Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Other Side of Washington

I'm so sorry. Once the drink hit The Chipster's system, it pulled a plug and he slept a good five hours.

It was probably for the best. Now my fingers are hitting all the right keys and I feel up to telling you what happens when a naive Welshman accepts an offer to perform in a place he doesn’t know. I should never have taken that job on the other side of Washington and I'm disappointed with myself for failing to heed the first rule of stripping: you should always get to know the person who has asked you to get naked.

As you might recall, I’d had some offers to do some freelance work here in the US after my spectacular success with the Neil Kinnock stripping routine the other day at the conference. Well, tonight I went to my first booking and it taught me a very important lesson in humility. I probably won’t leave my hotel room again until it’s time for tomorrow’s flight and I intend to stay here listening to my MP3 of Tom Jones singing about the green, green grass of home.

The offer of work came from a man I think it only wise to call ‘Bill’. He’d come up to me after my routine and offered me $5000 for a single performance. I won’t go into too many details but he appeared to be the typical good-hearted American. Pleasant. Dignified. Wholesome. He even claimed to have Welsh relatives. He was also tall, heavy, barrel chested, and fighting two losing battles with a heavy paunch of a stomach and what I guessed was a dwindling growth of hair on his head. He’d remedied the latter by shaving himself bald and the former by wearing loose fitting clothes. If you need to picture him more clearly, think of him as I thought began to think of him: as a bald Dom Deluise. Anyway, Bill bought me a drink after the show and explained how much money there is in ‘the Washington circuit’. And since I got on well with the guy, it was only natural that I would agree to do at least one of the gigs he’d set up for me.

The address he gave me was on the other side of the city. I never thought much about it at the time, but I did think that the address was unusual. Again, I have to be careful. I don’t want to spread rumours about people but the place didn’t sound like the typical club for exotic dancing. They usually have some exotic if slightly sleezy name attached but this was only an address.

At seven o’clock last night, I took a taxi from my hotel here in the centre of Washington DC and fifteen minutes later it arrived at the address on the city’s suburbs. It was only when I got there that I discovered the reason why the club lacked a name. It wasn’t a club at all. It was a private residential address.

I don’t want you to misunderstand me, though. I’m not saying it was a normal house. This was a private estate, sealed off behind iron gates. The taxi dropped me off just as a long black limo turned up and the white iron gates swung back. The music and laughter of a party drifted down to the road so I slipped inside, nearly catching my bag of clothes and props on the gates as they closed.

The house was what we’d call a mansion back home in the UK. Here it was one of the smaller places, in a few acres of lawns, tennis courts, swimming pools. I could see that Bill had done well for himself and thought many happy thoughts as I walked up to the house.

I was wondering what Gabby would say about my earning $5000 in a single night. I was so full of these thoughts, I didn’t hesitate when I reached the open front door. I just walked right in and made myself at home among the revellers.

After ten minutes of searching, I finally found Bill, who welcomed me with typical American sincerity. He threw his hands around me and dragged me to the bar where he poured me a drink of something brown and expensive.

‘So glad you could make it, Chipster!’ he cried. ‘We don’t often get somebody from the old country come to entertain us. Come on through and meet my friends. I’ve been telling them all about you and that great routine you did the other night.’

You’ll probably see why I was feeling so pleased with myself. This was just fantastic luck to make such a friend in my first visit Stateside, and it was only natural that I played the grateful guest. I smiled and fawned as I was introduced to more people than I can ever hope to remember. It probably amounted to about forty people, all of obvious wealth and all around Bill’s age, which put them in their early fifties. It all felt rather odd, given that I was there to perform an exotic dance,. but for $5000 I wasn’t looking to complain. I’ve said before what an open and tolerant society American appears to be.

‘So, when do you want me to perform?’ I asked Bill after about an hour of sitting chatting with his guests. I was still feeling slightly out of place among so much wealth. I still carried my bag of costumes and props and I wasn’t dressed for a party, stuck in my faded jeans and a Bangor tourist board t-shirt.

‘Oh, we want you to dance for us as ten o’clock on the dot,’ said Bill. Which relaxed me. It probably relaxed me too much. I knocked back my drink and then knocked back a few more as I spent another hour getting to know some of Washington’s elite.

When ten o’clock finally came round I was well oiled – in the alcoholic sense – and feeling extremely limber. I probably wasn’t in a fit state to dance but I had a job to do and there was still a small matter of $5000. Bill told me to go and get ready upstairs and promised to ring a bell when they wanted me. I was to come down the stairs and perform on the lower steps, which was good enough to me. For that much cash, I’d dance anywhere and in front of anyone. Excited by the prospect, I raced up the stairs and quickly changed into my Neil Kinnock gear. Then I waited for the bell to ring.

It felt like I waited ages before a strange electronic chime came echoing from out of the ceiling. Now, as you know, The Chipster rarely needs a cue to perform. It was showtime!

I came out of the bedroom and found the house in darkness. I got to the top of the staircase and looked down to where a circle of light illuminated the bottom steps. This was it. As I entered the light, it was at once unreal and yet so very familiar. Slightly drunk, I started my act. I missed a few of my moves, avoided the difficult turns, and without my prop lectern, I didn’t give them my ‘we’re alright’ opening. But still, I danced as well as I’ve ever danced when slightly drunk at a party.

And all was going well until the exact moment I pulled off my thong. I expected the usual roar of appreciation or a round of applause. Only, at that precise moment, just as I had reached the climax of my act, all of the lights suddenly came on!

I mean, every light.

The room was flooded with light.

Bright, bright light that left no place for neither shade nor shadow. But what was odder than anything was Bill. He came bouncing towards me, a huge grin on his face and the whole of huge corpulent body naked. Did I mention he was bouncing? Well he was bouncing. And not only was Bill bouncing along as naked as American’s faith of democracy, but every one of his guests was stark naked too. I was standing naked in front of forty naked Americans. You can imagine my horror. They don’t prepare you for moments like this in the Bangor boy scouts.

Luckily, they do prepare you for moments like this when you join the Lib Dems. I attribute my party membership with the reason why I kept some wits about me. I held onto my thong like my life depended on it, even as I recoiled at the sight of so much white flesh coming towards me. That’s when Bill grabbed me. I tried to move back up the stairs but his grip on my arm was too strong and grew stronger.

‘What’s the rush, Chippy, old pal!’ he said. I could feel him brush against my leg. I didn’t dare look down.

‘I’m not that kind of stripper!’ I protested.

He laughed. A broad kind hearted American laugh. Nothing on earth has every struck so much fear into me.

‘And what kind would that be, Chippy?’ he asked. ‘What kind of stripper are you?’

My mouth was thick with fear.

‘I have a Romanian girlfriend,’ I explained.

‘That’s good, Chippy,’ says he. ‘I’ve got somebody here with some Romanian blood inside them. Perhaps you’d like to meet him?’

The smell of alcohol and sweat was suddenly too much. My head began to spin as Bill guided me towards a female corner of the room that looked to have suffered particularly badly sagging in the five centuries they must have amassed together. ‘Don’t tell me that you men of Wales don’t know how to party!’ cried Bill and pushed me into the arms of his grateful guests.

The smell of rich perfume and aging desire brought me around. I dragged myself from the cloying arms, scrambling for a clear space. Hands had reached to but had slipped from the slight oil I always use before I perform. A women beside me screamed with delight, which only helped to work me free of my confusion. My situation was this: a door on the other side of the room stood open, but to get to it I would have to work my way through a throng of naked bodies including that of my host who was watching me with his arms spread as though ready for my dash for freedom. I looked the other way to where a window was open and looked out onto the garden. It was only open a foot or so but I could only see the green of the grass beyond it and in the distance, the gates to the estate. I didn’t waste a moment. I ran for the window.

I jumped head first through the narrow gap and I barely made it. A terrible pain bit into my loins as I caught myself on the sill. More pain came from my rear where the window catch scraped skin off my buttocks. Perhaps it was the drink, perhaps it was the fear, but I smiled at the pain. I was happy to feel alive, to feel the fresh air on my skin, and to hold my thong in my hand.

At this point, you must be wondering how it is that I always seem to find myself fleeing naked through the streets at night. Believe me, I’m beginning to wonder that too. Once I’d jumped through that window, I ran for the gates and without a thought about my modesty climbed over them. Only then did I stop and pull on my thong, and wearing only that, I carried on and ran for the highway.

Two hours later, dusty, scratched, mocked by passing drivers and having narrowly escaped some 'Texas fun' with some guy who drove a yellow pickup truck, I was worn out by running when I finally managed to flag down a police car and tell them my story. I had to make a complaint at the police station, though they’ve told me that there’s little chance of a prosecution since I’d gone to the house voluntarily. I think they didn’t want to get involved and looks were exchanged when I gave them Bill’s description. It wouldn't surprise me if he was something bif in the city and, in fact, the cops seemed only too happy to get rid of me. They gave me hot coffee and a pair of those white paper overalls they give suspects. And then they even drove me back to the hotel.

