Tag Archives: Swansea

Tomorrow night, Chris Dangerfield risks performing comedy in Swansea again

Chris Dangerfield & Trevor Lock in Swansea last November

Chris Dangerfield (left) with Trevor Lock before their notorious Swansea gig last year

Last November, I blogged about comedian Chris Dangerfield’s visit to Swansea with Trevor Lock for a gig which, let us say, divided the audience.

At the time, Trevor told me: “A fair few people got up and left by the table-load, unable to stomach it. Others who stayed forgot they didn’t like it and found themselves laughing. Many just ignored what was happening on stage and just carried on with their Friday night but many also seemed to be only waiting for Chris to stop so they could start singing his name again.”

It was producer Richard Griffiths’ first gig as a promoter and also his first gig as a stand-up comedian. The evening was coincidentally filmed as part of a six-episode fly-on-the-wall BBC3 documentary series called Swansea Call Centre, due to be screened soon.

“The series is gonna be rammed with David Brent type characters,” Richard tells me.

By last November, the Beeb had been filming for over a year at the call centre where Richard then worked (he has recently left).

As he was in the process of organising his first comedy night and, as he had Chris Dangerfield and Trevor Lock coming from London to Swansea to perform, the film crew wanted to follow the storyline of Richard ‘going showbiz’.

“Will I become the first person in Britain to have his stand-up debut watched by over a million people?” Richard asked me this week. “I’m new to all this. I had always wanted to perform and it was a combination of that, Chris saying in one of your blogs that I was hilarious but ‘too scared’ to go on stage and an email from a mate that made my mind up. The BBC were there filming all night and I understand they are definitely using it as one of the stories in an episode… So, going by their usual figures, a million people will see my comedy debut… Is this a world record?”

It was a charity gig and Richard raised £2,000 that night. The girl concerned recently had her operation successfully.

But now – tomorrow – Richard has booked Chris Dangerfield back at his new Swansea comedy night, this time with by New Zealander Benjamin Crellin.

“Are you mad?” I asked Richard last night.

Richard Griffiths being filmed for BBC3 last November

Richard Griffiths being filmed for BBC3 last November

“Well,” he told me, “to put anything on in Swansea without the full blessing of the Freemasons you have to be mad. But Chris was on his way to drug detox last time, so the city ain’t seen the best of him yet. Anyway, I’m actively looking to upset everyone with these comedy nights purely to offset all the good work I do behind closed doors. I was threatened with ‘bad Ju-Ju’ by a local Jehovah if I had Dangerfield back in Swansea but it’s a risk worth taking.

“I packed my job in a few weeks back so, even though I make no money from these nights, I create employment for others from my lofty position of dole bum.”

I asked Chris Dangerfield if it was a mad idea for him to go back into what, last time, was like an over-sensitive lion’s den of a gig.

“Well,” he replied. “It’s good for comics. They shout at you throughout the whole gig, they throw things at you, they heckle in grunts and groans and people storm out ‘in protest’, not at what you’re saying but at what you’re not saying  – Where’s the jokes? they shout.

“All these things happen elsewhere of course but, with these gigs, it’s as if that bloke, woman or couple from one-in-three gigs everywhere else have all turned up to this gig. It teaches you an important lesson – the gig is about them, not you. They’ve paid to have a laugh. The comic is getting paid whatever happens. Lose the ego. If the audience are enjoying what they’re doing, just help facilitate that. Don’t get all uppity about it and don’t think But what about my story about the soap-dish?

“Richard’s Swansea gig is like a baptism of fire and gigs afterwards feel positively breezy in comparison.”

“So,” I asked, “are you going to tailor your show to the audience?”

Chris with Page 3 girl Brandy Brewer this week

Chris out in London with Page 3 girl Brandy Brewer this week

“Unless it’s one of my own 60-minute shows,” Chris said, “I don’t really know what I’m going to talk about until I’m on stage. I’ve got a lifetime of stories. Often, I’ll just start chatting with the audience and something will spark something off – a memory I’m excited to remember – and the audience responds to that.

“If they’re not playing ball, I’ll do something that I hope on the spot they’ll appreciate; which is another ability I had to learn, often painfully. Once, I opened with a 5 minute improvised song – mainly the repeated chorus What’s your favourite cake? I kept trying to get them to join in, convinced they would. But they didn’t.

