliette.

DAY FIVE

Juliette (left) and the reaction of friends Lizzy Mace and Frankie Lowe

Juliette (left) arrives at Ku Bar + the reaction to her changed personality by her friends Lizzy Mace and Frankie Lowe

“Well,” said Juliette, “That’s today. I’m dressed as a man and you say I make quite a good man.”

“You look like a rather effete South American boy,” I told her. “You could maybe make money selling yourself in Rio during the World Cup.”

Make-up artist Sarah-Jane Lyon had given Juliette a false Adam’s apple.

“And I’ve got a bulge,” said Juliette. “A foam penis. Do you want to see it?”

“No,” I said.

“Don’t you want me to take my penis out?” Juliette asked.

“Don’t you want me to take my penis out?”

“Don’t you want me to take my penis out?” Juliette asked.

“No,” I said. “Not down an alleyway in Soho. I’ve seen too many real ones on stage.”

“So you’re bored with penises?”

“I’ve been too close to too many pricks,” I said. “I worked at the BBC.”

“It’s a foam penis,” said Juliette.

“I would prefer to see Martin Soan’s singing and dancing vagina,” I replied.

That was yesterday in a Soho alley.

Today Juliette is in Stoke-on-Trent shooting extra footage for her pop video to promote Look at Me.

And, on Sunday, she is back in London, to shoot more hidden camera reactions to her superficial appearance.

“I will be wearing pink underwear,” Juliette told me, “and fishnets, a wig, flippers, snorkel, body paint, absurd make-up and I will have a giant glittery purple peanut on my head and be carrying a bright pink dog. A real one.”

“What will the dog be wearing?” I asked.

“The dog will be wearing a tutu, of course,” said Juliet matter-of-factly.

“Of course it will,” I said. “Do you have armpit hair, Juliette?”

There is a promotional video for Look At Me on YouTube.

and also one for Zuma Puma’s Lost Cabaret shows

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Filed under Comedy, Gay, Psychology, Theatre

Censorship chaos @ Edinburgh Fringe: stupid asterisks but pubic acceptability

The Greatest Show on Legs – the pubic face of silly censorship

Comedy critic Kate Copstick made me four chocolate cupcakes in the early hours of this morning. It was not until my bladder got over-full and I had to go with the cupcakes and her to the toilet – where Copstick took off her orange wig – that I realised it was all a dream. Margaret Thatcher then started handling the four chocolate cupcakes on my behalf. Mrs Thatcher wore Meryl Streep’s hair.

Fringe Programme cover may scare kids

The rather-frightening-looking Edinburgh Fringe Programme was published today. My copy arrived in the post this morning before I woke up, but it was not part of my dream. Some writer less subtle than me might say it was my nightmare. But no, not me. Ooh no. I would not write that. Ooh no. It would be far too tabloidy and tacky.

I have blogged before about the draconian new ‘rules’ that have been unleashed by the Fringe this year. The most ludicrous is that entries now have to be completely “grammatically correct” – despite the fact that performers pay just under £400 to put a strict maximum of 40 words into the Programme – so it is the wording of the performer’s own paid ad which is being censored by the Fringe.

But there is also the ludicrous randomness of the new censorship, epitomised by the fact that the excellent Kunt and The Gang can print their name in full but Stuart Goldsmith’s show Prick has to be printed as Pr!ck (with an exclamation mark replacing the “i” despite the fact it looks the same and a ! is just an i upside down). And then there is the, by now infamous, way Richard Herring’s show Talking Cock was censored (without Richard’s knowledge) as Talking C*ck because, the Fringe claims, the ‘family audience’ reading the Fringe Programme’s comedy listings may be offended by a title which is going to be plastered in full on posters and flyers all over Edinburgh in August.

Interestingly, in his Metro newspaper column last week, Richard Herring wrote about this ludicrous censorship (of a title which has no sexual origin – the origin is ‘cock and bull story’). In Richard’s piece, the words “cock” and “penis” and “Jack the Dripper” and “Spurt Reynolds” and others were printed in full by the Metro – a newspaper freely available to men, women, children and born-again Christians at railway stations and street corners across England’s capital and elsewhere. As far as I am aware, no-one complained.