So I’m now back in my room and I’ll be glad to catch the plane back tomorrow. My Neil Kinnock costume is no more, lost out there in Washington DC’s suburbs. All I can say to you is if you live in Washington DC, or visit this city, and you do see a big fat bald man wearing a ginger wig with extensive bald patch, then don’t approach him. And for goodness sake, don’t accept an invitation to any of his parties.

It’s been a traumatic experience but I’ve just found an old copy of Jules Verne’s ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ in the hotel foyer. I intend to read it until it’s time to come home. I don’t know what got me through this terrible episode but I’ll be glad to see Wales again. I’ve really missed Gabby, despite her habit of hoarding root vegetables. But I do think I’ve performed well and that I’ve been a credit to the country.

And in a strange way, though I think I’ve done you all proud, I think that Neil Kinnock would be proudest of all.

America really did love to see him get naked.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Update

I’m sorry I’ve not posted for a few hours. Last night was something else and I’ve only just got back into the hotel from the police station where I’ve been all night.

My hands are still shaking so I'm finding it difficult to type. If you could just give me a few minutes… I’ll be back when I’ve steadied my nerves with a nip of something from the minibar.

Monday, February 26, 2007

An Oscar Winning Performance

Washington DC, 20:44PM: So I’m sitting alone in my hotel room, watching the Oscars as they take place on the other side of this great continent. Elaine Degeneres has just come on dressed in a purple crushed velvet suit with trim. It's a mistake. She looks a little like Danny Kaye but a lot like Peter Kay. Months of preparation and she ends up looking like an extra from The Prisoner. But it’s an apt choice. Patrick McGoohan must have written some of these jokes. They’d probably be funny if I could remember the 60s.

And isn’t that Jack Nicholson sitting in the audience? Is he really completely bald? Can homesickness make a man delirious? Or is it these thimble-sized bottles from the mini bar?

It’s still a mundane opening. This year there are more nominations than ever from Mexico but not one joke about America outsourcing work. Now Al Gore’s in the audience. Huge roar of applause. I suspect he’s got a penguin in his pocket. And now Will Ferrell and Jack Black sing about comedians who never win at the Oscars. I should sing about strippers who get no readers. And now we’ve got two children presenting awards. Christ, this is too depressing for an entertainer to take. And on tonight of all nights it’s such an anti-climax.

Four hours ago, I was naked in front of thousands. America love Neil Kinnock. They really really do. Or did. Now I’m eating cheesy snacks and drinking from the mini-bar. Isn't that a metaphor for life? Or is it just a metaphor for my life? And I hate cheesy snacks.

As you can see from the shot of my act taken by one of my new friends in the crowd, America has been introduced to The Chipster. The whole thing kicked off in a darkened auditorium in front of at least 10,000 fans of exotic dancing. A single light picked me out in the darkness and the I began. ‘We’re alright!’ I cried. The audience cheered. ‘We’re alright!’ They cheered again only louder. I banged my fists on the podium. ‘Weeeeee’rrrrrrrreeee alllllllright!’ I cried. The auditorium almost came down with the sound of screaming. What followed was the best ten minutes of my professional career. To the theme of ‘Things Can Only Get Better’, which I admit is mixing up my Labour Party history, a proceeded to strip off.

After the show, I must have had a dozen offers of work on this side of the Atlantic. The money’s better than I get in Bangor and I’m thinking of taking the next couple of days to take up from of the offers I can manage in the Washington area.

Okay, Alan Arkin won best supporting actor. Things aren’t so bad. Now here comes Al Gore. I’m going back to the mini-bar. I don’t think there’s enough drink in there to make this any less painful.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Science Magic

I’ve seen the future and it’s all about the science.

Technology is changing the world of exotic dancing. What with holographic projection, heat sensitive materials, environmentally friendly body oils, and high quality props… The list is endless when it comes to the advances that have been made by this very open society. Forget your right wing fundamentalist Christians. I’ve only met people after my own heart. People who live to get naked.

I spent yesterday looking around the conference centre, touring all the exhibits and discovering the latest products to help those of us in ‘body entertainment’ as I’ve discovered my profession is now called. I hope to take some of it back to Bangor with me. America is full of such wonders. Not the least of which goes by the name TTT, or thermal thong technology. This is underwear that glows as it becomes warm. Another of the products that caught my eye are clothes that react to the temperature of the wearer’s body and eventually become transparent. What’s so great about them is that it reduces the amount of work we have to do. Once we get warm enough, our clothes disappear. I’ve already decided that I’d like to be the first person to combine the two. Can you imagine that for an act?

As it is, today I’m limited to my ginger wig and pinstriped suit. Later today I’ll be performing my Kinnock routine in the main theatre. I have to get to get ready but I can assure you that The Chipster is very nervous.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Touchdown, The Chipster!

So I’ve landed here in the United States of America. Land of the free, home of the brave, and the range where deer and the antelope play. I’m holed up in my hotel room across the road from the conference centre. I'm writing this on the fly, so I can't promise any great insights or clever word play. What can I say is that American is everything I thought it would be and then a bit more. There are strippers as far as the eye can see. Tall strippers, little midget strippers, fat strippers, thin strippers, equal opportunity strippers. I’ve even met some strippers for the blind, though for some reason they seem very wary of physical contact. They wouldn’t shake my hand unless I paid them five dollars, which I thought was a little too steep for an old fashioned handshake.

I really feel quite small and insignificant compared with some of these American strippers. Being big in Bangor counts for very little when you're surrounded by people who have stripped for Presidents. I was in the lift – sorry, elevator – with a guy whose whole act is based around putting his clothes on. Oddest thing I’ve ever heard. He calls himself the anti-stripper and begins his act stark naked and proceeds to get dressed in whatever outlandish costume his audience chooses. He told me that this usually ends with him dressed in either a tutu or as Ted Kennedy. I don’t know what this says about his audience but it’s making me wonder how my Neil Kinnock routine will go down.

There’ll be more chance to report after I’ve had a good sleep. The flight over was a tedious eight hours until we landed. Then I had trouble getting into the country. I should never have had ‘professional thongman’ written into my passport. The customs officials debated long and hard if this made me a ‘desirable’. I told them that I’m hugely desirable back in Bangor, not least to a certain Romanian who I left crying at the airport and promising me that she won’t be hoarding any more vegetables while I’m away. For some reason, this seemed to decide the matter for them. Or at least, it persuaded them to subject me to a full body cavity search. I'll be honest and admit that I never knew I had so many cavities. It was the sort of interesting thing to learn about yourself that actually makes it well worth the inconvenience. I’ll spare you the unsightly details but I can assure you they found nothing of interest though the fellow who performed the search did say that he didn’t need gel on account of my body having the most oil he’s ever seen in a man.

Now I really must change out of my travel thong and get some sleep.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bags

Life has a way of robbing The Chipster of every last penny. I’m about to nip out to buy myself some new luggage for the trip when I used to have a perfectly fine set of suitcases on top of my cupboard.

I’ll be honest with you and admit that I’m beginning to have some reservations about this whole trip. I never expected it to cost so much and another hundred spent on luggage was the last thing I needed. Unfortunately, my old suitcases are in a terrible state. I discovered that my little Romanian barfly has been using them to hoard vegetables ready for the winter. As they say, you can take the girl out of Romania but you can’t take Romania out of the girl.

I’ll be leaving early tomorrow, so hope to be updating you sometime over the weekend. I’ve made sure my hotel has wireless internet access so I’ll be able to give you some first hand account of my time at the convention. I don’t know if I mentioned this but I managed to perfect a Neil Kinnock routine and it’s pretty impressive. I showed it to a few people last night and they swore that Neil Kinnock was stripping on stage for them. I think if I can convince a few real Welsh ladies, it will be even easier to convince the convention judges. Wish me luck!

Right. Gabby’s standing by the door chewing on a raw radish. The poor thing just won’t let food go to waste.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Just Popping Out

I'm just back from the post office. It’s been a bit of a slow day today but I thought I’d show you the letter I’ve just despatched with a parcel. If it tells you anything it should tell you not to mess with The Chipster.

Psmerch, Psmerch,and Tiddle
Manufacturers of Erotic Lingerie
19-23 XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX
Margate
United Kingdom

Mr. Crispen Dale
11 XXXXX XXXXXX
BANGOR
WALES

Telephone: XXXXX XXXXXXX

Email: bigchipdale@yahoo.co.uk

Dear Mr. Psmerch,

Enclosed are twelve male thongs (extra large) I’m returning due to an evident manufacturing or design fault. Excuse me for being so crude about this but I believe that most men have two testicles. Your thongs are designed for men with only one. And contrary to all rumours, I am not an Austrian-born painter and decorator with a love of a certain young fraulein called Eva.

I bought these items in a discount erotica store here in Bangor and was intending to wear them during a high profile stripping convention that I’ll be attending in America next week. Your products would have been seen by thousands and would have become the talk of the stripping world. Instead, they will be stuck in a post box somewhere in Wales.

As a professional dancer who wears thongs every day both professionally and at leisure, I think I know a thing or two about their design. By providing room for only half of my manly items, you have exposed me to very great embarrassment on those occasions when I slipped out. I would like you to think about the following anecdote when you come to consider the amount of compensation you owe me.

