– it is good to be back – are you ready for Bob’s Bollocks?
Also coming to Belgium and Germany…
WHO’s THE BOB TOUR (November)
Wed 5th – NL Arnhem @ Het Posttheater
Thu 6th – BE Gent @ Cafe Villa Nolta
Fri 7th – NL Ede @ Perron 31
Sat 8th – NL Amsterdam @ Comedy Theater
Sun 9th – NL Utrecht @ Cafe Hofman
Tue 11th – DE Berlin @ Sameheads
Wed 12th – DE Berlin @ Bar 1820 (solo show)
Thu 13th – DE Berlin @ Badehaus Szimpla Musiksalon
Fri 14th – NL Hoorn @ Theatre Pakhuis
Sun 16th – BE Antwerpen Cafe The Joker
All shows with the wonderful Westsaid aka Mohamed Said El Hassnaoui
I love August and I will be running two venues again
Bob & Miss Behave’s Bookshop
Where we have our own bar selling lovely craft beer and you will find me every day
As well as Heroes @ The Hive
The line ups for both venues can be found here
IndieRound (Fool Members Club)
With Bob Slayer & Tim Fitzhigham
In The Bookshop Midnight to 3am – The best way to end every day
Jimbo & Gary on Facebook
Day 1 – We arrive in Kumamoto after 24 hours traveling. We took a flight from London to Tokyo then several Shinkansen (bullet trains), some of them were even the right ones…
This is the reason why we are here our friends Kaori and Jamie are getting married. Kaori was in a London based Japanese two piece band called Yumi Yumi. They both helped me out lots in the early days of managing Electric Eel Shock. After that band Kaori joined mercury award nominated The Go Team as guitarist, keyboardist and occasional vocalist. Jamie was the bass player.
The wedding is in a Shinto shrine at the base of the impressive Kumamoto castle. The shrine is a busy place with many sidelines, the most interesting of which is the succession of new cars turning up to be blessed before they go out on the road. Is this an alternative to Insurance? Business idea to take home no 1.
The highlight of the wedding food is a plate of raw horse meat, a local delicacy, apparently dating back to the Satsuma rebellion, when the castle was under siege and it was all they had left to eat. But they don’t leave it to last any more as it is delicious. I’ll never watch the Grand National in the same way again. The dumplings were pretty good as well.
Day 3 – where did day 2 disappear? A Booze and a jetlag fug? We have now made it to Kyoto. We hire bikes and tour the town… Lots of temples, but no idea what they all are as we have left the guidebook and map in the hotel in an effort to not look like tourists. Decide that we just look like shit tourists and so retire to a local ‘boozer’ and dumplings with the plan on resuming tomorrow with both items.
Day 4 – We get up at 7am, still not used to Japanese times, but this allows us to get out before most of the other tourists do. We go to two temples. The first (Kiyomizudera Temple) was beautiful even though much of it was being renovated, the second, (The Golden Palace) despite living up to its name and being completely covered in gold was less so, largely because the grockles had arisen. Time for Dumplings and sake…
Day 5 – today we are in Settsu-shi near Osaka at the house of Aki Morimoto otherwise known as front man of Electric Eel Shock. He has produced a little boy since I saw him last and Taira (3) and I bond over sword fighting and cartoons of Anpanman. Japan’s most popular anime for kids where all the characters have heads made out of different flavoured breads. In between episodes he eats, this child is a champion eater. I also build a 7 foot Lego tower.
Day 6 – Osaka speciality food is Takoyaki and Okonimaki = octopus batter balls and a savoury pancake made with chopped cabbage. Both are covered in mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce. It seems that although Japan spent a lot of its history closed off from the outside world some imports made a big influence 150 years ago. The pan in Anpanman comes from the Portuguese for bread, barbershop poles are red and white, and the Japanese for suit is Savillrow.