“I’ve frequently also been politely asked just to leave. A promoter once called me over half way through a 30 minute set and said calmly, almost apologetically: Can you just stop, please. I’ll still pay you.”

“Did you learn anything from your last show in Swansea?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Chris replied. “I quite like the Swansea crowd. It’s not a nice place Swansea. In many important ways – such as cultural and economic – it is neglected and poverty-stricken. But the people are refreshingly human. There’s a simultaneous acceptance and pride. I like people from Swansea. And they chant my name a la football terraces for a good five minutes after I’ve walked on stage, which is both pleasant and easy money.”

The rather ominous poster for tomorrow’s gig

Apathy-destroying poster for gig tomorrow

From Richard’s point of view, though: “The apathy of the locals is my real issue. My Don from Sexy Beast ticket selling style don’t always work. This will be my third night promoting a gig. So apathetic locals, huge distances for comics to travel, my own debatable mental health and a war chest of about £26 makes it all seem a bit daft really. But what’s the choice? I’m only after a regular 150 needles I guess… but ideally all in the same haystack.”

“Have you got an escape plan?” I asked Chris Dangerfield. “A get-out strategy like the Americans should have had in Afghanistan?”

“Valium,” he answered.

“You got any photos from last time that I can use without people suing me?” I asked.

“Maybe on the other computer,” he replied. “I’ll look. Remember, Trevor Lock refused to go last time unless I stopped the smack and got by on codeine tablets. Predictably, I took about 30 and felt quite nice, but the camera picked up an altogether different image.”

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Comedian Chris Dangerfield on his new Edinburgh show and starting up a sex business without the Chinese Triads.

(This was also published by Indian news site WSN)

Chris Dangerfield looks over his shoulder yesterday

Chris Dangerfield looking over his shoulder yesterday

SERIOUSLY… A SEVERE WARNING… REALLY:
This blog contains very sexually explicit material and should not be read if you find that sort of material offensive.

* * *

I met Chris Dangerfield for tea in London’s Soho yesterday.

When I arrived in Chinatown and phoned him, as arranged, at 5.00pm, he said “Hello, John,” and then put someone else on the line.

“Hello, John,” a female Chinese voice said.

“I’ll be five minutes,” said Chris.

When he arrived, he told me he had had eight hours sleep in the previous three days.

“You know Pam died?” he asked.

“Pam?” I asked.

“Pam. Beggar. Been round here twenty years. Stood as tall as your knee. Green hands from moving 2p coins in them. Gambling addict. She died. Died just before Christmas. Probably cancer. She had it. Was treated. And I only found out yesterday that she died. So that was a bit of a shock.”

“She was a tramp?” I asked.

“She lived in sheltered housing,” said Chris, “but she was a gambling addict. It’s all about addiction. Last time we spoke, I was on the way to rehab for my hideously re-occurring heroin addiction…”

“…for a weekend,” I added.

“Yeah,” said Chris, “well, it went on a bit longer than a weekend.”

“Did it work?”

“Yeah, I’m clean. Yeah. But I got a girlfriend and she’s been hit by a car and she’s in hospital. That’s why I’m kind of… I left her on Sunday and I found out this morning (Thursday) that’s she’s in hospital.”

“What happened?” I asked. “A broken leg?”

“I don’t know,” said Chris, “because I’m trying not to get too… I just don’t know, John. It’s all  very… new. So that’s why I’m a little bit… more confused than usual… I’m also trying to buy 50 kilos of silver off of someone… That’s another complication… I’m all up-in-the-air.”

“All a great source for comedy,” I suggested.

“I had an interesting phone call,” said Chris. “The Comedy Cafe phoned me and said If you can fill our venue, you can have 100% of the door. An interesting business model. I said What’s the capacity? They said A hundred people. So I’ll do an hour’s show there. I’ll get £800. I can fill it. I am very good at marketing these things.”

Coming soon – the last ever performance of his 2012 show

Coming soon – the last ever performance of this 2012 show

“When is this?” I asked.

“25th of April,” said Chris.

“You’ll manage that,” I said. “Are you doing last year’s Edinburgh Fringe show?”