Friday morning, I was vacuuming my flat when the doorbell rang. You should know that it’s my habit of doing the house work in only my thong, finding that it’s more comfortable that way, and easier to shower after I’ve finished doing all the dirty work. At the door, three members of the local Christian mission were collecting donations to send the local deaf children on holiday this summer. Of course, I always like to do my part and I went to get my wallet. When I returned, the Christians had gone without waiting for the ten pounds I’d promised them. Only when I looked down and realised that your garment had failed me yet again did I understand their reticence in taking my money. So, Mr. Psmerch, not only did you rob the deaf children of a holiday this year, but you exposed me to very great humiliation in the eyes of God and have probably consigned me to damnation. What price do you put on spending an eternity writhing in the seething cauldron of hell’s furnace?

I await your reply but please do not bother to send me any of your poor quality underwear. I won’t tell you what the very thought does to my lower regions.

I remain you humble servant,

Mr. Crispen ‘Chip’ Dale

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Blame It On The Bald Girl

It all went terribly wrong last night.

It began when Gabby decided to have a haircut. Bless her little Romanian heart but she doesn’t quite understand the music industry. As soon as she saw that Britney Spears had cut off all her hair, she wanted the same. It took her fifteen minutes in the bathroom and she came out looking not unlike a youthful David Carradine but with the bust of the older David Carradine. I expected her to hit Bangor and look for trouble in some seedy bar where she might profess to hate violence before kicking every shade of juice out of the local Hells Angels. She didn’t. She just went to the kitchen and made herself a salad before settling herself down in front of last week's Dragon’s Den on the Sky+ box.

From that moment on, my night descended into the stuff of farce.

I had a show to do and I got to the club at nine, only to find the stage door locked. I went around the front but I was immediately recognised by a drunken crowd of female rugby players who forcibly stripped me naked. It was a terrible ordeal and I was lucky to get away wearing my skin. I fled into Bangor town centre as naked as the day I was born and took refuge in 'Crag's', a nightclub owned by a friend of mine. Unfortunately, Monday night is ‘male only’ night and when I mean ‘male only’…Well, the sudden appearance of the naked Chipster was treated as a cause for great celebration and I had to flee again, this time chased by men drinking pink cocktails and having far too much resemblance to the late Freddy Mercury than can be good for anybody.

Luckily, there are few things as fleet on foot as a naked stripper and I soon outdistanced them all. With the impromptu chorus from ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ fading into the distance, I ducked down a dark alley. That’s when I decided that there was nothing else for it but to make my way home.

You might not be aware but there’s no actual law in the country that makes it illegal to be naked. The laws are all to do with intention to commit offence, so I never once thought I’d be arrested. The police turned up five minutes later and detained me on the suspicion of lewd conduct.

It was only after they caught up with me again (there’s nothing as fleet on foot as a naked stripper except for a police car) that they explained they were only intending to take me home. Apparently, the whole of my adventure had been spotted on CCTV, uplinked to the national network of police cameras, and watched around the country to the great amusement of the nation’s constabulary. Eventually somebody had taken pity on me and ordered a car out to pick me up. No doubt the police will release a video and DVD in time for Christmas and I won't see a penny for all my troubles.

The officers gave me a lift home and I was met by Gabby crying in the lobby. She didn’t seem at all concerned that I was naked and escorted by two officers of the law. She’d seen the latest pictures of Britney and was off out to buy herself a blond wig. By that point, I was past caring. I asked the officers to take me back to the station, where I was sure to find some sanity among the drunks and addicts. They refused, leaving me no option but to run back out on the street where I danced, jiggled, gyrated, and thrust my way into a night in the cells.

I’m back home now but my Romanian is still bald and I have a £100 fine to pay.

And some of you tell me that I have an easy life.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Slip-on Shoes

Believe it or not but The Chipster’s not known for his fashion sense. To be fair, it’s not called for in my line of work. It’s a bit like asking a bus driver if he has good cufflinks. It doesn’t help him drive a bus. Well, the same’s true of me and my clothes. Some say I’m scruffy and some prefer not to t say anything at all. I draw the line at wearing tracksuits but I never go so far as to wear a suit if I can help it. I suppose that I’m conservative in my choice of clothes, like a poor college lecturer, until we reach my thong. When we get down there, thongs usually get interesting. The rest usually end up thrown on the floor somewhere.

Yet the one place where I do insist on buying quality is in my choice of shoes. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ll soon be jetting off to Washington. I’ll be on my heels most of the time when I get there so I thought it was about time I bought myself a pair of shoes. A good pair of shoes. I skimped when it came to buying my last pair. I bought them from eBay. Worst bargain I’ve ever made. For the last couple of months, my hips have been aching whenever I walk more than a mile. And when shoes start to affect a man’s capacity for hip thrusts then you know it is time to act.

I’d been putting it off too long but when I found myself hobbling through Bangor today I made a snap decision. I walked straight into Clarks, which happened to be the closest shoe shop. They may not be known for being at the forefront of fashion but fashion had led me to buy the black leather boots with the narrow steel toe caps that have been crippling me for too long. Today was the day when I gave up trying to ‘wear them in’ and I bought myself a plain pair of black slip-ons.

It was a world of difference and I’ve been jaunty ever since. I gave my boots to homeless guy I met in town. So if you ever see a bum hobbling around Bangor in a very impressive pair of boots, you’ll know I’m telling the truth.

The odd thing about this whole event, and the reason I’m telling you this, is that I’ve never bought slip-on shoes before. It’s like the world has suddenly started to revolve the other way on its axis. With boots, you come to expect them to be easy to put on and take off. But I’ve always bought shoes with laces. I don’t know. They always seemed to give me sense of reassurance. By buying slip-ons today, I overcome a psychological block I’ve been suffering all these years.

Why have I always bought shoes with laces? What do laces symbolise? There’s a part of my brain that likes the comfort of laces. But then another part of me is attracted to the freedom of the slip-on. It’s one of those struggles between reason and passion, between fate and chance.

I bought slip-ons today and the world suddenly seemed to open up to many more possibilities.

For Sale: Robin Reliant

It's time to get rid of the old girl. I mean my car, of course, not Gabby. Though if you give me an extra £50, I'm sure we might work something out. I've had some good times with this car (and with Gabby too) so I like to think it will go to a good owner. The picture is a bit deceptive. The blue is more of a cyan than you see here and thanks to a joy rider, it's currently parked at the bottom of Bangor's habour. What else can I say? It's the bargain of the year!


For Sale: Reliant Robin 1.0 Sport (petrol), manual, 1968 plate, solid roof (some rust and barnacles), aquamarine blue, tape deck, squeaky driver’s seat fully adjustable in two positions, mock leather interior, old rug, some body oil spillage on seats, RAC atlas (1982), collection of old Lib Dem stickers, includes fee brick to stick under wheels when parked on hill or slight incline, spare wheel (punctured), 290,000 miles, some water damage. £2000 new. Yours for £50 if willing to collect from bottom of Bangor’s harbour. The ladies will love it!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Surprises

Have you ever had a stripper recommend a book? I would guess that you haven’t, yet it’s a little known fact that many exotic dancers are extremely well read. We have many long hours between performances that we have to fill with something and reading is about as practical as anything and rarely require clothes.

This week I’ve just started to read Norman Mailer’s latest novel, Castle in the Forest. It examines the early life of Adolf Hitler and so far has lived up to all my expectations. I ignore all critics when a book’s by Mailer. He’s written two of my favourites and it remains a constant regret that he never wrote the definitive stripping novel.

I always thing that The Fight showed how it might be done as it always reminds me why boxing is more than the sleazy sport they show on ITV on a Saturday night. If he wanted to go the epic length – and who wouldn’t want an epic guide to the history of erotic jiggling – Harlot’s Ghost would be the way I’d like him to go. It immersed me in history in a way that I’ve never been able to find elsewhere. James Ellroy’s American Tabloid and Don Winslow’s Power of the Dog have come about the closest and I finished both of them fairly recently. Ellroy’s at his best when exploring the paranoia of the Kennedy era and Winslow has written a fine account of twenty years of drug policy in South America. Yet neither writers have that magic that I find with Mailer. He just writes in a way that puts wings under my breath and carries me along until my body fails before my mind. I don’t know any writer who can write so large and yet be perfectly readable line by line.

I tell you all this because I took it along to the club last night. I was sitting in the back reading it between sets when one of the backstage crew came in and began to laugh at me. It’s never much of a surprise that people assume that because I take my clothes off for a living that I’m somehow less cultured than they are. And it gives me no small delight when they discover that I’m different to what they expect.

Last night I also read that Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, has admitted to an affair he had with a barrister. He too, it would seem, likes to surprise people by being different to what they expect. It’s somehow gratifying to know that the most influential legal minds in the land sometimes thinks with his trousers but have you noticed how few people are willing to laugh in his face?

The discrepancy seems unfair. Especially when you consider that the Attorney General has never once recommended a book to you.

A Bitter Stripper

I stayed up late last night writing a post I didn’t have chance to finish because the spin cycle on the washing machine came to a premature end and I had to go hang out my thongs to dry. I was intending to finish writing it today but changed my mind after reading the papers.