Day 7 – we left Osaka this morning and we are now in Tokyo. We have traversed the metro and local trains to get to Akabane where Gian (aka Tomoharu Ito), Electric Eel Shock’s drummer lives. We eat dumplings and drink sake in a restaurant that I recognise from my last visit before setting off to find his house…
I realise this last instalment lacks the excitement of other updates but at least It leaves you on a cliff hanger… Will I remember how to find our way to Gian’s house or will we be sleeping rough?
(to be continued)
An excerpt of this appeared on john Flemings blog
He didn:t use all of it as he is not my personal blogger, he is Lewis Schaffer`s
Day 8? – Kazuto Maekawa, EES bass player has set up a comedy show in a Tokyo venue called Tabassa. It will feature Tokyo based comedian Spring Day who has performed in Heroes venues at the Edinburgh Fringe and EES drummer GIAN…
Profile in the Leicester Mercury
Bearded Bob Slayer’s no stranger to Leicester and we’ve certainly seen plenty of him. Last year, at a packed De Montfort Hall, the veteran of the comedy festival ran amok among the audience, even scaling the balcony, whilst entirely naked.
He likes to do things differently, does Bob. So when he started putting on shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, he didn’t fancy frittering away thousands of pounds or stifling his comedy creativity. “My background was promoting, touring with artists such as The Bloodhound Gang, Iggy Pop and Snoop Dog, before I got into comedy,” he says.
“When I started going to Edinburgh, people would tell acts to not to expect to make any money. I thought that was crazy. There are 2 million tickets sold at Edinburgh Fringe, so someone is making money! Why not the acts?”. So much money is wasted on excessive marketing, huge posters, venue fees, agents, PR etc so that with everyone taking a cut there is nothing left for the performer. Bob realised the only way to attack the situation was to set up his own bar and venue. So, as well as putting on a show, he had his own venue where other acts perform and importantly by keeping costs down and ticket prices reasonable the acts could earn from the takings from ticket sales. While punters get reasonably priced shows.
It was a success. An award-winning concept, at that. But in order to recreate this magic in Leicester, Bob would need a pop-up venue of grand proportions. He found it in Hansom Hall.
“When I first walked in, oh, it felt great,” he gushes.“It’s amazing how many people round here don’t know it as Hansom Hall, but rather the ‘old library opposite Fenwick’s’.”
Hansom Hall was built in 1845 by the late, great architect, Joseph Aloysius Hansom, who was also the inventor of the Hansom Cab. It started out as a baptist church, but later became part of the Leicester College of Adult Education in the 50’s. And Bob’s “heroes” are taking up residence in this impressive partially restored Victorian chapel throughout the festival.
Heroes at Hansom Hall will be home to ground breaking and riotous nights of story-telling, where utter chaos will reign. Of course, a venue needs beer, and Bob has got “like-minded” Scottish brewery, Brewdog, onboard. “They make a stand against commercially-produced lager – they too won’t accept the status quo,” he says. “We feel a real affinity with our sponsor. It’s a fun relationship…”
Of course, getting a licence and everything else that goes with popping up a venue, is a rigmarole and a risk. But the comedy festival has supported Bob and his heroes all the way.
“I’m really excited,” he says. “I’ve watched the festival grow over the years, which has a lot to do with the people behind it, such as Geoff Rowe, and then Dave coming in and giving it strength. Now, we’ve joined in and got this amazing venue and a fantastic line-up of acts with a concept that enables the performers to keep all the money from their ticket sales.”
The divinely diverse line-up includes comedy legend Phil Kay (Qi, Russell Howard’s Good News and his own Channel 4 series in the 90’s), Tim Fitzhigham, Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer, Vive Le Cabaret, Devvo the internet phenomenon, Mr Methane, Tom Binns creations Ian D Montfort and Ivan Brackenbury, The Weirdos Pantomime, mind reader Doug Segal, Brian Gittins from the sitcom Derek, 80 year old Lynn Ruth Miller and – yikes – Jimmy Savile: The Punch and Judy Show.
Bob’s most looking forward to his Cast of Idiots. It’s stories, mayhem and gossip from the festival – a kind of hangout for the comedians. “It’s not so much a gig, but more a happening,” he says. “Leicester is a fantastic platform for this sort of rich and varied cabaret comedy.