“Yes. And it’ll be the last performance of it. The last time I ever perform Sex Tourist. So that’s also a selling point for it.”

“So things are going well?” I asked.

“Well, I’ve been asked back to Swansea,” said Chris.

“Whaaaat???” I reacted.

“I know,” said Chris. “It was a nightmare, a living nightmare last time. You blogged about it. I’ve been asked back by Richard Griffiths, the same person who booked me last time. He said I’m in demand down there. He rang me up and said £400 plus travel expenses.”

“Perhaps news of your nightmare has spread,” I suggested. “Did Richard Griffiths explain why he has had this mental aberration?”

“I don’t care,” said Chris. “£400 plus travel expenses to go down to Swansea and do a gig is OK by me. He’s got a different venue. I said I’ll do it. I want the money in advance. I’m not going all the way down to what is essentially a… a… well, I don’t even need to describe it. Everyone knows what Swansea’s like. I’m going to go down there and preview my new show, which is now called Enter The Dragon.”

“Because?” I asked.

“It’s about how I spent £150,000 – I’m done the maths now and it wasn’t £200,000 like I told you, it was only £150,000 – So it’s now called Enter The Dragon: How I Spent £150,000 on Chinese Prostitutes… sub-titled Looking For Love in All The Wong Places.”

“Aha,” I said.

“Now,” Chris continued, “when you rung me up, I was in a Chinese brothel, as you know, because I put one of the girls on the phone. I am going to set up my own massage parlour…

“I am trying to get Will Self – who I know – to let me do a gig to just him. I want to preview my Edinburgh show just to Will, because I want him to write a review because he’s excellent with language and I grew up reading Will Self stuff. That sounds like it might be on the cards, but I also told him about setting-up this massage parlour because you know I had a meeting with the Triads?”

“Errrr…. No,” I said. “Which Triad?”

“They’re actually the Xxxxx Family,” said Chris. “Hong Kong organised crime, essentially. They wanted an Englishman to front a massage parlour for them in London. I had a meeting with them and all these Chinese women came in first – all beautiful – and I thought they were laying them on. I thought it was like a little sweetener. It was 11 o’clock in the morning in a hotel in North Soho and I thought, Jesus Christ, man, this is it. Game on! but then the boys come in and discussed terms with me.

“I was with all these Triads and these women and the meeting went on for about three hours and halfway though – and I say this embarrassed – I was squinting my eyes and my accent had changed slightly – Ah. This ah sounds like-ha good ideeah in a Chinese accent – because it all seemed just so seductive to be part of their world. The weird thing is I’ve never felt I belonged anywhere. The only place I’ve ever belonged is rehab. When I’m in rehab, I think Yes, I should be here.

“I’ve got a terrible history with organised crime. I’ve had people put guns in my mouth. I’ve been chased round the country. I’m still paying someone off for some very very naughty business I used to be involved in.

Chris Dangerfield in Soho yesterday, just off Chinatown

Chris Dangerfield in Chinatown yesterday

“So I said to the Xxxxx Family, You have a terrible reputation for cutting people’s hands off. And we all laughed. Hahahahaha we went and they said, Yeah, but we just wanna make money.

“Anyway, I turned that business model down. I decided not to do it. But the woman you spoke to on the phone today – me and her are going to set up a massage parlour. And that’s part of my new Edinburgh Fringe show. That meeting with the Triads and what happened before and after. I’m not saying I have a particularly bizarre life, but I wouldn’t put it in my show unless it went worse than just a meeting with some crooked businessmen.

“This year’s Fringe show opens with a true story about having sex with an Alsatian called Emma.”

“This is a woman from Alsace, not a dog?” I checked.

“No, it’s a dog not a woman,” Chris corrected me.

(I have changed the dog’s name to preserve its privacy)

“The thing is,” said Chris, “you know they say You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink? In much the same way, you can lead a dog to penis but you can’t make it fuck. I did not rape the animal. I did insert my penis into an animal, but it took to it like a… duck to… water. It truly did.

“I didn’t fuck it… I’ll tell you why I call it ‘it’ in a minute. Weirdly… You know some people name their pets with human names like a gerbil called Scott? Well, this Alsatian was called Emma. It really did not help to have my penis inside a dog called Emma. I was quite high and remember stroking its back and thinking Emma’s got amazingly soft hair.

