Tag Archives: Poulton-le-Fylde

Festive greetings from Farter Christmas

In yesterday’s blog about Mr Methane, I mentioned the Lancashire town of Poulton-le-Fylde and eccentrics.

Mick (right) on Mr Methane’s Let It Rip DVD

Mick Cookson (extreme right) in Mr Methane’s Let It Rip

Mr M has now told me that esteemed ventriloquist Keith Harris and his best friends Orville & Chuckles live in Poulton-le-Fylde – “Or,” says Mr Methane, “at least they were still living there in 2006 when we did BBC TV show The Slammer together.

“Keith had a nightclub which he sold to a guy called Elliot. Elliot was a DJ who had made a load of money by building up a nightclub in Workington and then selling it for a tidy profit. He then came south and worked for Mick Cookson at Panama Joes/Meancat Daddies in Burnley as a DJ. Mick is the guy who interviews people in the Butt Pipe Shocker segments on my Let’s Rip DVD

“Elliot once booked me for a gig at Keith’s club which he had re-named Elliot’s – I did not go down well as it wasn’t my crowd. You could say I died on my arse.

The outstanding Mr Methane with some of his fans

Even Mr Methane strikes low notes amid glamour

“It was a lowpoint in my career. But then I’ve had many low points. Live entertainers tend to have more low points than high points or at least an equal amount – it’s just part of the game. If they’re not your crowd, they’re not your crowd.

“I can remember working with ‘Sir Bernard Cholmondeley’ (Matt Lucas) at Southampton Guild Hall – New Year 1996, I think it was – The crowd just threw things at him and shouted him off. All they wanted was tit-and-arse jokes with a bit of farting thrown in.

“But, as history shows, a bad gig for Sir Bernard and a good gig for Mr Methane are not a good indicator of future commercial success, so you just draw a line and move on. Good gigs happen. Bad gigs happen. And occasionally people throw dangerous objects like Brown Ale bottles and pint glasses at you. Merry Christmas.”

I have also received Christmas greetings and news from the Colonies.

Last week, this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent Anna Smith sent me a piece which I posted about ‘Ben from Glasgow’. Last night, she found Ben at his usual workplace on the pavement. Or, depending on your use of English, on the sidewalk.

In Vancouver, Ben from Glasgow.(Photograph by Anna Smith)

Ben from Glasgow in his Vancouver workplace. (Photograph by Anna Smith)

“As it was Christmas Eve,” Anna says, “people were lining up outside the liquor store. I told Ben:

“You’re in a blog in London. Let me show you. Your grandad is in it too.

My grandad’s in it?

“Yes,” I told him. “You’re both in it – together on the same page.

“Ben was overjoyed to see the pictures. In the meantime, people were throwing money into his cap – loonies ($1 coins), toonies ($2 coins) and bills.

“I stood out of the way, leaning against the wall beside him, reading bits of the blog to him. A lot of the people on the sidewalk knew him by his first name and were happy to have an excuse to give him a bit more money than usual. A man darted past and dropped a toonie into Ben ‘s cap and held another toonie up for me. I grabbed it

I can make money just by standing beside you! I told Ben and slid the toonie into his cap. We both laughed.

An LED umbrella and a painting in a Denman Street window display

An LED umbrella and a painting in a Denman Street window display

“A bus driver jumped off his bus, ran towards us and handed Ben a new LED umbrella.

A passenger gave it to me, Benny, he said breathlessly. I thought you could use it.

“Ben got a couple of young men to stop and give him a beer. Then a drunken rodeo clown came up.

I’m on the internet! cried Ben. Look! My grandad was a world champion!

Yeah, right, said the drunken clown.

It’s true! I told him. Ben and his grandad look exactly the same! 

“Then the drunken clown started talking about all his own accomplishments, which were very boring. Then he tried to start a fight with Benny who grabbed his bag and disappeared down an alley.

Merry Christmas, I said to the clown and then walked quickly away.”