On the same page as Richard’s column in the London edition of Metro was their Pet of the Day picture, featuring ‘Stripey The Moggy’, the seven best Twitter tweets about food by Middle England’s Nigella Lawson and a quarter-page ad from Westminster Council headed: Could You Foster a Child Like Me?

See the point? Family newspaper. No worry about causing offence.

Clear cock-up

The Fringe Programme asterisked another show’s title – Jon Bennett‘s Pretending Things Are C*ck despite the fact the accompanying picture (printed in the Programme – see right) clearly shows the offending word C*CK rising like a penis from a man’s groin.

They also rejected a tiny picture supplied by me to accompany The Greatest Show On Legs’ Fringe Programme entry because – if you magnified it 300% – it was possible to see a vague outline under a balloon which may or may have been the bottom of one of the late Malcolm Hardee’s testicles.

Original picture

That is the photo to the left at approximately the size it would have appeared in the Fringe Programme. If you can Spot The Ball, you are a better man or woman than I am.

Without anyone’s permission, the Fringe then Photoshopped in a third balloon to obscure the potentially offending vague shape. This (a) was ludicrous and (b) would be impossible-to-replicate in the stage act. When I objected, the Fringe wanted a replacement photo.

One of the few colour photos available of the naked balloon dance – which is a main selling point of the Greatest Show On Legs – is the one you can see at the top of this blog.

I sent an e-mail to comedian/promoter Bob Slayer – in whose Hive venue the Greatest Show on Legs will be performing:

“I think the Martin Clarke photo (attached) would be much better than the Fringe wankers’ ludicrous one with the Photoshopped extra balloon. But the Martin Clarke photo has some of Malcolm’s pubic hair showing.

“If the Fringe refuse to run this one too, it can be whipped up into more publicity now. I would make a point of grudgingly letting them run their Photoshopped version – milking it for publicity – and then, at the point at which they publish it in the Programme, there is more publicity to be had.

“If, on the other hand, they accept the new photo then, at the point of publication, the angle is that they refused to print a pretty-much-invisible hint of one of Malcolm’s bollocks, but they did accept a photo with more visible pubic hair. Either way, the fact the Fringe Programme people this year are idiotic wankers will give The Greatest Show On Legs more publicity.”

There is a lesson for all here, I think.

If people are wankers at the Fringe – particularly if they try to censor anything – it will not be effective and it should be viewed by performers less as an annoyance, more as a publicity opportunity.

It’s in the shadows

What a pity they have never objected to the ‘shadow puppet’ image I have used to publicise the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards for several years now, showing Malcolm with what some with a particular – obviously deranged – attitude of mind might consider to be an erect penis.

It’s a funny old world.

The Greatest Show on Legs will be performing at The Hive venue for five days, 22nd-26th August. They will also be appearing in my own two-hour Malcolm Hardee Awards Show compered by Miss Behave in the ballroom of the Counting House on 24th August, 2300-0100.

The two shows are listed in the Fringe Programmes as:
Aaaaaaaaaaaaarghh! It’s the Greatest Show on Legs
and
Aaaaaaaaaaaaarghh! It’s the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show with Miss Behave – and It’s Free!
in a this-year-unsuccessful attempt to get them listed first in the Comedy section of the Programme. A show called Aaaaaaaaargh! It’s the Monster Stand-Up Show has cheekily added more ‘A’s in its printed listing so it becomes Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! It’s the Monster Stand-Up Show – Free and has shamefully beaten us to the Number One slot.

B*uggers!

Meanwhile, I think it is the Satanic cover of the new Fringe Programme which will scare small children sh*tless.

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Filed under Censorship, Comedy, Language, Marketing, PR

How I ate in a Chinese restaurant in London’s Soho with four New York Jews

Lewis Schaffer on stage last night

(This was also published in the Huffington Post)

Last night, I went to see American comedian Lewis Schaffer’s ongoing 90-minute twice-weekly Free Until Famous comedy show in London’s Soho. Every time a different show, but I almost got bushwhacked in Leicester Square by the ever-persuasive Dan March, flogging his excellent monthly sketch show Skitsophrenia. Well, it’s a show featuring The Real MacGuffins, but Dan is one of ‘em. It’s very good. I saw it at the Edinburgh Fringe.