My thongs are now dry but, unfortunately, I’ve decided to give up blogging.

I’ll probably have a change of heart tomorrow but at the moment The Chipster is feeling very bitter and down. I’m planning on selling off my collection of thongs and getting a proper job. I don’t want to be part of Bangor’s entertainment industry any more. I don’t want to be Welsh. I don’t want to be a man. And I don’t want to be single.

That’s right. I want to be a wife in the north! I want to write about my infirm mother and the things she can do with her false teeth when my father’s standing with his trousers around his ankles flogging her with his belt. I want to write about the whimsical things my dog tells me and the things my children do to beggars they meet on the streets. I want to write long meandering sentences full of apple pie metaphors and smudged similies like finger painted smiles and clowns’ eyebrows.

But, Chipster, I hear you ask, if you want to do that, then why give up blogging?

Well, there comes a point in your life when you think ‘why bother’. Why risk serious pelvic injury every night to dance for audiences who forget you the next day? What’s the point in writing to amuse your readership? What is the point in trying to do something different to the ten million other blogs out there?

Today’s Sunday Times front page had the story I’ve been expecting for weeks. It’s the announcement that ‘The Wife in the North’ has just landed a 70,000 pound publishing deal to turn her blog into a novel.

I wish her well, of course, but I dislike the pretence that this was always just an ordinary woman who decided to start a blog. It’s one of those blogging success stories we all hope will happen to us. Except they don’t happen to us. They don’t happen to ordinary bloggers. They don’t happen to male strippers from Wales. They happen to ex-education journalists from the Sunday Times.

Yet here I am, a real man in a really grim northern (well, the north of Wales) town, stripping for a living, yet nobody wants to hear about the reality of my life ‘up here’.

The Chipster is feeling bitter today and even knowing that he owns Wales’ biggest collection of posing pouches can’t make him feel happy.

UPDATE: Bryan Appleyard has written a wondefully playful piece which just about captures The Chipster’s sentiments. I guess if I’m not the only one thinking this, I’ll be back in my thongs tomorrow.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Stripping Into the Void

I mentioned yesterday that I’ve been called a nihilist but I didn’t have time to elaborate. I want to make it clear here and now that The Chipster just won’t stand for it! I didn’t even understand the meaning of the word until I looked it up in the dictionary. But now that I do, I think I should answer the charge before this rumour spreads around Bangor and all the establishments where a man can legally strip become hostile to the Chipster.

After all, such accusations have been know to ruin the career of many a male exotic dancer. I can see that you don’t believe me but that’s only because you don’t know that Charlie ‘Two Ducks’ Wheeler was never allowed to strip again after he declared himself a Kantian. German philosophy doesn’t go down well with the stripping community, and when questions of nihilism come up, as they quite often do, then we have to be quick to stamp them out.

The reason I have to be so forthright in my rebuttal is because nihilism goes to the heart of what we men do as strippers. What is nihilism if it’s not a naked man standing on the edge of a stage, staring out into the darkened auditorium, and then throwing his last shred of dignity away in the shape of a slightly oiled thong? Isn’t that just the perfect metaphor for the nihilist’s creed? We are men who casts aside all our meanings in favour of the gaping voice of non-meaning. When your John Thomas is exposed for all the world to see, you tend to realise how little meaning there is in the world.

It’s a slippery slope in more ways than the oily one. That’s why running from the stage is so important to use strippers. We could walk off stage and with the amount of oil that’s usually on the floor, it would make a great deal more sense. But we run because we have to. It’s declaring to the world that we aren’t nihilists. That we do believe in life and its meaning. We run from the stage as if to say ‘I’ve got a comfortable pair of underpants back in the changing room and I’m going to put them on.’

You see, you just can’t allow yourself the luxury of being a nihilist if you’re a stripper. Nor is there a place for moral relativism when you’ve got naked cartwheels to perform. Have you ever seen a man practising moral relativism perform naked cartwheels? No. Precisely. And do you know why? It’s because it’s an impossible combination to perform.

So, just remember all of this the next time you want to call me a nihilist.

The Chipster’s Album of the Weekend

Gabby hates this and refuses to be in the same room as me when I'm listening to it, but some things go beyond love. Nick Cave's Bad Seeds have transformed into 'Grinderman', with Cave sporting the type of moustache worn only by serial killers.

The result is a frighteningly good album, harder edged than his more recent work.


Friday, February 16, 2007

The Stripping Kinnock

I just had to post this update since I’ve got exciting news. I’m off to Washington next week to attend the World Stripper’s Convention!

The tickets have just arrived and I’ve now booked my flight. By an odd quirk of coincidence, I’ll be there at the same time as my less-tanned namesake but I doubt if we’ll meet unless he decides to come and take in the best conference in town.

However, should any of you be in Washington and want to see me get naked, I’ll be performing on the second day and I’ll be doing my Welsh miner routine. It’s probably my least favourite routine but we’ve all been asked to do a show that represents our countries. It’s really a shame since I don’t think I look that good with my face covered in coal dust and perhaps it isn’t in the best taste to pretend I have miner’s lung as I go wheezing around the stage. But it’s too late to create a new routine, though I would have quite liked to have done one themed around Neil Kinnock. In my mind, he's always been one of the biggest Welsh icons. I’d go up on stage and shouting ‘We're alright! We're alright’ before whipping out my opinion pole to test the audience.

Now I think about it, I wonder if I couldn’t cobble together a few moves. What would it take to transform myself into a stripping Kinnock? I’ll have to give it some thought.

Anyway, I’ll have more news closer to the time and of course I’ll be blogging throughout my trip.

Back To The Grind

If Valentines Day was a holiday for the country’s stripping community, yesterday was the day when we began the great clear-up operation, putting right the wrongs that were done in the name of thonglateering by the many enthusiastic amateurs over one long and greasy evening.

The body count was higher than normal this year on account of some cheap Chinese thongs that had got into the country and had caused an outbreak of crotch strangulations around Cardiff. With news like that, I felt like I was performing an essential public service taking to the stage at The Green Dragon Tavern. I felt like how I imagine doctors feel when attending an emergency. There was a job that needed doing and only the Chipster has the tools and the perfectly timed moves to get it done.

The Tavern was packed and the atmosphere heavy with expectation when I went out on stage. I was wearing my pinstripe suite as I was going to give the audience my Tory MP routine. It’s a popular routine which involves the discreet use of a large blue rosette that I cleverly deploy to cover my vitals at every stage of the act. It ends with a quick burst of Land of Hope and Glory, at which point I throw the rosette to the audience and stand with my hands on my hips giving a few victory hip thrusts before running from the stage. What can I say? It’s one of my more popular routines.

All of which makes me sad to learn from my much less flexible namesake that the Tories are thinking of dropping the rosette in favour of a bit of ribbon. A bit of ribbon! What’s a man meant to do with a bit of ribbon? Has David Cameron ever considered how much flesh a rosette covers? Not even Teddy ‘Little Finger’ Grayson could cover himself with a bit of ribbon so you can guess what problems that Big Chip Dale will have.

But this is the problem with politicians. They meddle in things that don’t concern them. I worry next that they’ll damage all my acts my banning plumbers from carrying sink plungers and policemen from wearing helmets. That rosette was one of my most popular props and I’m sorely disappointed to learn that I’ll be losing it. I’ll be writing to David Cameron to ask him to reconsider given the damage he’ll be doing to the nation’s strippers.

As for last night, the ladies went home more than happy and I came home to accusations of being a nihilist. But more on that later…

In The Morning...

I need to sleep. I was meaning to post this evening but my eyes are closing, so I'll wait to post in the morning. Stripping is sometimes more tiring than you think it might me, but I'll tell you where the problem lies: getting dressed again. Tonight I'm really quite jiggered. I blame a day spent with too many buttons. Give me a pair of pants with a zip. Zips allow me to get at least an extra hour out of my day.

Right, now to sleep. Could you turn the light off? Cheers.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentines Day

You might have noticed or you might not have been all that bothered, but it was Valentines Day today. An important night of the year for the master Thongster, you might think. And you'd be wrong. You'd be wrong because you've not given it enough thought to realise that for a stripper, Valentines Day is like Christmas Day for Santa Claus. It's the one day of the year we can be sure to have rest.

For tonight was the night when the nation went thong crazy. Across the land, cries of pain will have been heard from the two dozen men that statistics tell us will be made permanently infertile after pulling off their thongs without having read the instructions carefully. At least two men, statistically speaking, will have severed their manhood in the heat of passion. And statistics will tell us that at least one goat will also be injured in the rush to woo the nation’s ladies. A thong is a dangerous tool in the wrong hands. As, I might add, is a goat but, for the sake of one of my Lib Dem friends, I don’t want to linger on a point that's so close to his hearts. Well, at least seven inches lower down, to be precise.

I, on the other hand, have not worn a thong all day. It’s only day of the year I can be sure to have off so I’ve been relaxing in an extremely large and baggy pair of Y fronts. To me that’s exotic when every man in the land is donning his thong, greasing himself liberal, and generally doing the pudding for his dearest and nearest.

Which leaves the night open for a man like me. I remained fully clothed and rested.

