My blog yesterday was about giving a speech at comedian Chris Luby’s funeral.
An earlier choice for speaker had been juggler Steve Rawlings, who toured the UK with Chris. But it turned out he was in Berlin. He had got scouted by Cirque du Soleil, gone out to meet them and become part of their artist list.
Last night (still in Berlin) he told me:
“One of my favourite memories of Chris was when he was struggling to get gigs and I’d got him one in a club down in the South of England and had picked him up at his house and taken him to the gig.
“He did a great show, of course, and afterwards went off to the bar to celebrate while I went off to do my act.
“At the end of the night, after the gig, I found him at the bar totally drunk doing his impersonation of the songs and chants of the Zulu army – as in the movie Zulu – when they attacked Rorke’s Drift, complete with spear and shield motions.
“He was performing this to two very large and very angry-looking black guys.
“I managed to drag him away before someone killed him, but the funny thing was – being Chris – all the sounds and words of the chants would have been 100% accurate and it would never have occurred to him that sharing this knowledge with two big black guys would have caused offence.”
Steve also remembered: “Playing Trivial Pursuits with Chris was a bit pointless as he knew all the answers and would only stop going around the board when he got one wrong on purpose so you would keep playing with him”.
If you are reading this blog on the day it was posted, there is a high likelihood I will still be making my own way to Germany. I am travelling to Leipzig with comedian Nick Revell (unless something goes wrong with the trains) for the first gig at Vivienne and Martin Soan’s new Leipzig club – a sort of Pull The Other One East – at Noch Besser Leben (which translates as Still Better Living). Obviously, Nick is performing and I am not. Martin and Vivienne are not that experimental nor mental.
Going to Leipzig seemed like a good idea when it was first suggested and still seems a fairly good idea despite the fact it is a 12-hour train trip.
When this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent Anna Smith heard I was going to Leipzig, her reaction was: “Not Leipzig, Saskatchewan, I hope!”
“Why?” I asked. So far, there has been no response.
Comedian Matt Roper’s response was: “I’m in San Francisco, showering them with spittle tonight (as his character Wilfredo), then off to Los Angeles tomorrow. Nothing really much to write about here, except that I finally managed to make it coast to coast across the US without flying!”
This seemed mildly eccentric – and then I opened three bizarre e-mails one-after-the-other.
The first was from publishers Pearson Education, asking if they could use 79 words from one of my 2012 blogs about the World Egg Throwing Championships in a new educational textbook they are producing titled Skills For Writing. They said: “We would like to request permission to include the material, within the electronic components of our publication.”
I have no idea what this really means nor why they want to use 79 words from the blog, versions of which were re-published both in the UK edition of the Huffington Post and by the Indian news site WSN (We Speak News).
The blog’s headline was World Egg Throwing Championships: Cheaper and Funnier Than the Olympics and the words Pearson want to use are:
I triumphed in the Russian Egg Roulette heats in face-offs with two small children, who seemed to be the only children in the contest. I faced John Ward in the semi-final. I triumphed again.
In the grand final, I unfortunately faced a large man called Jerry Cullen, dressed in black and wearing sunglasses. The first four of the six eggs we smashed on our foreheads were hard-boiled, leaving only two more eggs – one for each of us…
The fact that Pearson Education wanted to use this in a textbook entitled Skills For Writing was a little surprising. But not as surprising as the next e-mail I opened, which told me that Max Keiser – whom I like to describe as an American financial provocateur who appears on Russian and Iranian TV and who has occasionally appeared in my blog… was launching his own currency last night, not totally dissimilar to Bitcoin. It is being called Maxcoin.
I asked Max to tell me more. He sent me an e-mail saying:
“Maxcoin is being developed at the University of Bristol which has some of the best crypto talent in the world. Anybody looking to get into a fast growing industry that pays incredibly well should look into their programs.”
This doesn’t help me much, but then he sent me an even more jaw-dropping e-mail detailing something that I am not allowed to talk about for another couple of weeks.
We live in interesting times, but then we always have.