“I’ll come and see it in May,” I told Dan. I’m away in April.”

“Where?” he asked.

“I’m not saying,” I replied.

“When did you get back from Adelaide?” he asked.

“I never went,” I replied. “It’s the power of bullshit in blogging. It just seems like I did because I quoted people’s e-mails so often.”

I had told Lewis Schaffer I was coming with comedian Bob Slayer but, at the last moment, Bob could not make it. I suspect he is probably still hiding from the wrath of expatriate Australians after his sojourn in Oz where, I imagine, the good people of Perth and Adelaide may bear the psychological and emotional scars for years.

Lewis Schaffer – always call him ‘Lewis Schaffer’, never just plain ‘Lewis’ – it’s more memorable in publicity terms – managed a stonker of a show, good from start to finish, despite five 18-year-old American girls in the front row who appeared to have had a major humour bypass or possibly even a humor bypass.

They were particularly offended by Lewis Schaffer’s circumcision routine and by his closing Holocaust routine – which still includes the best Holocaust joke I have ever heard.

After the show, I went with Lewis Schaffer, a New Yorker called Peter who lives in London and Jenna, the girl who rents Peter’s apartment in New York, to a Chinese restaurant in Soho. On the way, bizarrely, we bumped into Jenna’s father Steve. He is passing through London, working, for a week. Don’t ask. I didn’t.

So that’s how I ended up in a Chinese restaurant in London’s Soho with four New York Jews and that’s where the question came up:

“Who is John and what does he do?”

Steve asked Lewis Schaffer.

As I have mentioned before in this blog, I have never been able to explain what I do. I wish someone could tell me.

“Do you know the phrase fingers in pies?” Lewis Schaffer asked Steve.

Steve nodded.

Lewis Schaffer shrugged and nodded towards me.

“I was working with Reg Hunter…” said Lewis Schaffer.

“Who’s that?” Steve asked.

“There are only five American comedians who are of any note in this country,” explained Lewis Schaffer. “There’s the black guy which is Reg Hunter. There’s the left wing guy which is Rich Hall. There’s the hippy guy which is Dave Fulton. There’s the gay guy which is Scott Capurro. And there’s a fifth…”

“You?” I prompted.

“No, I’m not noteworthy,” Lewis Schaffer replied absentmindedly. “Anyway there’s one more. But there’s not enough room in this country for even four, because they hate American comedians here because we’re not one of the tribe… So I was working with Reg over at the Arts Theatre… I liked Reg. Same as Peter,” he said, nodding at the young guy sitting opposite him. “Just as soon as I met Peter, I liked the guy. Did you sense Lewis Schaffer liked you?”

Peter shrugged.

“With you, John,” Lewis Schaffer said, looking at me, I didn’t know if I would like you or not, because you’re a shambolic, horrible-looking mess of a man. You don’t shave. You need your hair cut. It’s longer in the back. It’s like a Larry David kind of haircut. It’s like a mullet. I just met you and I didn’t know exactly what you did or what you wanted from me and I still don’t… So I said to Reg Hunter, who was my friend at the time – he doesn’t call me now. He doesn’t speak to me. People don’t like me.”

Jenna laughed loudly.

“Stop it!” said Lewis Schaffer. “We’re not in New York. This is why you’re going to hate living here. You’ve gotta lower your expectations.”

“Look at the food,” said Jenna.

“It looks good from a distance,” said Lewis Schaffer. “But then you taste it… It’s like my penis.”

“Small portions,” I said.

“It’s probably true,” said Steve, “that all comedians have small penises, because the whole comedy thing is a result of…”

“No,” said Lewis Schaffer, “I just pretend that I’ve got a small penis for the sake of comedy. “My penis is very large – it’s nine inches long. I measured it this morning. I put the ruler in backwards – 12 – 11 – 10 – 9 inches. How long into the skin are you allowed to jam the ruler?… So I asked Reg: What about this guy John Fleming? He looks like a shambolic mess.