This morning, Anna also sent me a photo of a lady.

“This is Janey from Alberta,” the message said.

Janey from Alberta (Photograph by Anna Smith)

Janey from the Alberta tar sands (Photograph by Anna Smith)

“Janey always drops by the shop when she visits Vancouver. She works cleaning trailers in the tar sands (oil patch) in Northern British Columbia and Alberta.

“They are isolated camps in the bush and she says it’s hell up there. It is dangerous and violent. She hires a taxi if she has to cross the street at night. But the cost of a house is as high as it is in Vancouver.

“The work is lucrative but, as the price of oil slumps, people can’t afford to live. Crack cocaine and methamphetamine are rampant.

“There are miles of tunnels and sludge-filled lakes, leaching into the rivers. There are gigantic mechanical bats on poles creaking away in the darkness to frighten away the birds.

“She said no-one gives a shit about anyone there. She showed me lines of scars on her stomach from being run over by a truck.”

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Festive farting, yet another West End theatre dud + Northern transvestite nun

Great Britain - Emperor’s New Clothes

Great Britain – Emperor’s New Clothes

Chris Tarrant once told me: “You are on your own planet. Stay there.”

I have never been sure whether this showed admiration or contempt.

But last night, I felt I was on my own planet.

I saw the play Great Britain (about national newspapers hacking telephones) at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, in London.

It was written by the same man who wrote the West End and Broadway triumph One Man, Two Guvnors and current London success Made in Dagenham.

The Evening Standard called it “a timely look at the tangled relationship between the press, politicians and the police”.

I would say more succinctly “trite, obvious and nothing new to say.”

The Sunday Times, Guardian and Independent gave it 4-star reviews.

According to the Daily Telegraph’s 4-star review, it had “a triumphant premiere at the National Theatre” and the audience last night seemed to enjoy it.

There had been a lot of work put into it but, to my mind, it sank tediously and disastrously amid a tsunami of atmospheric detail and mis-delivered jokes because it largely ignored the building of any rising linear plot and had no doubt fine actors attempting to deliver funny lines and failing because they were actors not comics.

It was a comedy show for people who never go to live comedy.

It was like watching university students at the Edinburgh Fringe perform a series of potentially funny self-contained sketches about the same subject which failed to gel into a single unified whole.

At the end of Act 1 – an act bereft of the build-up of any strong linear plot – my eternally-un-named friend and I were on the verge of ordering strychnine at the bar and could only admire one line each from the whole hour-plus performance. Both lines were about pandas in Scotland – nothing to do with the play’s subject.

Act II seemed better, but this may have been because my expectations were several levels below zero.

It was like listening to people farting around with words.

I would rather have the real thing.

I may or may not be spending New Year’s Eve with my chum Mr Methane (the world’s only professionally performing farter). A foreign film crew might or might not be coming over to shoot him… with cameras.

He is one of the least self-centred of performers.

Last night, I came home to a message from him saying:

“I have just discovered Musical Ruth on YouTube.

Musical Ruth - better than a West End play

Musical Ruth – nun can out-perform in public areas Up North

“She is Nuntastic!

“She/he seems to get paid by local Councils – mainly in the North and Midlands of England – to go around town centres gently harassing what is left of their dwindling consumer base. He is a quality performer/showman. We may actually know him. He/she does look a bit like Adrian Edmondson. Definitely a character for your blog I think.”

Mr Methane has a point but – hey! – it is almost Christmas and I can’t be bothered to contact Musical Ruth.

A very quick check round, though, unearths the fact that I do not have my finger anywhere near the pulse on eccentric performers because Derby-born Matthew Hunt (aka Musical Ruth) has been performing for 20 years, became a Nun act in 2006 and is now based in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire – somewhere I suspect is a hotbed of oddity.

I have now seen three West End Theatre duds in a row.

And Musical Ruth.

Bring Musical Ruth to the West End.

Or take me back to my own planet.

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