Yesterday, I blogged about Bob Slayer and Mr Methane’s predilection for including darts in their stage shows: Bob Slayer encourages people to throw darts at him and Mr Methane – the world’s only professionally performing flatulist – a farter to you and me – blows darts out of his bottom to burst balloons attached to the heads of audience members.
Bob Slayer now tells me the current showbiz obsession with darts goes further than I knew:
“Dave Gorman,” he tells me, “is a big fan of darts and carries his ‘arrows’ everywhere in case he has time to kill and can nip into a boozer to chuck them at a board.”
Mr Methane, meanwhile, has been telling me how his fart-a-dart routine started.
“It was when I was touring with Bobby Davro back in the 1990s,” he tells me. “Bobby used to tell me that any show needs a good start, an at-least average middle and a memorable finish.
“I figured that farting a dart into a large balloon attached on top of someone’s head in a William Tell manner would provide that finish. But, at first, I could not figure out the correct type of dart, in terms of weight and velocity etc.
“I was using 2.2 air rifle darts and they were too heavy so, consequently, they were too slow and did not straighten up enough to impact the balloon properly. Then, one day, a Japanese TV show wanted me to ‘Fart The Dart’ into a balloon, so they studied my equipment and also videos of me farting a dart. Then they did what the Japanese do best – they improved the design and solved the problem
“When I arrived in Tokyo, I was ceremonially presented with a custom-made, MK2 balloon-piercing darts kit and we had a test run followed by green tea and sushi. Needless to say, the test run and the recording were both successful and, on taking the darts home with me to the UK, I took a leaf from the post-war Japanese Engineering Handbook and I ‘back engineered’ the product to unravel the manufacturing secrets of the darts so I could construct them myself.
“It is always a very tense moment during a live stage show when I fart-a-dart, as I like to burst the balloon first time. I suppose it is similar to the emotions that an England football player feels during the penalty shoot-out at the end of an England v Germany game in the World Cup when the pressure is really is on.
“I think my own worst time for nerves was during the semi-finals of the TV show Das Supertalent (Germany’s Got Talent).
“I was representing the United Kingdom on Germany’s No 1 prime time Saturday night entertainment show, so I had my nation’s and Her Majesty’s honour to uphold and – because it was going out live – there could be no room for any mistakes.
“The relief when I nailed the balloon first time was immense.
“It is all in the technique…
“I find it is best to grip the end of the blow pipe with your sphincter muscle in the same way you would use your lips if blowing a dart with your mouth.
“You have to be very careful not to discharge even the slightest amount of air from your colon once you are gripping the blowpipe with your buttocks and going for the countdown otherwise the dart will rise up and fall out the end with no velocity.
“Once you count zero, you blow-off big time and, hopefully, it will be a bulls-eye.
“The time lapse between the dart leaving the blowpipe and piercing the balloon in reality is very short but, for me, lying there on my back with my legs up in the air, it seems to be in slow motion, rather like events appear to be when you in a car accident or similar.
“On a Health & Safety note, I have a small filter at the end of the blowpipe which touches my bottom. This is like a filter-tip of dart-farting and is there for safety reasons – to stop the dart going any further in an inward direction, for obvious reasons.
“When farting a dart, it is important not to suck but to blow.”