“The audiences are understanding and appreciative and the acts are given creative freedom. I didn’t have much trouble persuading people to play here.”
One thing quite unique about Heroes at Hansom Hall is the ticket pricing. Some shows are free, others you pay what you want, while a few are fixed-price tickets.
“People might find a gem they hadn’t expected to, that way,” says Bob.
“I wanted to find creative freedom for myself and the acts, and now, as host, behind the bar, on the door, and jumping in to perform as well, I am on at the Leicester Comedy Festival, 24-7”
This weekend at Heroes @ Hansom Hall, part of Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival, we had a good sized audience in waiting to see The Bob Blackman Appreciation Society. However all was not well as sadly there was no sign of Johnny Sorrow and his crew who make up this wonderful left field act. Unbeknown to me they had emailed me a few days before to inform me why they wouldn’t be able to make their show, also unbeknown to me I had replied with my sympathies for their unfortunate reasons. This certainly highlights the danger of me responding to my emails late at night after a long session ‘testing’ the Brewdog Beers for our bar…
The upshot of my incompetence was that moments before their allotted stage time I have an odd phone call explaining to me what I should have already known. I turned to Adam Larter of Weirdos fame and explain the situation. I also suggests that we have two options:
“We can either tell them all that the Bob Blackman Appreciation Society has had to cancel and offer to entertain them ourselves OR we can simply go on stage and show them…”
Of course Adam, a fellow lover of a good happening chose the latter course of action which we the threw ourselves into with no further planning required.
I picked up the back stage mic and began a prolonged introduction from behind the wings, which involved asking the room to select one person to count down from 37. When he was finally selected and started I had to repeatedly pause him in order to admonish anyone else who joined in or interupted. Finally as the lone voice reached zero I tooted out:
“You may have seen him before, but never quite like this please welcome the one the only, the very real and original Bob Blackman…”
I bounded out to the closest thing Luke the sound tech could find to “Mule Train”, I think it was Chuck Berry, while repeatedly banging myself over the head with a tin sign for Brewdog Beers. I kept this up for the entirity of the song while Adam occasionally wandered back and forth behind me in nothing but a pair of orange tights.
When the song ended I asked the audience by way of pig squeal to indicate who had seen The Bob Blackman Appreciation Society before. There were just a couple of squeals and so we pushed on. I introduced them to Adam as little Jonny Blackman and I left the stage. He sat down and slowly silently and to very little reaction ate a bag of skittles that he pulled out of his tights. After maybe 5 minutes of this I came back on stage and asked them to give “little Jonny Blackman” a big round of applause, which oddly they did. After some more nonsense involving random sound effects from Luke the Tech, including a siren that earned the label of silence and requesting sound effect G16 which turned out to be silence, Adam came back onto the stage to confront the confusion:
“I think that maybe you now all know that The Bob Blackman Appreciation Society are unfortunately not able to be here tonight…”
It seems no one believes that a comedian on stage is telling the truth and the confusion continued. I fuelled the confusion further with the statement:
“Which is of course exactly what an act like The Bob Blackman Appreciation Society would say”
“Thank you Bob…” followed Adam “We are Not The Bob Blackman Appreciation Society and we are not here tonight…”
And we continued… for the next hour.
We were supported by more random sound effects from Luke, There was dancing, chair balancing. impersonations of the audience, complete silence and a whole host of other nonsense. I ended up dressed as a sailor while Adam monologued about the nature of comedy as a faux Jason Manford. We labelled one man the Reviewer and chastised him for his inability to understand comedy and recognise that he wasn’t even reviewing the right act.
After about half an hour we had a section we labelled “the low point of the gig”, only to be renamed “the not as low as the following lower point point” this was when we had the first of our 6 walk outs, strangely none of the people who had seen the original were among those 6 although one who stayed clearly wanted to leave but was prevented in doing so by his girlfriend who later told us it was the oddest thing she had ever seen.