“A shambolic mess?” Steve asked.

“Look at this man,” Lewis Schaffer said to Steve, pointing to me, “This man is a dictionary definition of shambolic.”

“Is ‘shambolic’ not a word in America?” I asked.

“No,” said Lewis Schaffer. It’s not a word here either. There is no word ‘shambolic’ in English dictionaries.”

“There is,” I protested.

“There isn’t,” said Lewis Schaffer. “There’s no word for ‘gullible’ in the dictionary either.”

“In America?” I asked.

“Anywhere,” said Lewis Schaffer.

“Yes there is,” I protested.

“John,” said Jenna. “He’s just trying to make you seem gullible.”

“Very smart girl,” said Lewis Schaffer to Steve. “Your daughter’s very smart… So, I said to Reg, Is he a reasonable guy? Look at the way he looks? He hasn’t shaved. So he said… I can’t remember the funny quote, but he said…”

“Who said?” asked Steve.

“This guy Reg Hunter,” explained Lewis Schaffer, “He’s the Number One comedian in this country.”

“Does this guy really even exist?” asked Steve.

“Yes,” insisted Lewis Schaffer. “He said I like the way he looks…”

“Who?” asked Steve.

“John,” said Lewis Schaffer.

“I’ve never met him!” I interrupted.

“He said I like the way he looks,” Lewis Schaffer continued, “because, in this country, you never trust a man who wears new clothes – because he’s trying too hard.”

There was a long pause.

“Trying too hard?” asked Steve.

“Trying too hard,” repeated Lewis Schaffer. “Because in this country… Well, maybe he didn’t say that. But I’m saying that. That’s what Reg Hunter said.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Well,” said Lewis Schaffer, “I don’t want to misquote him. I don’t want to put words into Reg’s mouth which he didn’t say because I want to use it in my show.”

“I often get mistaken for Brad Pitt,” I said.

No-one laughed.

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Day Five of Malcolm Hardee Week – the perils of publicity stunts

Well, at last night’s Malcolm Hardee Award Show, there was a change of plan when we found out we had been successfully conned by Bob Slayer who masterminded the ‘Cockgate’ publicity stunt for Kunt and the Gang – in which Kunt’s penis stickers were put on other acts’ posters throughout Edinburgh…..

Personally, I never rated the basic stunt itself. If you are trying to raise awareness of an act called Kunt… really, do not spread penis stickers all over Edinburgh, especially if they do not have the name of the act/show on and just one of those little square things which smartphones can read but which, in fact, no-one noticed. It’s like promoting 101 Dalmatians by putting blank stickers of the outline of a cat all over the place.

Then there was the racing certainty that it would annoy all the other acts, promoters and venues which had paid for and put up the posters. I was told that one promoter has spent £36,000 on Edinburgh Fringe posters for a particular act. If you deface their posters, it ain’t surprising they are going to be a tad pissed-off.

To my mind, the whole concept of ‘Cockgate’ was cock-eyed and against the basic spirit of the Fringe. The acts (who ultimately pay for everything) are having a bad enough time at the Fringe already without some plonker coming along defacing their marketing tools.

There is much truth in the idea that the posters festooning Edinburgh are promoting promoters not acts but, ultimately, they are building awareness of acts even if they are not putting extra bums on seats; and every act – even one perceived to be successful – is struggling in some way. Showbiz careers are frail facades of mirrors and smoke.

So why did Kunt and The Gang get nominated for the Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award for best publicity stunt promoting a performer or show at the Fringe?

Basically, because – as the nomination said – Kunt (or, rather, Bob Slayer) managed to push the basic sticky penis stunt way beyond what seemed possible. There were tales about agents, managers and promoters threatening people legally, physically and financially; there were humorous quotes from Edinburgh Council officials about seizing and pulling off cocks; there were tales of the outrage caused; and there were photocalls with comedians far more famous than Kunt sporting the iconic penis stickers.

