Henry von Stifle: World Record Holder

I am a great human. Like all great humans I have tried and succeeded in pushing myself to the limits of human endeavour. One of the ways I do this is by attempting and often setting new world records.

BUT WHY DO I DO IT?

I don’t do it to cover myself in glory, I don’t do it to massage my own ego and I don’t do  it to attract the attention of the opposite sex, (women already find me irresistible, more of which I’ll reveal at a later date)

I set new world records to inspire children, communities, countries and, in most cases, the entire population of the planet we call Earth. I do it to push the boundaries of humanity, to show all of us that if we dream big enough we can all be better people, YOU can be like me!

So here is a list of world records that I hold

  • Longest time spent sitting on a shoe – 12 days, 6 hours and 33 minutes
  • Longest time spent sitting on a penguin – 4 days, 2 hours and 6 minutes
  • Most packets of Scampi Fries eaten in 1 hour – 54 packets
  • Most cats thrown at a wall in 1 hour – 23 (For Children in Need)fallingcat_jpg_560x0_q80_crop-smart
  • Longest time pretending to be a Ninja in a Marks and Spencer’s Food Hall – 3 days
  • Most impersonations of Bruce Forsyth in a week – 786
  • Largest collection of Wooden Ties – 2
  •  Longest time anyone has had a snail in their underpants – 16 days
  • Most spoons thrown at aeroplanes at Heathrow Airport – 84 spoons at 67 planes
  • Longest journey on a train with a live horse – 2 hours

    I could go on but I don’t wish to sound arrogant.

 

  • Most occasions anyone has accidentally electrocuted themselves whilst trying to make toast – 43
  • Most Llamas insulted in Spanish – 88 (and counting)
  • Longest time spent standing on a roundabout – 2 days, 2 hours and 2 minutes

So there you go. Now, don’t feel intimidated by all of my success, use them to spur you on to greater things.

My Time as a Spy

Before I became a world-class entertainer I worked, for a short while, as a spy for the British Secret Service. I will share some of my experiences as a spy later in this blog but what I want to share with you today is an extract from a one man show I did a few years back which was based on my time working undercover. A few years ago, (I can’t say exactly due to the official secrets act), I was sent deep undercover into North Korea on a reconnaissance mission. I discovered many things during my five-day mission but one that stuck in my mind was the North Koreans lack of Orangina (See picture below if you are not sure of the drink I am mentioning).

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The following conversation is from my hit solo show and is based on real events. The conversation took place between myself and the head of MI5 one day after I landed in North Korea, so strap in!

Henry: Hello

MI5: Hello

Henry: What?

MI5: HELLO!

Henry: Speak up, I’ve got a bad signal.

MI5: HELLO!

Henry: Hello.

MI5: Are you in North Korea, Henry?

Henry: Yes.

MI5: How’s the food over there?

Henry: I don’t know, I’ve not eaten yet.

MI5: Are you eating ok?

Henry: Pardon?

MI5: I said, are you eating ok?

Henry: Yes.

MI5: What did you have for lunch?

Henry: I ate on the plane.

MI5: What was it?

Henry: It’s a big aerodynamic machine that flies people to different destinations.

MI5: No, I know what a plane is, I was asking what you had for lunch.

Henry: Salmon.

MI5: Oh.

Henry: Look, they don’t have any Orangina here.

MI5: How was it?

Henry: What?

MI5: How was the salmon?

Henry: It was fine. Look, they don’t have any Orangina here.

MI5: Did they give you some lemon for it?

Henry: Instead of Orangina?

MI5: No, for the salmon.

Henry: No. Look, they do not have any Orangina in North Korea.

MI5: Pardon?

Henry: I said, they don’t have any Orangina here.

MI5: Yes, I know.

Henry: Oh

MI5: Oh.

Henry: But don’t they know that since Orangina’s inception in 1936 it’s had the perfect blend of citrus fruits and orange zest. And that at only 42 calories per can it’s great for your waist?

MI5: No, not many North Koreans know about that. Anyway, I’d better go now as I have a moussaka in the oven

Henry: Is that a code?

MI5: What?

Henry: Moussaka in the oven. Is that a code for something?

MI5: No, I’ve really got a moussaka in the oven.

Henry: I love moussaka but I hate aubergines.

MI5: But aubergines are the main ingredient in moussaka, so how can you like it?

Henry: What?

MI5: I said, aubergines are the main ingredient in moussaka, so how can you like it?

Henry:…Ok

MI5: Pardon?

Henry: Ok…bye.

MI5: Be careful, Henry.

Henry: Ok

(They both laugh)

So that’s the scene and it’s pretty tense stuff I’m sure you’ll agree. I will share more of my spy exploits and the hit show about that time at a later date.

 

 

LIFE IN SCHOOL AS A GENIUS

September 1982 was littered with important moments in history, Debbie Maffet was crowned the 55th Miss America, the sitcom ‘Family Ties’ staring Michael J. Fox premiered, and Belgium experienced a one day strike by rail workers. Also in September of that year I first entered a school. Up until that point all of the learning I had done was all off my own back, devouring books at a rate of two a day. I knew so much, that Rome was named after the Romans that lived there, I knew that Hitler was bad, some turtles can breath out of their anus, butterflies use their feet to digest food, and that Barry Manilow did not write his hit ‘I Write The Songs’.