Joe Davies, Ben Target and Matt Highton joined in towards the end dressed as a builder a cowboy and a sex god and we did a karaoke singalong of YMCA before we finally announced
“Thank you for coming to the first annual Not The Bob Blackman Appreciation Society meeting…”
I hope that you will be at the next “Not The” gig, possibly next weekend at Heroes @ Hansom Hall.
I just received a press release that was titled “2013 – The Year of the Comedienne?” and opened with the paragraph “Is this is the year of the comedienne? As class female acts continue to rise to the top of the stand-up circuit, women are getting more and more presence in a somewhat male-dominated comedy arena with female comediennes really seeming to find their footing in 2013…”
Ordinarily such a ridiculous attention grabbing tactic to promote a product would wash over me, however I feel it should be highlighted that they are using this shamefully tabloid title to promote something that is in fact very good… it goes on:
We are looking after the DVD release of The Alternative Comedy Experience Season One, hitting the shelves on 18 November.
The press love to write about male v female comedians, which is obviously the motivation behind this PR, however surely all the comedians involved in this production are those that don’t see women as a separate species? It is also a shame when this somewhat irrelevant topic takes over from highlighting other developments:
Of course it is interesting that two women won major awards at Edinburgh Fringe, I promoted one of them (Adrienne Truscott in our Heroes Venues whoes show was quite accurately described by the Scotsman as “The most powerful hour of comedy on the Fringe” – it sold out two shows in London recently through word of mouth and will do a full run at Soho Theatre next year MORE INFO / GET TICKETS HERE)
However it was surely much more significant that all three of the main Edinburgh award winners performed in independent venues – It is the first year ever that the so called big four venues with their artist crippling pay-to-play model have not had a look in. In my book that makes 2013 the year of Independent Comedian (and comedienne if you really must make a distinction) and is representative of many extremely interesting developments in the world of comedy. Developments that Stewart Lee has been very much at the centre of and has much more relevance to the DVD Comedy Central are promoting.
Maybe I am misguided in this well meaning support for my sisters? But I feel sure that if you ask most women they will tell you they would like to be seen as a funny comedian who just happens to be a woman? However the sort of well meaning generalisation employed here unintentionally adds fuel to the quite frankly redundant “are women funny debate…” it reinforces the erroneous marginalization of women as a sub-genre of comedy and undermines women as being able to just be funny (or not).
I have sent this as a reply to PR man Pete Connell and I am now looking forward to a follow up press release on “Independent Comedy” as well as receiving my review copy of this DVD…
Oh dear I seem to have attracted a spot of bother… Again!
And I’ve been sent a letter telling me to stop.
FULL LETTER HERE
(or carry on down to read the excerpts)
Of course by calling my book “Calpol is Evil!” I didn’t really expect to get an endorsement from Johnson & Johnson, however I also didn’t expect that I would be on their radar.
Now that I am on it for whatever reason I am also more than a little surprised about how nice they are being. Oh if Mr & Mrs Johnson are reading this and feel that by posting the letter I have further infringed your copyright then please understand it is only reproduced out of respect for your Iron Fist wrapped in a beautiful velvet glove…
Instead of ignoring the letter, or even goading with a “Send me your worst” response, which might be my usual approach, I have changed the name of the book to “The Happy Drunk” to make them happy. It seems to have worked and The Kickstarter project is still up and running – Which means you lucky people can still pre-order it!
SEE THE FULL LETTER HERE
(or carry on for excerpts)
They start with a nice little legal intro:
“We represent Johnson & Johnson (UK) Limited, the owner of the Calpol and associated trademarks which have been used extensively and for many years in connection with a family of products to help you take care of your children as they grow up.”
And then they get into what their beef is:
“It has recently come to our attention that the title of your proposed book project on the Kickstarter crowd funding website “Calpol is Evil…” infringes our clients trademark.”