The stunt itself was a load of balls. The handling of and the spin put on the stunt was a work of art.

There was talk among the Malcolm Hardee Award judges of awarding the Cunning Stunt trophy to Bob Slayer instead of Kunt, but the’ Cockgate’ publicity stunt was no different to PR men Mark Borkowski or Max Clifford creating a buzz about an act. Any prize or box office credit goes to the performer not the PR man/woman.

So the nomination went to Kunt and was only slightly wobbled when Kunt sacked Bob Slayer as his PR man in this e-mail which Bob Slayer posted on his website and which I included in my blog yesterday:

Kunt has sacked me

___________________________________

Dear Bob

Sorry to have to tell you by email but I don’t want you doing anything else on the cock sticker campaign. As much as I appreciate the other comedians turning out for the photocalls that you organised, I didn’t want to be in the photos and you convinced me against my better judgement that it would be a good idea. I’ve seen the resulting photos and I look more awkward than Jade Goody’s mum on a juggling course. Also I’m getting grief off my bird after you made me put that sticker on Kate Copstick’s jumper and some cunt took that photo which is now doing the rounds that looks like I’m titting her up.

I know you were doing what you thought best but the reason I don’t do any press releases is because I know who my audience is and they find us naturally through the internet or word of mouth. They are proper people like bricklayers, carpet fitters, shop workers, central heating engineers, students and drug dealers. Since you took it upon yourself to ‘help’ with my cock sticker campaign, coverage in po-faced luvvie mags like The Stage has meant the shows have been increasingly full of pompous, middle class, chin-stroking ponces. For fuck’s sake, the poxy Culture Show have even been in!

In the last seven days since you helped ‘mastermind’ the cock campaign I have had more roll-necked twats in cuntish berets sat there with a glass of red wine and laughing ironically than in the previous seven years of gigs. Fuck knows how this has happened because I’d hardly call your act highbrow, I was there the night that bird stuck her finger up your arsehole and pulled it out leaving a rubber glove hanging out your brown eye.

I will buy you a beer when I see you to say thanks for helping us get nominated for the cunning stunt award. But I don’t want you doing anything else. At this rate it’s only a matter of time before Michael fucking MacIntyre turns up covered in cock stickers shouting ‘Where’s the party?’.

Cheers

Kunt

P.S. I seriously think you are liable for Daniel Sloss’s agent losing her sense of humour and invoicing us for 900 quid. I told you in confidence that I overheard someone saying that he didn’t have pubes yet, there was no need to go and blog it.

___________________________________

When I first read this, I thought it might be another brilliant piece of spin to keep the ‘Cockgate’ saga spinning even longer but, no, I spoke to Bob Slayer and it was genuine; he was very upset.

Except that he was not.

None of it was true.

The e-mail was a fake and was, indeed, written just to stoke the spin on ‘Cockgate’ even more.

Malcolm Hardee judge Kate Copstick and I were totally taken in. We did not realise we had been conned until we were told by Bob immediately before the Malcolm Hardee Awards Show last night.

His reason for the fake e-mail?

“We wanted to confuse Daniel Sloss’s agent so she didn’t know which one of us to sue.”

What was our reaction?

We gave Kunt his Cunning Stunt Award, but we also gave another Cunning Stunt Award to Bob Slayer for fooling us.

This is a one-off extra award and only because somehow, by accident, I had an extra Cunning Stunt Award made. I do not know how this happened. Clearly senility has hit. I cannot count. I cannot spot PR cons.

Yesterday afternoon was also the deadline for bids on eBay from anyone wanting to buy last year’s Malcolm Hardee Award from winner Robert White, who could do with some hard cash. Yesterday morning, I got an e-mail from Robert:
______________

Dear John

Malcolm came to me in a dream last night and got me to stop this obvious sham of a self-promoting non-real auction and as such the item is no longer for sale. Although I believe you can acquire one of your own by doing the Edinburgh Festival and being mental enough.