Gabby understands. She’s seen me naked so many times that I think it’s beginning to bore her. Do you know that last week, I accidentally walked naked through her meeting with the immigration officer dealing with her case? It was bad enough that neither of them blinked an eyelid but they actually asked me for my national insurance number. What does that do for a man’s sense of being a sexual being.

So, Valentines Day is something of a no show in the Chipster’s household.

And I can’t say I’m not glad. The whole thing makes me sick to the pit of my stomach.

What is it about a nation of supposedly free spirits that makes it act in unison? Did Shakespeare write his sonnets to be read only on his birthday? Where has the sense of spontaneity gone? Where is the desire to sing Sinatra in the supermarket? Dance the tango in Tesco? Do men not know how to woo? And is it true that you can only get a woo with Typhoo?

We should be told.

Before before you go off and demand to be told, think of those poor men tonight, wounded by too tight thongs ripped off too quickly.

And also spare a thought for the goat. Won't somebody spare a thought for the goat.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Note On Three Types of Ball Game.

I watched some football tonight and realised what a vastly over-rated sport it is compared with rugby. Perhaps it’s because I’m a man of the valleys, but football lacks all the physical aggression that I find in rugby. Then, of course, it all links to stripping, but most things in life have some connection to the noble art of thongateering if you care to look carefully enough.

Rugby, for example. It is all about passing an object to somebody while in a highly nervous state. And that's prettu much what the strip is all about. It takes some nerves to hand your last item of clothing over to a complete stranger, and, like rugby, this tends to take place while you're being threatened by somebody weighing over twenty stone and preparing to drag you to the ground by anything that’s handy and shaped like a handle.

And then there’s another difference. Footballers have the hard tackle where rugby players prefer to have a much softer tackle. Now, this makes rugby very much like the strip. We have soft tackle too. I often have to coax the ladies off me without hurting them. Occasionally, we do have the twenty stone sheet metal worker come running at us, but most of the time, they fall on us softly, in a relaxed kind of tackle, which we have to carefully brush aside while getting on with the dance.

The final point I want to make is about all the cheating we find in football. Rugby is a true sport because it’s exactly how you see it. And so too the strip. There’s no half-way in stripping. You’re either naked or your not. You get paid or you go home empty pocketed, if indeed you’ve got any pockets because the management are so disappointed with your performance that they wouldn’t let you pick your clothes up at the backstage.

You might laugh but I’ve seen that happen on more than one occasion with these young lads who think they’re God’s gift to women! I remember one poor lad had to travel all the way home to Chester without a stitch to wear. He made it alright and he never tried stripping again. In the end, he become a weatherman. I sometimes see him on the TV and I always think of him standing naked in Bangor's highstreet waiting for his bus home. I imagine that’s when he realised he a natural ability to tell when it was cold. But that as they say is another story.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Hear Me Roar!

I have to be quick. I’ve just read that the key to blogging is brevity.

It's kind of hard concept for a man like me to understand. My whole career has been based around making the strip last as long as possible, which, were it blogging, would amount to me running on stage, quick wave to the crowd, whip off my thong, and once round the audience giving my white meat more rough treatment than you’d find in a Bernard Matthews rendering plant.

In, out, and off to rapturous applause in 37 seconds.

So, I have to be quick…

Okay, Chipster. Stay focussed.

Focussed on what I wanted to say, which is my report about Blogger TV on 18 Doughty Street.

I watched if for the first time tonight. Being new to this blogging world, I’m catching up on what we bloggers are supposed to do. I’ve been worried about my lack of readership. I still can’t get people to link to me and 75% of my audience still arrive from Mexico on the back of a search for ‘the chipendales’ (there are two ‘p’s in Chippendales, my Mexican friends). I had hoped that Blogger TV would address that type of issue for me. How to become widely read inside two weeks. That sort of thing.

Because I was still feeling a little physically drained after my bout of flu, I decided to get in bed before nine and listen to four eminent bloggers discuss the tools of the trade.

Only they weren’t discussing tips on blogging but whether we bloggers are really pub bores.

It was horrible moment. Lying there naked, derobed except for a slight covering of peppermint scented baby oil, I felt myself go limp with the realisation that… I don’t think I can bring myself to even type it.

That I'm a bore?

I’ve been accused of many things in my time: being an exhibitionist, a thrill seeker, a magician of the thong, and even the country’s sexiest Lib Dem (except for He Who Shall Not Be Named). But I’ve never been accused of boring anybody. Well, not in that sense of the word but we won’t go there.

Yet I see our problem. Political are about politics. Is there anything as pitiful? I mean look at it. Politics has a lower audience than crown green bowling. Which means that if I keep mentioning crown green bowling, my readership will probably skyrocket.

Crown green bowling. Crown green bowling. Nice shot there, Stan. Nestling up to the jack, you’ve played a blinder! Beautiful line Mrs. Green. How’s you cat? Oh, did you hear my knees crack… The trouble with young people today…National service. Hang em! Fancy another custard cream Mrs. Green?

Ah ha! Sorry. Got carried away pandering to my new audience. (No, not you, my hombres, you want 'chippendales' with two p's).

But as I was saying, political blogging is not an activity for the reader. Even the Chipster, with days left empty except keeping himself moist for his evening shows, doesn’t find the time to read that many political blogs. I don’t understand what they talk about and I’ve never heard of most of the people they quote. Then there’s the fact that I find them dull, except when there’s a bit of controversy at play. Which is why I’ve come up with my brilliant plan to liven things up around here.

I’ve decided to start a blog war.

I don’t know who I’ll rage my war against. Auditions will begin shortly but the nomination process is now open. To make this fair, I want my blog war to be a peaceable affair with a party who agrees to open hostilities with me. The terms and conditions will be mutually agreed upon. No personal insults about the quality of our blogging. I was thinking about choosing some arbitrary concept and arguing at great length about it. Topics to choose from should include:

The pros and cons of Pot Noodles.
The meaning of the word ‘quixotic’.
The literary career of Jeffrey Archer.
The cultural impact of vests.
Jimmy Saville: Creepy or Geeky?
Modern twentieth century poetry.
The pros and cons of Blog Wars.

These are just for starters, to get us thinking about how we might develop this plan. I might just change my mind about this in the morning but, at this point of time as I’m about roll over and go to sleep, it sounds a pretty sound idea to me.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Is This Blog War The New Stripping War?

I have a great feeling today and it’s all thong.

Wow! The tablets really worked last night. I’m feeling more like myself today. Funny how the sickness took me to places I’ve never been before. And I’ve had a hankering for classical music that just wasn’t right, so today I’ve put on the Rolling Stones and I’ve got back to practising my full catalogue of stripping routines. I’ve just finished a five minute warm up which ended with my sending my underwear flying fifteen feet across the room and coming to rest exactly where I’d aimed, hanging from my UK Stripper of the Year award

Not that I think that everything had happened over the weekend was lamentable. I mean, I wrote something. I discovered something. And for a while on Saturday night I thought I was a giant cactus baking in the Arizona desert. But for that we can just blame a bad reaction to the antibiotics.

And doesn't the world seems a better place this morning? I was happy to read that my namesake has issued a plea for the blogging war to come to an end. It’s about time that we come together as a community of bloggers and stop this senseless war.

It resembles to my own disagreement with Tom ‘Greasy Whiplash’ Iceland when he accused me of lying when I denied calling him a ‘nude nihilist’. I didn’t even know the meaning of the word but his accusations still came thick and fast. Then he started on Gary ‘Wierdo’ Forks, revealing the poor man had had buttock implants during his time at university. The whole thing grew terribly out of proportion (much like Wierdo's buttocks after the implants) and soon North Wales' stripping community was fighting among itself and became something of a laughing stock.

As you know, The Chipster is a man of peace and hates to see grown men quibble over things as trivial as politics or who first came up with the idea of dangling a handbag from between his clenched buttocks. The world is simply packed with too many good things, and with so many ladies to please with our gyrations, there’s more than enough room in the world for Chip Dale, Tom Iceland, and Gary Forks.

Grim Lessons In Reality and Tchaikovsky

Fellow Thongateers, forgive The Chipster’s silence. He’s only now feeling a little better, or at least, well enough to sit up in his sickbed, nestle himself in the cool socket formed by two neatly plumped clean pillows, and type a few words.

This strain of human flu has been a tonic if you’re the type of person who enjoys groaning for motionless hours in bed watching the football all weekend long. It’s ideal if you want to wake up at three thirty in the morning, pawing for the cold spot in your sheets, hoping that they might help ease the sweatless fever. And it’s a real blessing if you then turn on the TV and find ‘Rediscovering Tchaikovsky’ on BBC4 and it awakens a latent interest in classical music. In a way, this flu hasn’t been too bad at all. In fact, it’s been an education and I’m listening to Tchaikovsky’s sixth symphony as I type. And it really isn’t ‘Pathétique’.

Yet despite all of its evident virtues, this flu has been useless if you’re a Welsh exotic dancer who has just started to blog. Even worse if you’ve wanted to say something deep and meaningful about the death of Anna Nichole Smith last week. But as I’ve said, I’m now feeling a little better. So before the paracetamol drive me to sleep, allow me to explain why I think our collective fascination with a woman known for her life in soft porn is being wrongly portrayed as the death of culture, if not civilisation itself. And I say this, not as a stripper, not even as a man, but as an average human being, albeit suffering a mild form of plague.