Then after some misdirection (which you should check out the full letter to see) they aim to relate and butter up with:
“As an author and comedian I am sure that you can understand our position and the need to contact you, you may even have run into similar problems with your own intellectual property in the past.”
“We also really enjoyed watching your videos online, not least your impressive reinterpretation of Slayer’s Raining Blood…”
Crikey, where is this going?
“which I am sure you received all the necessary permissions to make.”
Ah! knackers! I see what you are doing now, of course I didn’t get permissions for that and lots of other things… I think they are saying: “Leave our client alone or the puppy gets it!”
It then ends with the legal words you would expect a legal letter to contain.
“In order to resolve this matter, we simply request that you govern yourself accordingly and change the title and design of your book cover to remove all reference to our client’s registered trademark before it is published. By taking these steps, you will help us to maintain the integrity of the Calpol brand…”
Plus some more heavy handed jargon, including a very plausible threat to get the Kickstarter taken down. (see the full letter for this)…
Then it is all beautifully wrapped wrapped in a final velvet touch:
“We wish you continued success with your writing and your comedy…”
I wish all my legal experiences were this wonderful!
So please go take a look at the project and bung in a few £ for the beautiful rewards on offer
I did a gig in north London tonight called Bear Funny… Last time I did this gig they gave me unlimited beer. They made me sign a waiver first, which said I would replace anything I broke. This time they had got in a beer called BOB SLAYAH there really is a beer called BOB SLAYAH how amazing BOB SLAYAH, BOB SLAYAH, BOB SLAYAH its really lovely and super strong and it went down a treat
As I went on stage I noticed a really strong and acrid smell to the side of the stage. I soon realised that it was coming from a man. It was easy to tell which man as a/ no one else was sitting next to him and b/ the smartest item of clothing he possessed were his socks, but he was wearing these on his hands. c/ he had combed his beard over to sit on top of his head. I didn’t want to be mean about his smell and well worn look and so I just had a good chat with him. And he was very keen to chat back.
It was quickly apparent to all that he was a tramp who had snuck into the pub. A tramp that was very keen to be involved. His chat seemed to pretty much involve listing places in the world that he had been to and then attempting a story about that place that mostly petered off into strange noises. This gave me the opportunity to finish his stories and make up what ever facts I liked. He mostly sat their smiling with his thumbs up confirming that he really had been man who’s job it was to license brothels in Amsterdam. We had quite a banter and the crowd seemed to really like the old fella.
When I put the first act on stage I could see the promoter, the landlord and the doorman in a huddle beckoning me to the back of the room. They told me that there was a problem. It turned out that Ron the tramp had been barred from the venue several times – and they were concerned that it would be hard to eject him if I continued to get people to like him. They had already decided to leave this action until the break and they asked me not to engage with him anymore so that they can slide him out unnoticed when the time came.
It didn’t really work like that. When I got back on stage we soon got discussing Ron’s banned status. “Oh yes I have been banned” he told us with a twinkle in his eye. By the time the break came Ron was on stage telling terrible jokes as people cheered him on. The landlord made me responsible for him and Ron got to stay until closing time.
I loved this evening!
My own beer, my own tramp – life cannot get any better can it?
A couple of years ago when I was doing “wild and crazy” Bob Slayer shows at Edinburgh Fringe I spotted a fresh young face smiling up at me from the audience… I found out that her name was Amanda and in an exchange which was perhaps designed to usher her out so that the adults could continue with their fun I said:
“You should be shocked this…” but she didn’t seem to agree
“You wont shock me” she replied defiantly
Oh I see, she had just issued me with a challenge, a challenge that it would have been churlish to refuse.
What followed was an off the cuff, un-prepared response designed to shock this supposedly un-shockable girl.
The first notion I had was to ask her her age
“17” came the reply
“Really? Well I am old enough to be your dad…”
She nodded, still smiling
“Would you like me to be your dad?”
“OK, If you like.” she replied
I was already committed
“Does your real dad abuse you?”
Did I just say that?
“…Because that is the kind of dad I would like to be”
Oh dear it seems that I did.