“My point is that, although the dog was called Emma, I couldn’t tell if it was a male or a female. My question to you, John, is Has anyone ever seen a dog’s vagina?”

“Another dog, I presume?” I managed to suggest.

“Have you yourself ever seen a dog’s vagina?” Chris asked me.

“Errr… Not that I remember.”

“If you were going to have to put your finger in a dog’s orifice, starting under the tail… Weird, isn’t it?”

“It seems that way to me,” I agreed.

“Fill yourself full or heroin and tuinal,” Chris continued. “Look… I had a penis; the dog was happy to reverse onto it. In Germany, they’ve got animal brothels. They’re trying to get them closed down, but I’ve seen men fucking horses and you can’t make… I’ve seen a horse fucking a man on a video… and you can’t make a horse do that. The horse either wants to do it or not. I’ve seen a man – not on video, live – put his penis in the massive chasm that is a horse’s rear end. It wasn’t pleasant.”

“I think this conversation is getting out of hand for my blog,” I said.

“Well,” said Chris, “you’ve got the Triads, you’ve got the bestiality, you’ve got the mother-and-daughter prostitutes who, whilst wanking me off…”

“I must have missed that one,” I said. “My attention must have wandered. Run that past me again..”

“The mother-and-daughter prostitutes who, whilst wanking me off,” repeated Chris, “had an argument that ended up with them hitting each other, whilst they’re still wanking me. They did not stop. You’ve got to admire that…”

I shrugged casually.

“So this new Edinburgh show is going to be excellent,” Chris told me.

“I’m going to regret using this phrase,” I said, “but you’re not sucking up to me with made-up stories just to get publicity in my blog, are you?”

“You know me by now.” said Chris. “It’s all true. I can take you to meet the people. This is my Edinburgh show. Every single thing is true. You know me by now, John. You know that I don’t actually have an imagination. I can’t write jokes. I’ve never written any comedy down. I buy books. Every year, I think: It’s time to grow a bit as an act. I buy a book. I open the book up, I do a pencil drawing of a goose with human legs and it gets put in the bin. It’s all true.

“Another bit of news is… When is this blog being published?…”

“Probably tomorrow,” I said.

“OK, then I can’t tell you this next bit. It’s a PR stunt. I’ll ring you and you will be the first to know. But I can tell you I’m doing a UK tour – me, Trevor Lock and Lee Kern of the TV show Celebrity Bedlam… The three of us are doing a UK tour with a very, very, very odd, different… I’m not going to tell you any more, but it is not just a comedy tour.”

“Does it involve any woodland creatures?” I asked.

“There’s no animals,” said Chris, “unless anyone brings one along to the show. But there will be no reversing them onto me.”

“At my age,” I said. “I am thankful for small mercies.”

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Chris Dangerfield: Odd BBC3 Welsh Sex Tourist gig – 3 views of it over 3 days

Trevor Lock preparing for a top comedy gig
(photograph by Chris Dangerfield)

I wrote a couple of blogs last week, based on a chat I had with comedian Chris Dangerfield – a former heroin addict who, at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, managed to get addicted to prescription drugs in vast quantities.

On Friday, he performed his Edinburgh Fringe show in Swansea. The show is about him being a sex tourist in Thailand.

In Edinburgh, it had been sponsored by an escort service.

“I’m going to a detox centre this weekend,” he told me last week, “because now I can’t sort this out on my own any more. So I’m in real trouble… I can’t control the drugs. Give me a week’s worth of narcotics and tell me to Taper yourself down and I will eat them all that night.”

In Swansea, Richard Griffiths (who had never put on a comedy gig before) had booked Chris Dangerfield and Trevor Lock for a part-charity gig at the Cwmfelin Steelworks Welfare and Social Club. “Usually,” Chris told me ominously, “they have bingo on… but this week they have my Sex Tourist show.”

So, after the Swansea gig on Friday night, I asked Chris how it had gone.

“It was a packed house in the backwaters of Swansea,” he told me. “A good proportion of the crowd decided to talk throughout. Trevor did quite well through the talking. I headlined and realised again that my particular brand of comedy doesn’t lend itself to non-comedy audience charity gigs. I ploughed through, like wading through shit in a suit of armour. Now I’m exhausted, looking forward Sunday when I’ll be in rehab which, right now, is where I belong.”