Anna Nichole Smith may now only be known as somebody ‘famous for being famous’, but there’s a reason so many have been fascinated by her and her death. And, odd as it may seem, I think it does us all very great credit.

That reason came to me tonight. Shivering under the duvet, I couldn’t be bothered to lift my hand to turn off the BAFTA awards. My infirmity didn’t last. I found a cure for it as soon as Jonathan Ross began his excruciating opening monologue. It also had the extremely strange symptom of making me wish that they’d get Stephen Fry back. It really was that bad. I’ve had funnier accidents with lit matches.

As I moved to turn over, my finger loitered on the remote control long enough that I saw a few of the deathly silences. Ross seemed unperturbed and you could have swabbed the man down with shame and find not a microbe sticking to him. And that’s when something suddenly unlocked the enigma of Anna Nichole Smith for me. You might call it an epiphany but I call it seeing a glaring sense.

It happened like this. Ross made a poor joke about the theatre being ‘stuffed as tightly as Daniel Craig’s trunks’ and the camera immediately cut straight to Craig in the audience. He looked stony faced. The joke wasn’t the funniest but I would have expected him to respond in some way. It’s what we humans do when somebody makes a playful joke at our expense. When I strip, there’s always one shy member of a hen party who feels embarrassed at my attention but they always smile politely. I’ve never known different. It’s just what we do.

Only Craig didn’t smile. Or he doesn’t smile. He just sat there looking… well… looking just as we would expect James Bond to look while M instructs him to kill a Cuban drug lord. I gave the matter no thought until the camera had gone to him on a couple more occasions after more of Ross’s feeble quips (he really needs better writers), and each time, Craig’s face was impassive. He stared into the middle distance looking about as pleasant as being cold-cocked by the butt end of a Walther PPK.

And that’s when it struck me. Craig has been told to act like Bond in his everyday life. That or he is just a man without a witty bone in his body. I may find it hard to believe the latter but I’m easily convinced about the former. In this culture, where francises of all kinds are so eagerly managed, it seemed only right that the current James Bond looks the part. It’s why previous Bonds have struggled so hard to establish themselves as something other than Bond: by growing beards, going bald, going back to the theatre, or dropping out of acting completely. Accepting the role of Bond means accepting the lifestyle that goes with it. It’s about adopting the personae. Craig is now Bond. And he clearly takes his job very seriously indeed.

Which suddenly made me feel a very great affection for Anna Nichole Smith.

I was never a fan but I recognised her on TV. She had the sort of beauty that makes you realise why Americans love their real meat. She has substance and was no European waif. Yet I wouldn’t post a naked picture of her here because, among other things, being around nudity all day makes me more respectful of other people’s dignity. I know as much about her as is usual to know if you’ve read the newspapers for the last decade. I know she married an ailing billionaire, who died, leaving his young wife to inherit his fortune. She spent a decade contesting the will with his family while establishing herself as a star of reality TV. Before all of this, she was famous as a Guess jeans model and I remember the stunning black and white photographs of her in film magazines of the time, not knowing who she was. She achieved some more celebrity in one of the Naked Gun films and, all along, was known as one of the decade’s faces of Playboy.

But what I now think I know about Anna Nichole Smith is that she was exactly as she appeared.

Her life was a mess. She fought weight problems. She fought addictions. She lost a son last year only days after giving birth to a new daughter. Paternity tests are now being demanded and fortunes rest on the outcome. She was no actress but used her body to achieve a kind of success in the field of glamour modelling. It would not be a guess to say that she was hardly the brightest person on the planet, but then again, who is? And this is my point.

Anna Nichole Smith was a fleck of reality that got lodged under the lens. She was the hair in the corner of the frame. Her life reminded us that the sun does not always shine on the land below the Hollywood hills. When she pouted for the cameras, it reminded us of the fraud committed in the name of glamour. It was never larger than life, but a parody of life. The same is true when she appeared incoherent at an awards ceremony like the American version of Oliver Reed but with infinitely less talent or anger. Above all, hers was a face which, despite all the abnormal things of her life, exemplified a grim troubled reality that could not be fixed by clever spin. She was the opposite to Craig.

And the strange thing I think, as the tablets kick in and I feel my head reeling, is that David Cameron could learn a few lessons from her.

Cameron may have done drugs as a young man at Eton. He chooses to neither confirm nor deny the stories, which is his choice to make and we should respect him for that. Yet what we can judge is how he decides to manage the reality. At the moment, he is Daniel Craig sitting impassively in the studio audience. He is acting the role of Prime Minister in waiting. He fears that the general public with run away if he acknowledges any wrongdoing. He won’t acknowledge reality. He wears the watches, drives the cars, inhabits the suits, all paid for by his sponsors in the Tory Party.

Yet the reason why Anna Nichole Smith’s death touched so many people is because she had a quality that the public recognises that it so abundantly lacks. Fragility can be a virtue. It made a Texan stripper into a model of imperfect grace. Perhaps it can turn our politicians into something other than those mannequins that have stood in Downing Street for the last decade. Perhaps they can become representatives of the people who put them where they are. People like you and me, and even like Anna Nichole Smith.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I know me words...

I'm still full of a cold and the only thing to have cheered me up was this I found via The Daily Referendum. Amazing the things you pick up when you're life consists of nothing but oil and thongs.




Your Vocabulary Score: A



Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!

You must be quite an erudite person.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Computeach

The night sweated it out, warping my dreams into a single eight hour cycle of The Chipster shoving turkeys into a meat grinder that miraculously turned them into bread-crumbed twizzlers. There was a moment around four AM when I awoke and tried to gather my thoughts, only to have them carry on running manically around the bedroom. I suddenly felt a great affinity with Bernard Matthews. Is this how he began? I wondered, before I fell back into my pillow for more hellish hours with the food processor.

I awoke feeling much better. A few hours of untroubled sleep lay between me, my fever, and the sound of bones and beaks being ground to high protein dinner treats. Yet the nightmares had not totally retreated. I thought about how Bernard had built up his huge empire by hatching turkey eggs in an unused bedroom. It was a sobering thought, enough to make a man consider his life and career.

Recently, I’ve been giving serious thought to doing something else for a living. This cold is just the latest trouble caused by too many nights spent naked on draughty stages. According to my surgeon, my back injury last year was worse than anything suffered by his more usual mix of rugby players and road accident victims. I should have never tried lifting that woman up but at least she taught me to be careful with my body. I need to consider the future.

Yet a career change is a big thing. Bigger, I imagine, than the TV adverts I’ve noticed recently for Computeach. They usually begin with a forlorn postman walking down a road in a rainstorm and then, through the power of editing and a little work by the people at Computeach, he’s pulling up in his forty grand BMW and flashing his orthodontically perfect smile at some wide eyed blonde in his company. The message suggests that qualifications with Computeach are career Viagra. What is the qualification gulf between postman and IT consultant? I don’t know but a Computeach course seems to provide better qualifications than any degree course.

It’s the sort of promotion that works for me. Imagine an ad with a male exotic dancer, perhaps even Wales’ number one hip wiggler, dancing in a small Bangor night club, and then suddenly transformed into a Ferrari-driving systems analyst arriving at his own private parking bay of his own IT company.

Is it too much to ask for?

What else can a man with my peculiar skills do with his life once he finds the baby oil no longer leaves his skin feeling supple? I have thought about politics, but an ex-male stripper is too straight-laced for the Lib Dems, too far out for the Tories, and not slippery enough to join the Labour Party.

There must be some career options for a man like me… Or perhaps I should just buy myself twelve turkey eggs and an incubator.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

My Thermal Thong

My fever must be high tonight. I’m lying in bed, watching Question Time, and suffering such violent delusions that I actually believe that David Miliband has just said that Gordon Brown will be as unpopular as Blair in six month’s time.

Old Labour must be spawning again. It could only be ice cracking but I wonder if it’s not the sound of the Labour Party rubbing their dry carcasses together in that ritual of skin shedding that preceded the moment they devour their Queen. And the last person I would have expected to be so perceptive is Miliband. The man resembles a preying mantis in everything including appetite. (Turns out I was right. My ever reliable namesake has got the quote: ‘"I bet in a year's time people will be calling for Tony Blair to come back and people will be booing Gordon Brown.") At least I’m not that delusional.

Back to more serious matters, you might wonder what I’m doing in bed so early. Well, there’s been a bit of snow about. Don’t know if you’ve noticed it. Here in Bangor it’s not been too bad, though my gig was cancelled tonight. I’m not sorry. I would have cancelled it myself. There’s nothing worse for a man of my business than a sudden cold snap, but this is doubly true when I’m coming down with a cold.

The Romanian voicebox rang me up from London and was full of stories of deep snow and being rescued by the men of the AA. She was also streaming with a cold and warning be that there’s something going about. It was not news. This morning I began to notice the first signs of my having caught something. My feet are now cold and I’m aching all over. I also have a sore throat.

