I had one of those life-changing moments last night and, oddly, it had nothing to do with my genitals.
For the first time in my life, I had to face a hostile audience; a rare occurrence in the life of a man with a reputation as a fine thonglateer. But I think you’ll understand what I mean when I’ve fully explained the circumstances of my little epiphany.
It was, in all other respects, a normal Monday night. Bangor town centre was simmering away on the gently heat of the packed nightclubs and busy taxi ranks. And there was certainly nothing out of the ordinary when, on the stroke of nine, I arrived at the Green Dragon Tavern, my kitbag packed from base to zip with a world-class selection of thongs.
As normal, I went straight to my changing room behind the stage. It’s there that I like to shower, limber up, and generally get myself centred for my act, which last night I was due to perform at ten.
It’s my custom to leave it until the last minute before I make my way around to the side of the stage, so by the time I got in place, the tavern was in semi darkness. I could dimly make out the crowd, chattering away as I moved to my usual spot, front and centre, where I proceeded to wait the few extra seconds before the spotlight would pick me out and my act would begin.
There’s always a buzz of excitement knowing you’re about to get seriously naked in front of a room of strangers. The adrenaline rush is like no other I know.
Except, it’s never quite as big as the rush you get when you realise that somebody has made one huge mistake.
I was standing there, holding my plumber’s wrench in my hand and balancing an old sink plunger on my head, ready to pout my way to the front of the stage, when the lights suddenly came up. I froze for a moment as I read the sign across the stage floor.
Instead of finding myself in front of my usual Monday night ladies, I was standing before two hundred sassy comedy lovers of both sexes ready for a night of stand-up.
I think I can be excused if my hand loitered on my zip for a moment longer than normal as I wondering how to get myself out of this embarrassing predicament.
Should I get snapping my thong or should I try to tell some jokes full of gentle observations about our shared social mores? The last time I made a mistake comparable to this one, I chose the wrong option. It had been at a wedding reception and I spent an uncomfortable night in jail until the whole matter was resolved the following morning when the bride’s mother dropped all charges and returned my thong intact.
And that’s why, tonight, I lowered my wrench and walked up to the microphone.
This is a fairly accurate transcript of what I said:
Good evening, Bangor!
So…. is there anybody from Wales in the audience tonight?
You… you won’t believe me when I tell you this, but I came out here to take off my clothes.
[A solitary whoop from the crowd]
Hey, I will if you will…
[A lonely cheer]
No, no, honestly. I’m not actually a plumber, if that’s what you were thinking. There wouldn’t be anything funny about my being a plumber, would there now?
[I was oblivious to the fact I was still balancing a sink plunger on my head]
No, I’m a stripper. I take off my clothes for a living. My name’s Chip Dale. You might have heard of me. I’m the Thongoleer Extraordinaire.
[More polite applause from the crowd. They must have indeed heard of me, but then again, who hasn’t?]
Well, it’s a living, I suppose, and it makes things interesting when I fill in my tax forms.
I always like to answer those questions they ask me about my supplemental income. ‘How did you earn this extra money?’ I usually include photographs wrapped in a thong. And ‘How was this money paid?’ I find this one harder to answer. How do I explain how a five pound note was pushed between my buttocks by a nurse in Wrexham high on Bacardi?
But the great thing about being a stripper is you get to have some really useful things lying around the house. I have all the plumbing equipment, which always comes in handy when there’s a leak. I’m can’t say I’m much use with a monkey wrench but I can do naked cartwheels while my girlfriend changes washers.
Well, now I’m here, I might as well talk about something that’s been bothering me for a while.
Do you ever wonder how we ended up with this government?
I know I didn’t vote for them. Which means it had to be one of you…
[Slightly guilty sniggering]
Okay, own up. What possessed you to put a cross next to the name of people that go about invading places? I don’t even put a cross next to those boxes on supermarket questionaries that ask me if I want to be entered into their prize draw. And invading places has to be a whole league bigger than winning a year’s free groceries.
Now we’ve got a Labour government, I’m not going to be like everybody else accusing them for invading our privacy. You don’t know if they’re listening…
And I wouldn’t say they’re corrupt, though I did see Gibraltar on eBay the other night.
And they’re so odd looking… It’s like all government posts were filled on a first come first served arrangement with the local job centre. If Gordon Brown hadn’t taken charge of the nation’s purse, he’d be the new caretaker down the town baths. Not so many warnings about an extra two pee in stealth taxes but extra warnings about stealth peeing in the deep end.
And what can I say about John Prescott? You know at school there was always a slow kid in the class? Teachers always made them milk monitor and they always won the awards at the end of the year for best kept locker? Doesn’t that explain why we have a Deputy Prime Minister? ‘Okay, John, could you collect the glasses now the cabinet meeting has finished? No John, put that away. Nice little boys don’t try to sharpen those like a pencil… John, please take you hand from up my skirt. No, it’s not a tent.’
Of course, I’m a Liberal Democrat myself.
[Laughter! The first of the evening!]
I get to take part in political debates yet I can never be held accountable for anything that ever happens. The only thing I worry about is a well hung parliament. We Lib Dems aren’t used to having real power. I worry it will go to our heads and we’ll make crazy demands. Menzies Campbell is already talking of asking for a rerun of the 1964 two hundred meters final.
Okay, I’m getting the signal that I’ve got to stop. I have people to go and flash. You’ve been a wonderful audience. My name’s Chip Dale.
And with that, I made my way back to my dressing room where I changed back into my normal everyday suit and thong.
When I got home, Gabby greeted me at the door and was soon screeching with delight at my story. Only at the end did she confess that she forgotten to pass on a message about the cancellation of my act because of a comedy evening.
I couldn’t be angry with the poor poppet. Tonight has taught The Chipster a valuable lesson and I’ll never look on my plumber’s outfit the same. It’s a memory of the night when I realised that stripping is one of the easier art forms and that I should stick to what I’m good at.
I’ve been Chip Dale. You’ve been a wonderful audience.