Hazard of Parsnips, Chapter 18.

Read more about Hazard of Parsnips (HoP) here


and catch up on the preceding 17 chapters.

Clarence’s Diary

Dear Diary

Upon waking from a fitful slumber, a smile played upon my full lips. I think it was playing charades and it had to make the word ‘SEX’. I’m saying here I’ve got a sexy smile.

When I became sensible of my surroundings I realised my slumber had been fitful largely due to the fact I had been spooning a hedgehog for most of the night. My sleeping companion, Hedgie, had generously offered my lodgings in his, er, hedge and had offered me a cup of tea, as I had hoped. Well, diary, as sure as night follows day, Hedgie got me drunk on hedgerow wine and before I knew it we were singing the Ulyssess 31 theme tune and soon slipped into a companionable unconsciousness.

As morning broke and I noticed the spine marks in my chiselled pecs, Hedgie grinned sheepishly at me. I can’t stay mad at that guy, even though he got me drunk. He did offer me refuge from a notorious pervert, so I owe him my life. Well, I owe him a pint at least.

After I bid adieu to my spiny pal, I wondered what to do next. Should I

a) report to the nearest police station to tell them I was OK
b) Go and see my beloved delicate flower,Eileen, and some hot and dirty reunion sex. She may let me do her up the bum.
c) go home and check my mail

I decided to go with the latter. It might seem, dear diary, like a nonsensical thing to do and quite out of keeping with the character I have painted myself as, but I was really missing my vegetables, my lemon chapstick and I really needed a shit. There’s nothing like taking a shit in your own bog and I yearned for my porcelain bum embrace. Besides, I knew it would also help the writers of Hazard of Parsnips out, as they needed to move the story on and I was about to receive an important letter.

My step was light and my heart joyous to be free! I had escaped my man-napping unscathed(albeit probably broken that poor battle-scarred wench’s heart, but hey, she was collateral damage and this hunk had a body that he owed the world to preserve). My mind briefly flicked back to Teresa. I shook my head, almost as if to dislodge that thought from my mental furniture. I can’t feel sorry for her now. Yes, I lied to her, but it was my only chance of survival. Think Clarence, Think of something nice, i chastised my own brain. I was telling myself off and I didn’t like it. So I sulked at myself for a bit. I can’t stay mad at myself, largely down to my sexiness and tight, high baby bird bum, so I felt better for a bit. I even hummed a little ditty to cheer myself up. It was ‘Wild Boys’ and I imagined myself making sweet, sweet love to Eileen to that very music.

However, the windscreen wipers of my psyche kept flicking back to images of Teresa, dammit, and dampening my ardour. I really had betrayed her trust. It is such a burden being this handsome. I don’t know how most attractive people bear it. I hate the fact people give me preferential treatment because of my looks,think highly of me, and throw themselves at me. It’s such a fucking ball ache. I felt sick to the pit of my stomach when I thought of what that pervert might do to her when he learnt of how she facilitated my escape.

One thought occasionally leads to another, and this was one of those occasions. My mental furniture had shifted, like the Ikea warehouse, and I found myself pondering on other victims of my good looks. My god. I devastated them. What was this I was feeling? Was I feeling…could it be…is this guilt?

It wasn’t, I just needed a massive shit, I told myself.

As I got back to my house, I smiled as my allotment unfolded before me. It was quite handy having a fold able allotment. You could store it away and take it with you when you went on holiday. I let myself in the house, as the glass in the front door had been smashed…how strange. Luckily I had kept a jagged piece of cardboard that I knew would come in handy one day. I set about patching it up. I then realised that I should maybe stick the cardboard to the broken glass and secure it with gaffer tape, instead of trying to fix it with a needle and thread and oddments of material.

It was then I noticed it. A letter. It lay there on the mat daring me to open it. To be fair it wasn’t a massive dare to open an envelope, so I didn’t think much further about it. I tore it open to find it was a letter from Sandra Growbag. Oh Growbag! Another victim of the Clarence love-bug. I could hardly blame her, but she became such a pest. Following me home, watching me through the window, vigorously masturbating countless times in front of me. What was it she wanted now.

My eyes darted across her scrawlings:

Dear, Darling Clarence

Clarence, I cannot bear it any longer. I’ve tried playing it cool, following the rules, but it gets me nowhere. While I stay away, that darned Bilton gets closer to you. To be honest Clarence, I really don’t know what you see in her. Why would a man of taste, like you, be attracted to a woman with huge breasts, am enviable figure, a rich father, a beautiful face and a sweet disposition? Why can’t you see that she’s bAD for you, and yes, it might seem like these are positive things, but I need you to see the merits of a woman who is largely cuboid in physique, is pathological in her passion for you, gets crazy, paranoid thoughts when things don’t go her way, and can’t problem solve in any adaptive way. Oh, I see the way you look at her, like a hungry dog looks at the finish line. It makes me feel sick. She possesses some hold over you that I desire to replicate, but no not how. Until now.