No need to worry about me. I’m made of stronger stuff. And I’m also wearing my thermal thong and my fleece pyjamas bought from Millets for Himalayan conditions. Though I am still cold.

So I’ll soon close my laptop and curl up with a good book. The alternative is to put on an old black and white film.

What is no alternative is to write anything more tonight.

So I’ll just wish you all a goodnight.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Music To Strip By

You find me a broken man today. I’m also a man left feeling completely battered by modern music. I’ve also ripped my throat. All three things are related.

Last night, my little Romanian songbird headed to London ahead of a recording session this morning. It left me at something of a loose end so I decided to apply a scorched earth policy to my iPod.

Being Romanian and being unbelievably gifted musically, Gabby is always buying new CDs which she insists that I copy straight onto my mp3 player. Over the last few months, dozens upon dozens of new albums have built up into a quite representative collection of what’s new and happening in contemporary popular music.

And I’ve managed to hate every over-produced minute of it.

You see, Gabby’s not the only one in this flat who thinks they understand music. I perform to music every night. My genitals can keep a beat better than most drum machines. My hips can spot a good song before Radio 1. Which is why I cleared my iPod and decided to start again.

It was late night opening at my local independent music shop where I spent an hour going through the bargain bin. I came back with dozens of albums from the sixties which cost next to nothing but were sure to push the Chipster’s buttons in ways mysterious to the likes of Beyonce Knowles and Take That. That’s how I found myself at the gym this morning, sitting on a rowing machine and listening to these lyrics:

The last time I saw Richard was Detroit in '68,
And he told me all romantics meet the same fate someday
Cynical and drunk and boring someone in some dark cafe.

Now, call me a melancholic old stripper, but isn’t this just perfect? I’ve been there. I’ve been cynical and drunk. I might not know anybody called Richard and I might never had the chance to bore somebody in a dark cafe, but I’m doing my best on this blog every night and I’m sure one of you has to be called Richard.

And even if you’re not a Richard, Ricky, or a Dick, the song gets even better. It ends with these words, which make me cry every time I listen to them.

All good dreamers pass this way some day
Hiding behind bottles in dark cafes
Dark cafes
Only a dark cocoon before I get my gorgeous wings
And fly away
Only a phase, these dark cafe days.

Can I repeat my favourite bit again?

All good dreamers pass this way some day
Hiding behind bottles in dark cafes.

I have hid behind a bottle or two in dark cafes. It’s not a pleasant feeling. Joni Mitchell. What a woman!

I’m off to try to buy some more of her albums this afternoon and I’m even thinking of adding something of hers to my act. I’ll be the first stripper to take his clothes off to a bit of Canadian melancholy. It should cause something of a stir around Bangor. I understand she has a song about a Big Yellow Taxi which, let’s face it, sounds like it was written for me. I’m big. I’m a Lib Dem. I’m called Chip. I’m a Big Yellow Chipster.

The only thing is that in the future, I must remember to let my hips to the talking. Joni had such a profound effect on me this morning that I tried to sing along. Not only did I stretch my vocal chords in a direction where they didn’t like to be stretched but I caused a minor panic at the gym where they thought the fire alarm had gone off.

Joni Mitchell may hit notes that only a person wearing a tight thong should be able to hit, but not all people wearing tight thongs are advised to give it a try. Isn’t that an example of a tautology? I don’t know. As I said at the beginning: I’m a broken man this afternoon.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Nasal Strategy

The Chipster had already gone seriously nasal by the time one of the neighbours turned up on my doorstep this morning.

I don’t know if you’re aware of this but I have a problem with hair growing out of my nose. I blame my Estonian heritage. Our family were renowned for having the hairiest nostrils in the small village of Pslatina and I’ve carried on the tradition, being prone to sudden spurts of hair growth the likes of which have been known to suffocate a man.

This is the reason I’ve always taken my grooming so very seriously. If I’m honest, it’s probably why I got into the whole stripping business in the first place. From an early age, I discovered the pleasure in taking care of my body. It’s why I own the heaviest duty clippers you can find; the type they use in to top barber shops. They are a fearsome weapon in the wrong hands. A person could lose an eyebrow or an ear, which is why I normally clear the living room when I’m about to trim my nostrils. I like to give myself plenty of elbow room.

I’m also full of interesting facts about nostrils. Did you know, for example, that humans only use one nostril at a time? Through the course of the day, our active nostril changes once every four hours and this is called the nasal cycle. This morning, my left nostril was open so I had begun by making my first foray into the right naris. That’s when I looked up and saw Gabby and one of our neighbour standing in the hall doorway and watching me. You’d think they’d never seen a totally naked man clipping his abnormally long nose hairs before.

Gabby distracted him as I slipped out to wrap a towel around my 'career assets' and, when I came back, she explained how Tony had stopped her at the lift to ask her about joining the Lib Dems. She thought he should speak to me since I’m the one who insists on putting all the stickers on the car.

The man proved himself to be a complete heathen when it came to politics. The first thing he told me was that he’d voted Labour at every general election except one when he ‘went Green’. He now wanted to know how easy it was to ‘join the orange’. I gave him the usual handouts and one of those good picture of Sir Menzies… You know the ones, where he has his teeth in… And he seemed reasonably pleased. Then we got to talking about identity cards which it turned out was the only reason Tony wanted to join us. Not a word about our being the only party with a comprehensive thong policy.

I admit that I didn’t tell him that the Tories have now also come out and announced that they’ll scrap the ID card scheme as soon as they get into government. It's a clever move by David Davis is leaves the Labour lot looking like a right bunch of lemons. A bunch of totalitarian freedom-slapping corrupt lemons at that.

But there’s a bigger issue at work here and that’s what I wanted to say in today’s ‘report from Bangor’. It’s about knowledge and about how much information the government collect about us.

Tony Blair’s years in government have been marked by the government’s belief in the power of information. Ever day databases grow constantly larger as more evidence is compiled about us at huge expense to the tax payer by a government that believes that power gravitates to those that rule information. Which may be true to a point when the data sets are small, confined to closed systems, but it doesn’t really work for governments whose remit is the world and whose subject is human behaviour.

What New Labour have consistently failed to understand is that we are all able to demonstrate free will, that lively spark of human irrationalism which lives within us all. Somebody will always copy the emails the computer experts said were deleted. Not everybody will agree with a policy that they tell us is self-evidently sensible. Given the full facts of any given situation, the government will always fail to anticipate the actions of a single human. Somebody somewhere will always upset the cart full on monkeys.

I’ve just read about (and here) the Home Office's plans to crack down on internet paedophiles by making 'sex offenders […] register their e-mail addresses and chatroom names.’ Again, do they really expect human nature to conform to their petty rules? Those willing to commit a sexual offence are surely not beyond misrepresenting themselves with false names and email accounts. These days any fool can go to Yahoo! and create a fake identity.

The identity card scheme was flawed from the moment Charles Clarke showed us all the prototype card and we all realised that his ears had been cut off on the photograph. The human spirit refuses to be bound by such a measly lump of plastic. Whether it’s a man with pan-like ears or my unfeasibly quick growing nostril hair, human life is unpredictable. You can’t gather information about it. You simply have to be ready at the other end to beat it back with a big stick or the most powerful pair of nasal hair trimmers the world has ever known.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Singing Profumo On A Bicycle

Some deathly silences this morning. Being exiled by a Romanian is like suffering an excess of wax in your ears. It alters your perceptions of the world. Everything becomes more apparent. Less real. Not that I regretted the silence. My post-Superbowl hangover has only just lifted after an hour spent at the gym where I tried to redeem myself with my body by burning the toxins out of my system.

As I was cycling my way to ten miles, getting nowhere but feeling better for it, I read the newspaper. It helps make the burn seem that much shorter, but unusually this morning, I only had a copy of The Telegraph with me. I found myself in a potentially perilous position. I did the only sensible thing in the circumstances and skipped the usual editorials singing the praises of David Cameron and his veritable ape house of Eton greybacks, jibbering tax monkeys, and Chelsea chimps. I settled on the arts section where I knew I’d be safe. That’s where I first read about this new musical based on the Profumo affair.

It’s called ‘A Modern Girl’ and gets a fairly average review. They note the ‘strange lacunae in this show – no Mandy Rice-Davies, no glimpse of the notorious "man in the mask"’ but conclude by saying that it ‘deserves to take its chance in the West End.’

Being in show business myself (and few cannot deny me the right to feel a special affinity towards that word ‘show’), this kind of revisionism is most welcome. ‘The Sound of Music’ might bring in the crowds, but we must do our best to encourage the original musicals. Yet even to my limited knowledge of musical theatre, I can see how the producers have missed out on a few tricks. I regret the lack of the ‘man in the mask’ more than most as I always like to hear a song where a skilful lyricist is able to find rhymes for ‘Prince’, ‘Greek’, and ‘Edinburgh’.

However, as my calves began to feel the heat of the ninth mile, I began to reflect on how much the Profumo scandal remains in the public mind. It seems to me to be a bit too old to be worth this kind of attention. Audiences want names and faces we recognise.

Which is why I’m proposing ‘John Prescott : The Musical’. Casting to begin shortly. Check press for details. Working title only.