Yours with best wishes and God’s blessings,

Robert

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Miss Behave and an encounter with Kunt at the Edinburgh Fringe

Last night at the Edinburgh Fringe, I went to see Miss Behave’s variety show The Mess at Assembly in George Square.

She may have been laid low with meningitis for weeks, but Miss Behave sure knows how to put on a show.

It’s not often you get in one show, clowns, music, Phil Kay in full manic flight, Charlie Chuck and his plank of wood, magician Paul Zenon, a host of other top acts and 25 circus stunts in 5 minutes. And it is a different show with different acts every night.

Leaving George Square later, I bumped into stuntmeister of the moment Kunt and the Gang with comics Ian Fox and Ashley Frieze.

Ashley is, it seems, a great fan of Kunt’s magnum opus Shannon Matthews: The Musical.

Kunt promised to give me a copy and he told me that the Edinburgh Council men, who threatened him with a £3,000 prosecution for inciting audiences to stick paper penises onto other acts’ posters, were tremendously amiable. They told him – he swears this is an exact quote:

“We’ve been round 100 sites, pulling cocks off.”

Ian Fox has posted online some of the random penile graffiti, which he photographed before the council men went around doing their civic duty.

More worrying than the threatened £3,000 court case, though, Kunt has heard a rumour that managemrnt/promotion company Avalon may sue him for £50,000 for… I am not quite sure what for… damage to their acts’ images?… inciting audiences to deface random posters with sticky cocks? As Kunt did none of the cock-sticking himself, it is a tough call. I am not sure if ‘incitement to commit graffiti’ is on the statute books.

But maybe this rumour is just the sign of a stunt that has gone beyond control and now has a life of its own. Or maybe Avalon are now in the race for next week’s Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award.

Whatever.. Kunt now has 4,300 sticky paper penises left over.

If anyone has a good suggestion about where to stick them, then let him know.

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‘Cockgate’ – the cunning stunt from Kunt and the Gang gathers momentum

It seems some people will do anything in an attempt to get a Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award. Who knows, in the swirling maelstrom of orgasmic lust for an award in Malcolm Hardee Week next week, exactly what may or not be true and the lengths to which people may or may not go to win one of the glittering prizes?

According to Bob Slayer, unofficial Kunt spokesman, it is day 3.5 in the ‘Cockgate’ saga in which Kunt and The Gang (who are one person) got sticky paper penises plastered on other people’s posters all over the Edinburgh Fringe.

Mild-mannered Kunt, as a result, has been issued with a £3,000 fine.

Last night, according to Bob – over beers in the Gilded Balloon’s exclusive Loft Bar and in front of witnesses – Tommy Sheppard, owner of the Stand comedy club, offered to pay for the defence of Kunt in any prosecution and/or pay the £3,000 fine.

Sheppard’s paraphrased reasoning, according to Bob, was: “The poster sites are an eyesore around Edinburgh. If I got my way they would all be removed. They are a rip-off for the shows that fund them and only exist to inflate promoter egos… Cocks are funny full stop and I would be happy to welcome them on any Stand posters…”

This may not be altogether altruistic as, of course, if the other venues’ posters were removed, it would be less competition for the Stand’s all-year-round profile in Edinburgh.

However, as I believe there are around 4,500 sticky paper penises left, it will be interesting to see if they do, indeed, appear on any Stand posters.

Kunt of Kunt and the Gang had this to say:

“I thought I was going to have to go back to Basildon and do something horrible on a building site in order to raise that kind of cash… But thanks to the support from nice Mr Tommy I can continue to pedal my filthy ditties to packed audiences every night…”

According to Bob Slayer – a Malcolm Hardee Award nominee last year who is clearly also trying to suck up to the judges this year – comic Stewart Lee (last year’s winner of the Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award) has already reserved the front row for the remainder Kunt’s Fringe free shows at The Hive and (according to Bob) “is very interested in picking up stage and TV rights to Shannon Matthews: The Musical penned by Kunt.”

Bob asks: “What can you do to support the Basildon One and in turn uphold the very spirit of the Fringe?”

I think he’s doing very well on his own.

At least someone is trying to uphold the Malcolm Hardee legacy of cunning stunts…

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