It all makes sense to me. I need to be number one. The only way to become number one is at a Hot Body Show and that is where I am destined to right now. I am single minded in my determination to possess your affections and I believe by triumphing in this pageant, this will secure my place in your heart.

Do not try to stop me. Well do. If you like. You can also try and kiss me and put your hand up my top while you’re there.

Yours, unerringly

Sandra Growbag


My mental furniture had experienced an earthquake. All my psychological objects had been rattled and I took 5 hours to work out what this meant. Sandra had fallen so foul of my charms, she was entering a Hot Body Show to win me away from Eileen. Hot Body Show. That sounds fun. But wait! Alarm bells were ringing. It was the phone, it had been pushed off the hook and was making that dreadful sound. Hot Body Show. That sounded familiar. Who had mentioned that before and why was I getting a bad feeling about this.

Oh god. It was Teresa who had mentioned it. She had been enslaved as part of one and now Sandra was going, like a lamb to the toolbox. All because I’m so damned handsome. God, when were people going to stop getting hurt because I’m such a spunk?

By god, I really needed a shit now.

Adam Buxton’s BUG Manchester: 28.9.12

Some people like to cry. Some people like to gnash their teeth on the Yorkshire Moors. Other people like to pile into a large music college in a northern town and collectively laugh. I found myself in the latter group yesterday.

I first encountered Adam (Buxton)and Joe (Cornish) when I was in third year at university. It was 1998. I remember being in my bedroom on the odd Friday night (please note, I wasn’t ‘sad’ or ‘friendless’ at being in on a Friday. In those days, the nights to go out, as a student, were week-nights. Weekends were reserved for checked shirt ‘townies’ with thick necks and impenetrable accents and sky high club entrance prices. I was the proud owner of at least three whole friends at uni). I used to tune in to a delightful televisual threesome of Frasier (before it became unbearable high farce), Adam and Joe and TV Offal with Victor Lewis-Smith. They were perfect bedroom companions. They made me laugh, they were good company and they didn’t leave their clothes all over my bedroom floor. I’ve been a fan ever since.

When the opportunity came to see Dr. Buckles at a live show, I jumped at the chance. My husband took a little bit of persuading. He’s *cough* slightly younger than me and isn’t as well acquainted with the A&J show as me, but he said yes and was interested in accompanying me. Probably to ensure that I didn’t do anything stupid.

In the days leading up to BUG, I was quite stricken. As those of you who follow me on Twitter will know, I have been ill for some weeks and was devastated to think that I might not be able to make it. Manchester is some 45 minute drive for me and it’s not a drive suffered well when you’re ill and have phlegmy tendencies. I stayed in bed for days, willing my fragile, weak body better. Thankfully on the day of the gig, my wishes had been granted. The Gods of Comedy were smiling on me.And had patted me benignly on the arse too.

I tottered around the Northern Royal College of Music (or something similar) on skyscraper heels. At first, I felt like I was on some kind of crystal maze style aptitude test and I was in the industrial zone. Only this industrial zone had a faint smell of alcohol, sick and Mancunians. After some particularly taxing reading of signs with our eyes we managed to find the entrance.

On entering the college, I was quickly drowned in a Tsunami of beards and cosy jumpers. I felt like I needed to grab onto their owner’s across-body satchels to stop myself being swept away in the follicular waves. The demographic of Adam’s show was clear. Mostly men, early twenties to early forties, thick glasses, beards, alternative types with shaggy haircuts. As a scouser, I felt totally out of place. We feel naked if we are not very dressed up with hair and make up coiffed and buffed so you can see your face in it. Which is no mean feat. To see your own face in your own make up whist residing in your own body takes some huge physical and existential leaps.

As we entered the auditorium, it was heaving with beards. I feared for my safety. Never has an audience been so beard-heavy since the opening of the ‘Mike’s beard’ arena in 2008. Upon the screen was the greatest and biggest beard of all. ~And it was moving. To a count down.

4 minutes 48 seconds until BEARD!

On screen it showed Adam on his bike, grinning welcomly, biking towards our venue with a camera fixed to his helmet. Even though you knew he wasn’t on his way, this did lend to a sense of excitement seeing him dismount his bike, walk down the corridor and then arrive on stage as the count down finished. It also set the tone for what we were about to see.

Adam bumbled onto the stage to rapturous applause. He explained the format of the show for the uninitiated. Adam shows videos that he has found that he deems to be noteworthy and remarkable, and comments between videos. This was how Adam rather humbly put it, and certainly sells his show short. Adam chose some amazing videos and then would do some stand up based on each video using the mac equivalent of a powerpoint presentation. It’s hard to do a detailed review without ruining it for others, but I’ll do my best.