The story, as I see it, begins in the small coastal town of Hull, where a lonely stowaway on a cruise ship decides to pay for his passage by working as a porter. I’m thinking of clever allusions to the high jinx of the Marx Brother’s ‘Monkey Business’ (1931) to begin with, as our working class hero finds himself trapped in a small cabin with men who, how shall we put this politely… ‘like to discuss shoes’.

Alienated from his fellow stewards, John (for that’s our hero’s name) goes out on the desk and sings a beautiful lament for his failing dreams and his discomfort in being around men attracted to his taught muscular body. Just as the song finishes its coda, the lights come up and from out of the water, a giant leviathan appears, clad only in fake leopard-skin. It’s that lovely dryad of the deep, Pauline, who has come to save John from the life he hates! She magics him away from that world and into the world of court intrigue where he soon rises to become the second most powerful man in the land.

I haven’t figured the rest out, but I think if I could find somebody to do the music, I could easily knock some lyrics together. I could also use my contacts in the business of exotic dancing to provide plenty of flesh to keep the punters happy.

I don’t know what you think but a man has to think about the future when his perfect body can no longer absorb baby oil.

And that was the thought I was left with when the exercise bike beeped and told me I’d done my ten miles.

The Wrong Team

I am a man of serious nocturnal habits when it’s the night of the Super Bowl.

The Bears are being turned over by the Colts and I’m getting progressively drunk. I’m not a heavy drinker but for big sporting occasions I buy myself a bottle. Tonight’s deal is a shot of whisky each time Chicago lose points. My Romanian conscience has gone to bed. She hates sport and doesn’t understand drinking. Some might say it’s one of her virtues. I say it’s an inconvenience.

So that’s why I find myself sitting here by the window overlooking Bangor, which sits below me, silent but for dogs who seem to share my insomnia. Their shadows pass through the sodium yellow glare of street lamps. The whole town is dosed in the glow like petrol. I have a feeling that a spark could set this place alight. I also feel like being that spark. Or maybe a dog will set it off. Dogs must get tired of the same routines. I know I do.

I made it as far as the fourth quarter before my mind began to unwind on its thread. It’s been a high scoring game and not for sober minds. It was never meant to be Chicago’s night but now I want them to defy the odds just to save me from myself and this bottle. The clock runs down. I get more drunk. More points go the Colts’ way and I look to the windows where I see myself cast onto the night. I’ve looked better but so has the night. In the morning, it will be a thing we will both work hard to should forget.

How could I have got it all wrong?

And how could half the country get it so wrong about Tony Blair?

Like a football statistic that helps you make a bad bet, 56% of the country think that Blair should leave government now. It’s not a figure worth quoting. Would any gambler take odds so close to even money? And why do the public think their opinion matters? Don’t they understand the rules of the game? Don’t they know about the rules of all games?

Blair loses like Chicago. There’s the same amazement of that something so bright could end so dismally. But that’s just part of the game, the old game. All politicians live by a clock which begins to count down the moment they arrive in office. It’s not for the public to say when it will end or whether he get overtime. You wouldn’t poll a crowd to see if a match should end at half time. So why think it significant to politicians? The game plays out, quarter by quarter. That’s the way it’s always been.

And now the Bears have lost…

I’ve turned off the TV and I am now gazing out over the harbour. Lights are strung out along the coast. Another day lies somewhere at their end. I would reach out and begin to reel it in but I know that’s not how this game is played.

Because there’s always a game and there's always another clock counting down somewhere.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Fear and Trembling

There’s a time in the day, for usually about eight thirty in the morning, when the mind is most receptive to bad news. It’s usually before my first drink, when my body’s juices are at their lowest and no amount of effort can get them flowing. That’s why I usually turn on the TV as soon as I wake up. I give myself over to what Kirkegaard would have called ‘the strength of the absurd’. And of course it doesn't do any harm in helping to drown out the sound of a certain Romanian who snores like a bison.

I’m fanatical about knowing the day’s headlines. Knowing how much worse the world has got while I was asleep allows me to decide if I’m going to go through the day fearing something large and unimaginably evil.

Which makes it a bit odd that I head straight for something large and unimaginably evil.

Murdoch owns Sky News but it’s still the first channel I seek out, though these days, perhaps for nothing more than my notorious infatuation with Kay Burley. I find my sympathies towards Sky are lessening with each passing week. They have become too caught up in an endless cycle (or should that be recycle) of the same four or five stories. Which is why I usually then turn on BBC News 24.

The BBC might have their bias but at least it’s varied bias.

Then it’s onto the minor channels, which includes the best news channel of all. EuroNews should come with a guarantee that you’ll see something there that won’t have seen anywhere else. Unfortunately, most of it’s in French and they have too many pieces about Belgium street artists but I do enjoy the variety.

Which brings me on to my point.

Irrespective of the channel, today’s headlines were all about bird flu. It put pay to my usual hard-boiled breakfast. It was Alpen and a freshly squeezed orange for me this morning. Yet as I was chewing my mouthful the sawdust and berries, I began to realise how much of my fear was put there by the media.

The difficult bit about fear is that it happily fills the huge gulf that sits between ‘possibility’ and ‘actuality’. It’s that great imagined somewhere were we get struck by asteroids, the Chinese decide to invade, or Simply Red decide to bring their tour to Bangor. I suppose it’s an indulgence of people who don’t live with the immediacy of a real threat. I can’t imagine what it was to live in London during the Blitz with the real chance of sitting under a bomb sights. What should happen if Mick Hucknall decided to take the flat above?

But I guess we don’t know until it happens. And we can’t know. We shouldn’t know. And people shouldn’t make us feed our fear so they can also provide it’s tonic in the form of hours and hours of reassurance.

For the moment, we should live our life taking some comfort from the insanity of it all. Hucknall probably wouldn’t be able to find Bangor on a map of North Wales. And I should live happy with that fact and the million others they never tell me on the news.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Late Update

It’s 3AM and I’ve just got in. It’s been a long day so this will be a short update.

Had a day visiting relatives, which is far more exciting than you can ever know. They think I work as an accountant at a big form of solicitors here in Bangor. I’ve had to spend the whole day trying to steer the conversation away from high finance which they seem to think I’d find interesting. I haven’t the heart to tell them that I wouldn’t know the profit column from a debit column. I could have made a filthy allusion there but I don’t like to play to type, especially when I’m on the wrong side of 3AM.

I’m now off to bed.

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Cadbury’s Cream GDA

The Chipster may have one mighty hell of a great bod, or at least that’s what the softer population of Bangor tell him, but he does have a weakness when it comes to chocolate. I’m a man who just can’t say no to a Cadbury’s Cream egg. It’s my Achilles heel, or at least my Achilles’s molar. I’m like a drunk who’s gone too long without tasting whisky if I go a week without a little chocolate in my diet.

Gabby knows this, bless her vagrant little Romanian heart, which is possibly why she bought me a box of four eggs today and left them on my laptop for when I got back from the gym. Unfortunately, I’d left the power on and I returned home to find that one of the eggs had melted over my brand new laptop. I couldn’t fault Gabby for trying. After all, what’s a Sony Vaio compared to the love of a flexible Romanian?

To keep myself cheerful while I tried to get rapidly hardening chocolate from the keyboard, I thought I’d have one of the three (thank you Casio calculator) remaining eggs. I reached for the box and was about to tuck in when I noticed that a warning had been printed on the front.

‘Be treatwise,’ ts said, ‘get to know your GDAs’.

GDAs?

If you’re like me, you’ll have no idea what a GDA looks like. I had no idea I had even one let alone enough to make them plural. I wouldn’t even know how to sponge them down when I’m in the shower.

So, do I hear you ask, what is a GDA?

After much searching, I discovered that they have nothing to do with The Global Development Alliance, the Greater Dublin Area, the Governor Dummer Academy, or even the Gastroduodenal artery (thanks for nothing Wikipaedia), I visited www.betreatwise.org.uk and found out that it means Guideline Daily Allowance. In practice, this means that a single Cadbury Cream egg contains 28.2% of my daily sugar and 0.8% of my daily salt. I could go one but it would only depress you. I did a bit of thinking about this. A box of four eggs give me all my sugar for the day, but I’d have to eat 125 of the things to get enough salt.

I hope you can see my dilemma. These figures seem to make it difficult in the extreme to find a happy balance between the two.

When I thought about it long enough, I began to get the feeling that I could detect the hand of the government in this warning. They get their fingers in every pie, or in this case, in every cream egg. Once you realise this, you have to say that you just can’t beat them. I may as well put my broad oily shoulders behind the scheme and convert to the GDA.

I’ve rang the man who does my website graphics to make me one that says Chip Dale’s Diary contains 73% of your recommended daily amount of bullspit, 13% of your daily wit and wisdom, and only 2% of your chuckles. I’m considering putting a similar warning on all my thongs. I think my audiences should be warned. This item may contain up to 89% of your daily recommended amount of genital.

After I’d arranged all of this, I realised I no longer wanted my cream egg. I’ve left them out for Gabby. She’s Romanian and as you know, that blessed nation refuse to be ruled by anything that comes in the form of a percentage.

Lucky people.