On Saturday, I asked Trevor Lock how he thought the gig had gone.

“It went rather strangely John,” he told me.

“I’m not sure I’ve done a gig like it before. Many people in the audience had come to see a charity gig to raise money for a two-year-old girl to go to the US to have an operation to help her walk. But a very small group of highly-vocal middle-aged men had come to see Chris talk about being a sex tourist in Thailand and were singing his name like a football chant.

“The BBC were filming it because the promoter of the event works at a call centre which BBC3 are making a documentary about and the whole call centre had been bought tickets to the show by their boss – so it also had an element of a Christmas office party about it.

“To my untrained eye, the whole thing seemed to be taking place in the early 1970s but actually it was the Cwmfelin Social Club, a rabbit warren of bingo rooms and bars, over-lit like a public library.

“It was not a unified audience – Different groups had come to see different things. It was extraordinary to watch people’s faces as Chris pretty much did his Sex Tourist routine to some people who had come to see him do just that AND to some people who had come to a charity comedy night to raise money for a little girl.

“Towards the end of Chris’s stint one woman, who was celebrating her birthday, approached me at the side of the stage and said: How much can I pay you to make him stop?

“A fair few people got up and left by the table-load, unable to stomach it. Others who stayed forgot they didn’t like it and found themselves laughing. Many just ignored what was happening on stage and just carried on with their Friday night but many also seemed to be only waiting for Chris to stop so they could start singing his name again.

“It was a lot of fun and a slice of life I’m not used to seeing. And personally I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

On Sunday, after Chris had gone into the detox centre, Richard Griffiths – the man who had organised the gig – told me what he thought.

“It was an experience, John,” he told me.

Had he been worried about Chris’ mental well-being because of his drug problem?

“That’s why I hired him,” Richard told me. “Though, until I heard he and Trevor were actually on the train to Swansea on Friday, I thought I might have AWOL comics on my hands.

“The night itself was a hoot, though hard work for Chris and Trevor. It had a bit of a Works’ Do vibe… Everyone involved had a good time… Chris and Trevor are special lads with special needs… Neither made my daughters’ beds when they left and all they left behind was a packet of Space Invaders… No note… But I love them both…

“BBC3 were filming it as part of a programme they are making about the call centre I work in, so that made it all the trippier. We raised about £2,000 for a charity and made about £450 each ourselves… defying the recession.”

So that sounds like a success, then.

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Comedian Chris Dangerfield: addicted to drugs… and a story about a corpse

(This piece was also published by India’s We Speak News)

Chris Dangerfield: addicted to drugs and strong stories

Comedian Chris Dangerfield is performing his show Sex Tourist in Swansea tonight.

In yesterday’s blog, he was talking to me over tea and scones at Browns in St Martin’s Lane about a self-inflicted comedy gig from Hell.

His last words were “So, you know about my well-documented drug habit…”

This is what he said next…

_____________________________________________________________________

“Just before the Edinburgh Fringe this year, I done my back in and they put me on Valium, because it’s a muscle relaxant. Not a good thing to go on. I used to eat 50 of those a day. I should leave all drugs alone. Towards the end of Edinburgh, I realised I was taking Valium for recreational use, not for my back which was absolutely fine. That progressed and carried on into codeine, DF 118, codeine phosphate.

“I’m a drug addict. I get into terrible trouble with drugs and obviously there comes a point where the doctor will not give me the drugs in the quantities I want, so then I have to go on the black market.

“I’m going to a detox centre this weekend because now I can’t sort this out on my own any more. So I’m in real trouble. It’s a very dangerous place for me to be because, if I don’t get it sorted out, I end up sticking needles up my arse because you’ve got capillaries up there and, if you run out of veins like I have, you snap the needle off and you stick the syringe into your anus and the capillaries in your anus will absorb the heroin.

“A well-known television celebrity rang me up the other night with his gun, saying I’m going to kill myself, Chris.”

“With his gun?” I asked, surprised.