Using the videos as the framework, Adam used photos and Youtube comments between each to join them together to take you on a journey. He explored themes and topics such as exploiting children and Kate Middleton’s topless pictures and showcased daring and creative directors. One major theme that emerged for me was the divide between those that urge control, decency, (on the internet and beyond) and want to impose rules on a community and those that want to upset, cause chaos or rebel against what is expected of others. For me, the ~Youtube comments represented a microcosm of society. Misunderstandings being immortalised forever (David Bowie: “I’m sorry for what happened to your eye” being a case in point), people wanting to demonstrate superiority over others (“It’s brakecore you fucknose!” over what ‘beat’ a song had or “I know the real symbolism of that ‘Let’s Dance’ video and I’m so tired of everyone else who is so thick they don’t realise it-SIGH”). Those wanting to calm troubled waters, those wanting to impose the rules of society on others and being annoyed when they refuse to comply (grammar/spelling Nazis ahoy).

One thing that came across loud and clear to me, whether it was meant intentionally by Adam, is the ‘thrill of the troll’. We experienced that as an audience. Adam revealed the Youtube comments one by one and the audience gave a chortle of delight when they saw a debate over two Youtube users, one uptight and one more chaotic. It made me reflect upon how/if that manifests in our non-virtual interactions. Those people who seem to delight in being provocative, in pushing your buttons and in being deliberately out-and-out unkind to your face and how we react to that. To be honest, I’ve always felt a bit traumatised by those people. I’ve always felt that I must be ‘deficient’ in some way for them to be so horrible to my face. After Adam’s show, it’s put a whole new perspective on those people. Maybe it’s nothing personal but it’s the thrill of the troll.

It was just under 2 hours long and it was over too soon. I laughed like a drain the whole way through it and there was a woman in front of me who was crying with mirth. It was non-stop wonderful. I could hardly believe it when Adam started to wrap it up. I sat there hoping it was just an interval, but a quick glance at my watch told me that it was over. No interval happens at 11 pm.

We spilled out of the auditorium bubbling with excitement, eagerly chatting and repeating parts of it to our friends trying to relive the moment. Again, we were plunged into a plunge pool of beards. I was desperate to spot Adam as we were on the back row of the auditorium, and it was a big auditorium. I always like to sit quite close to the front at a comedy gig, as being so far away seems almost like you are watching them on a video or TV. There’s something about being in a ‘realish’ situation with the person who is performing.

My patience paid off, (as well as my ‘not-listening to my friends and looking around me as a stalker might’ attitude) as the famous beard breezed past with his bike and helmet. How funny to have a massive audience in the palm of your hand and then quietly just walk past them all. I remember either Richard Herring and/or (memory fails me) Adam talking about the ‘post gig rush’ and how you can be on a high and then go back to a hotel on your own or back to your home and the crushing contrast that can be. This had made me feel more able than I would usually to say hello.

Adam was chatting away merrily to a beard by the bar as I approached and I felt I had missed my chance. My sister told me she was going outside for a smoke and I should just follow her out for a chat instead of hanging around Adam like a crazed groupie. She was embarrassed. So was I. Would saying hello be a welcome intrusion or would it be an irritating diversion? Next thing I know I’m thrusting my hand out at Adam to shake his, despite him being in mid conversation with a beard.

“Loved the show. You were great”

Adam “thank you”

My sister then thrusts her hand out at Adam, prolonging the agony and ecstasy of the meeting.

“I thought you were great. Thank you”

Adam “thanks very much”.

We walk off. Cheeks (face) burning brightly. My mission was complete. I had met the man! I went back to my husband and my friends like a teenage fan girl having stumbled across the dressing room and snuck in.

We decided it was time to move on. There was a pub with our name on it and it was serving until 1 am. as we made our way out, I noticed Adam leaving. He was behind us. He was going out for a smoke. Fucking hell. I could get a photo with him. Our earlier encounter had strengthened my resolve and also the observation he had been chatting to fans ever since he came out. Hell. He might even like it…

me: Adam, would you mind if I had my photo taken with you please? (grinning wildly)

Adam: sure

me: thanks. I wasn’t sure if you were camera shy or camera confident (following Adam out the door)

Adam: that’s fine

My husband then takes an appalling photo of me with Adam. I want it over quickly because I feel sorry for him. I want to release him into the wild, like a hedgehog that got trapped in some plastic can holders.

My sister: can I have my photo taken with you? (to me) ask him if he wants a ‘twin sandwich’

Me: er Adam, would you mind being the meat in a twin sandwich?

Adam: no of course not

me: you were amazing tonight. We just couldn’t stop laughing thanks so much. Bye!

My husband immortalised the twin sandwich on my cameraphone. Whether it was bothersome the encounter to Adam, I’ll never know. If so, I made it mercifully brief. If it had been enjoyable banter, I’m sorry I didn’t hang around longer. I guess I’ll never know. Either way, Adam Buxton made my year.