People in the room immediately showed their disapproval.
I apologised to them and told them that their reaction was the right one. I also pointing out the interesting thing was that they were in the minority in this crowd, their sharp intakes of breath were overshadowed by considerable laughter around the room.
I pointed at the happy ones and told them:
“You are bad people”
And then, feeling a very bad person myself, I turned back to Amanda to make another apology.
However I quickly realised my expected need for an apology was based on arrogance, of course she would be shocked by my quick and clever line… apparently not, it was evident by the big grin on Amanda’s face that she really meant her opening statement and was not bothered.
This was going to be a tougher challenge than I thought.
I was going to have to up my game and get freaky.
My next gambit opened with:
“Now Amanda, I am approaching 40 and I have not had my prostate checked…
…Do you think you would be kind enough to stick your finger up my bum?”
I thought this was a simple masterstroke and that she would surely back down.
However it seemed she was not quite ready to concede:
“No problem” she replied
And then with a cannily added condition “So long as you have a rubber glove for me…”
This was a smart move that was keeping her in the game but was also putting a barrier between her and the potentially shocking act that I am suggesting.
Or so she thought…
I had a bag of props on stage for these gigs, some of which I used regularly and then others amounted to a collection of tat that I thought might come in handy for random occasions such as these. It just so happened that not only did I have a rubber glove in there I even had the choice of three colours. I put my hand into my bag and straight away pulled out a blue washing up glove. It was met by much applause and merriment from the crowd and I held it out to her.
Surely she would back down now and reject it?
But no! She took the glove without hesitation…
So now we were at a situation where it looked like she really might not back down at all… and of course there is no way I could back down (Some people have told me that I really could have backed down, but i don’t really understand that concept).
Clutching at straws I had the idea that maybe the audience could assist me here, if they didn’t want this to happen then I would be off the hook.
“Do you want this to happen?” was my simple question to the room
“Fuck Yes!” was their simple answer…
Or at least the only answer I heard, I am sure there were those that didn’t want it to happen but by now they were hiding behind their hands.
I turned to Amanda, hoping that having had a bit of time to process what the next step was going to be she might have discarded the glove and the bet would be off. This is not what happened.
As I turned around I saw that not only was she wearing the glove…
She was spitting on the finger!
There was no other option but to drop my trousers and let the deed happen.
Again it has been pointed out that I did in fact have a number of other options, one of which was simply telling some jokes, but sadly none of these alternatives made much sense to me and so it was that my naught was double knuckled live on stage.
At the start of this story it seemed that poor young Amanda was the victim, but now it is not so clear is it?
(It should be pointed pout that Amanda was very gentle. She didn’t jab at my anus like she was an angry neighbor ringing my door bell so that she could complain about the noise, instead she simply placed her gloved forefinger over my button and slowly went round and round the garden, like a teddy bear, one step, two step, tickle you under there… my third eye responded to her caress by slowly opening up like a crocus in spring enabling her to slide her digit inside)
I am sad to say that I have never experience such a huge reaction on stage as I did during these moments of unexpected rectal examination.
“I wish I had proper jokes…” I told the audience who were shrieking, laughing and clapping.
Of course some still had their hands in front of their faces but not one of them could resist parting their fingers for a peek at what was happening…
The beautiful thing is that Amanda was not done yet, she went to pull her finger out and then pushed it back in again, which caused another wave of excitement from the audience.
Then she withdrew her finger altogether… as I had pointed out the reaction up until that point had been large but now people eclipsed even that and seriously lost their shit.
Not only did Amanda possess perfect comic timing, but when she removed her finger she had the comedic fortitude to leave the glove inside.
And to cap it all, as a final flourish, she did ‘Jazz hands’ and put on a huge happy smile.
Amanda was declared unshockable and it was the start of a beautiful friendship which continues to this day and for those who are wondering she gave me the all clear, although I am not sure if she is actually medically trained?
(Incidentally in this gig were the people from a production company I am now making a documentary with… and their name is rather appropriately: Brown Eyed Boy)