“Well, obviously,” said Chris, “he didn’t use his gun to phone me up. That would have been extraordinary. He used a telephone. But he came round my house and I nursed him. Now, me nursing him while I’m out of my head on codeine and Valium and he’s also in real trouble with drugs – it was the most ridiculous night of my life.”

“Was it?” I asked.

“Well, no it wasn’t,” admitted Chris. “Nowhere near, actually… It doesn’t come close… But, since I got clean…

“Suddenly I was right back in all the madness. This is happening again! Since I’ve been having to buy black market drugs, I’ve also been having black market people back in my life again, throwing stones at my window in the middle of the night to get money from me because they want stuff.

“So I know all these insane people again and they want to borrow my phone because they’ve got no credit left. I was standing in Old Compton Street this afternoon and there’s this 24 year old boy standing next to me arranging a load of Valium and Xanax for me – it’s another benzodiazepine, a very strong one.

“He collapses into the road with my phone which skates across Old Compton Street. I have to pick him up and pretend I’m a stranger because, otherwise, I’m blatantly scoring. Though I don’t care who knows that except for the police. And then, when I get my phone back, this other bloke phones me up: I’m going to kill myself again! You gotta help me! I didn’t bury the gun!”

“This is the well-known TV celebrity?” I asked.

“No, this is someone else,” said Chris.

Bury the gun?” I asked.

“I’d told him You need to get rid of that gun.”

“How had he got the gun?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” replied Chris. “You buy them off people, don’t you? It was a 9mm Beretta. So all this is going on and I’m thinking about coming to talk to you.”

“What was the man with the Beretta doing?” I asked.

“He was worried that he was going to kill himself or someone else – and that’s why this other bloke is on the floor, smashed out of his head on Xanax, trying to get me Xanax on Old Compton Street. So that’s been my day. So if I’m a little bit… confused… that’s… My! But aren’t those scones lovely? Look at that clotted cream!”

“So what about your gig in Swansea this week?” I asked.

“A man I met in a rehab centre years ago,” explained Chris. “Richard Griffiths…”

Richard Griffiths?” I asked.

“No,” said Chris. “Not that one. Another Richard Griffiths – he’s hilarious, but he’s too scared to do stand-up… He’s created a fan base… Aren’t these scones just amazing? Did you have some of the clotted cream?”

“Yes,” I said. “It was amazing.”

“You didn’t under-do it, did you?” Chris asked me. “Because your doctor told you to?”

“I don’t think I’ve ever talked to him about clotted cream,” I said.

“Fuck your doctor!” said Chris. “You are going to die… If he told you to have less clotted cream, then have more. It’s clotted cream. It’s not heroin… When you write this in your blog, stress that I do not think addiction is funny. It can lead to humour, but ultimately it’s a painful and selfish problem and hurts many people, not only the user.”

“I will remember to include that bit,” I told Chris.

“Richard Griffiths has created a fan base for me in Swansea,” Chris continued. “I used to have videos on YouTube but I took them off because I didn’t want people to see my very old stuff and I’m a very different comic now and, if you want to see me, then pay to see me live on stage. It’s worth paying the money. I’m a better comic live. Most comedy is.”

“So Richard Griffiths has created a fan base for you…” I prompted.

“Yeah, by projecting old YouTube videos in pubs and by inviting people along to see Chris Dangerfield ‘virtual’ gigs in Swansea. So he asked me Will you come down to Swansea and do a gig? and I said Absolutely not – It’s miles and miles away, there’ll be seven people there, you’ve never promoted a gig before and No No No.

“And he said What about if I can guarantee 300 tickets sold at £10 and we go thirds on that, I give a little bit to charity and I pay you in advance? And I said Ye-e-e-es. And he asked Will Trevor Lock come down and be your support act? and I said Yes, so, after charity and things, it works out at about £900 to go and do my Sex Tourist show in Swansea.”

“Sounds good,” I said.

“As far as I know,” Chris told me, “the money went through today and we are driving down to the arse end of Swansea on Friday – I can’t even pronounce it – the Cwmfelin Club in Cwmbwrla – a working men’s club. Usually they have bingo on, but this week they have my Sex Tourist show and they’ve been told I’m the best live performer in Britain at the moment and that I’m going into rehab at the weekend, which they seem to love. Richard said ticket sales went up by 100% when people found out I’m getting de-toxed the day after the gig.”

