Thursday, 1 October 2009
'Mr Sex' and the Brick Shithouses of Scunthorpe
Of all the stripping gigs I ever did, the scariest by far were always the nightclub jobs. Two words; Mixed Audience.
The women - who would usually go mental at the mere thrust of a groin - would keep themselves in check. The men, to a man, saw you as a threat to their womenfolk and wanted to punch you in the face, over and over, until it splintered like a mouldy coconut. Half the audience were cowed into silence, while the other half stared at you in sullen rage. You used to laugh at the perils of stripping at all-female gigs - the gouge marks in someone's bare arse, someone's glasses being mangled by having them crushed against a jacked-up, Wonderbra'd-to-death cleavage, or a G-string wedgie. When we laid out our kit in the back room of Mr Fisters, Glassers, Peter Sutcliffe's Astoria or any other divey club that any sane person would usually cross an ocean to avoid, the laughter stopped. The danger was omnipresent.
Plenty of near-maimed incidents stick out in my mind, but I'll just tell you about one for now; Scunthorpe. No disrespect to anyone from that particular part of Lincolnshire, but it's mainly known here for three things - being the only place in the UK that contains the word 'cunt', an article in The Sun that unfairly claimed that the place contained the ugliest women in the country, and a terribly misguided attempt by a local nightclub to prove said paper wrong by running a Miss Scunthorpe competition, which - to put it mildly - failed to argue its case ever so slightly.
The same nightclub we were booked at. Oh dear.
As it turned out, the gig passed off without incident. Sure, if looks could kill, we would have been smeared right up the back wall with the words 'DEATH TO PONCY STRIPPING WANKERS WHO THINK THEY'RE SUMMAT' daubed in our own blood, but glasses remained unlobbed, and the women looked no different to anywhere else.
After we'd packed up and loaded the van, the last and most important bit of business remained; legging it to the nearest chip shop before it shut. Problem was, I had to go back to the dressing room to fetch me jacket.
On my way back, desperate to ram as many slivers of deep-fried potato into my maw as possible, I saw them coming the other way. Six brick shithouses from Scunthorpe. And fucking hell, they were massive. Massive slabs of pissed-up Scunthorpians, who had obviously not pulled that night. Mainly because they'd spent an entire hour of their lives being in the same room as us, being made to listen to You Can Leave Your Hat On. I nodded at them, and walked past.
And then one of them turned around and bellowed loud enough to set off all the car alarms in Lincolnshire.
"Ah know yo', dun't ah? Yo' were one of them fookin' strippers, wan't yer?"
"Er, yeah mate"
Fucking hell. What did I say that for? God, I wish the others were here. That would prolong my life for another five seconds.
"Yeah, I seen yer in the club. Where your lot from?"
Christ on a crisp packet, did I really want to die that badly? I might as well have said "From your Mam's house, where I've just been giving her one. Up the arse"
They moved in. Oh shit. Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit.
"So did yer get any fanneh, then?"
This is it. This is where I die. In Scunthorpe.
"Er, no mate."
Long pause. My bollocks have now shrivelled to the size of Cadbury's Mini Eggs. Brick Shithouse No.1 turns to his mates.
"Fookin' 'ell, you heard this? This poor cunt's come all the way from fookin' London, and he's bin up on that stage there wi' 'is cock aht and all sorts, and even 'ee's got nowt, because" - and here he takes a deep breath - "ALL AAH WOMEN ARE FOOKIN' PIGS AND HOONDS"
They all grunted in agreement. And it dawned upon me: this man is actually apologising for the quality of his local womenfolk.
"You goo home, mate, and you tell 'em that paper wor fookin' right. They're all fookin' MOOSES raand 'ere. They're not worth a WANK. Ah wish ah could come with yer, mate - I bet there's some right proper fanneh dahn there, in't there?"
And he shook my hand. And then his mates did.
And then I whimpered with teary-cheeked jags of relieved laughter, in the back of a mini-bus, all the way down the M1.