“It’s good to be big in Swansea,” I said.

“I occasionally get recognised by people,” Chris told me.

“Policemen?” I suggested.

Chris laughed. “In Edinburgh, quite a lot,” he said, “and also very occasionally on Old Compton Street someone will say Are you that comic? And recently, at an Arsenal v Swansea football match, ten blokes in Swansea kit started chanting Dangerfield! Dangerfield! and I thought I’m dead. I am dead. But they came over and said: We know about the girl with the lobster hands. We know about the goat that you painted blue and they were telling me loads of my material which also happens to be my life, which was very, very weird. So I do seem to have a fan base in Swansea.”

“So,” I said, “you go to Swansea on Friday this week, then into rehab at the weekend…”

“Yeah,” said Chris. “I’ve been clean for four-and-a-half years. I had a blip in Thailand, but that was only a couple of days. Now I have problems again and my sponsor is going to detox me because I can’t do it myself. I can’t control the drugs. Give me a week’s worth of narcotics and tell me to Taper yourself down and I will eat them all that night.”

“So you have a sponsor?”

“There are traditions in the Twelve Step Fellowships,” Chris started.

“Sounds like Hobbits on drugs,” I said.

“There are traditions,” Chris continued, “which say I cannot say. Please point out in your blog that this is ridiculous. There are traditions, at the level of press radio and film, that we remain anonymous. The sponsor is one of my… I know him through my…”

“This,” I observed, “is starting to sound more like Fight Club and you are not allowed to talk about it.”

“It’s ridiculous,” said Chris. “I say Tell people! It goes back to the 1950s, when you could lose your job or your social standing if you were an alcoholic and it got out. I don’t give a fuck, as you know. You ask me a question, I’ll tell you the truth.

“Have I put my hand up a dead person’s bum to pull drugs out? Yes I have. It’s not a nice thing. But secrets, I find, separate humans whereas honesty and truth brings humans together.”

“I didn’t actually ask about hands and dead people,” I said, slightly worried.

“But it’s a very good example of me not keeping secrets,” explained Chris. “I’m writing an article for the Huffington Post at the moment. They turned down my second one. It was about not giving a shit about animal brothels in Germany… In Germany, you can go fuck a horse in a brothel… I don’t give a shit. If you want to look at cruelty to animals, have a look at the pet industry.”

“Why do you think they turned that one down?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” said Chris. “They didn’t give me a reason.”

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Filed under Comedy, Drugs

The scams of Malcolm Hardee

Brian Mulligan, of late lamented comedy/music duo Skint Video, read my blog yesterday about the always financially creative Malcolm Hardee, who used to be their agent. He tells me it brought back fond memories of Malcolm “telling venues when they paid us cash that they needed to give us the VAT at 15% – he would say he had forgotten the invoice but would write one out there and then.”

As he was not actually registered for VAT and not entitled to collect it, he used to write down a friend’s telephone number as the VAT number, thus getting an extra 15% on top of the fee, which he then pocketed as well as his agent’s fee.

This was one of the many fine pieces of lateral thinking that Malcolm became known for.

When, on one occasion, he had to send his driving licence to the DVLA in Swansea (one of many, many occasions) they sent him back a new licence in the name of “Malcolm Hardy”. He pointed out the spelling mistake to them and they sent him another licence with the correct spelling “Malcolm Hardee”. But he never returned the first licence. This meant he had two driving licences so, if he was banned from driving and his licence suspended for some dubious motoring offence or offences, he still had what he reckoned was a ‘valid’ licence he could show to police if stopped again – the ‘other’ licence.

When Malcolm’s brother Alex was sorting out paperwork after his untimely death, Malcolm’s phone rang: it was the Inland Revenue rather optimistically asking when Malcolm was going to settle his tax bill. Alex told the taxman that, sadly, Malcolm had died. Their response was:

“You told us that last year, Mr Hardee…”

You can hear Malcolm’s son Frank telling similar stories at Malcolm’s legendary 2005 funeral HERE. If you listen to this, remember that it takes place in a church at a funeral not, as it may sound, at a stand-up comedy club…

(In August this year, the Edinburgh Fringe will include a week of events celebrating the spirit of Malcolm Hardee.)

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Filed under Comedy, Crime