But despite all of the things I knew, and this will come as a surprise to you, when I started school I wasn’t sure if I actually was a genius or not. Sure I knew that the average woman used her height in lipstick every five years and insightful facts like that but when it came to things like basic mathematics I was lost.

So after one week of schooling I decided to leave.

You may think this was giving up but you would be wrong. I wanted to be a historian and the only thing you need as a historian is to know about things that happened a while ago. I didn’t need maths, if God had wanted us to learn maths then why did he invent accountants? Ah, got you!

So, instead of going to school everyday, I would make my way to the public library in Oxford and set about reading every single history book that they had. It felt wonderful to have lost the chains that had bound me in during that week at school and I was able to do what I wanted to do. I read books by all the great historians, Herodotus, Hume, Hegel and other historians whose surnames didn’t begin with the letter ‘H’ like Malcolm Howard.

During my many days at the library I began to become quit the fixture and was taken under the wing of some of the staff there, particularly one old lady, Elsie Roberts who would recommend certain books and authors to me and in doing so became a major influence on my life.

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One day we sat and talked about some of the things I had been reading about recently. At the time I was heavily into the history of Austro-Hungarian Empire, formed in 1867 and I asked her which countries had made up said empire. She looked confused and muttered something about salmon paste at which point I realised that Elsie was actually as thick as shit.

One of the things I noticed about history books was that a huge amount of them covered the same topics, wars, empires, countries and politics. There were very few books written about topics that I wanted to know more about, such as who invented the penguin, in what year did someone first sneeze and who came up with the idea of walls, and which came first, the wall itself or the name? These are the thoughts only a genuis would have. All of these questions needed answering and so I had found what I thought at the time was my life’s work….

MY CHILDHOOD Part 2

It was a warm, sunny day in June, 1982. I was eight years old and my life was in a mess. My imaginary girlfriend, Beverly D’Angelo had left me for another man, apparently I wasn’t ‘fun anymore’. I was devastated and the trauma of that period has left a scar in me that is still sore to this day, in fact  I can pinpoint the break-up from Bev as the point in which I lost all trust in relationships, real and imaginary ones. Looking back, I don’t really blame her, the imaginary video rental store that we were managing together was running up debts and I was under a lot of stress due to many things, one of which was my fathers increasingly erratic behaviour. Since accidentally murdering my mother he had changed a lot. His drinking was out of control and as for his work, his inventions were becoming more and more deranged. In the six months of 1982 he had invented, among other things, the TieStraw which was an ordinary suit tie but with a rigid plastic lining which could be put into a glass and used for drinking, the paper sleeping bag, a coal powered bicycle, LSD Slippers (slippers made out of the hallucinogenic and designed to enter your blood stream via the pores in your feet), and the Solar Powered Cigarette Lighter.

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We would occasionally set some time aside to have frank discussions about my interest in world history and in his interest of wanting to transform into a salmon and swim the great rivers of the world. His determination to mutate into a salmon was to ultimately prove to be his downfall. In his efforts to speed along the transformation he took to lying under water in the bath which tragically led to him drowning himself.

So there I was, an eight year old whose father had accidentally drowned himself, a mother who had been accidentally murdered and an imaginary girlfriend who had left due to my inability to run a small imaginary video rental shop. I was alone in the world…or so I thought. Unbeknownst to me, I had an uncle on my father’s side and due to me having no other legal guardian he agreed to look after me for a small fee.

Three days later I had moved in with my uncle at his home in Oxford the centre of learning, the perfect place for a young genius such as myself to broaden his knowledge. My uncle was a cold and distant man (I don’t mean his body temperature or that he was always far away, I’m talking about his personality) and the reason I just keep calling him ‘Uncle’ was and still is because he never told me his name. He thought it would be a sign of weakness for us to know each others names so ‘uncle’ it was. But I instantly fell in love with Oxford and I spent all of my time roaming its ancient streets and libraries. It was during this period that I really became interested in world history and found myself devouring history books on a daily basis. The two books that had the biggest impact on me in 1982 were Jane Fonda’s ‘Workout Book’ and a book about the Romans which were a sort of large, perverted group of Italians.

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The Jane Fonda book really helped me to learn a lot more about myself and the book about the Romans cemented my determination to become a historian. I should say at this point that a lot of you will be thinking ‘but Henry, you are a world-class entertainer with a series of hit shows, the most recent of which was a musical version of ‘Enter The Dragon’; with you in the role of Bruce Lee, (see picture below) what’s all this history stuff and wanting to be a historian?’ Well, even though I am a genius on the stage, I have only been performing for five years. Before which I was a highly acclaimed history author with (self-published) books such as ‘The History of Walls’ (which I also adapted into a musical but more of that later), ‘The History of Huey Lewis and the News’ and ‘The History of The Dramatic Pause’. But again I jump ahead in this, my life story. Despite my huge intellect I had never stepped foot inside a school and so on the 6th September 1982 I attended my first day in school and I think it’s safe to say without sounding arrogant that the English school system had never seen the likes of me before and the whole English schooling system would never be the same again…

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Promotional poster for my musical version of Enter The Dragon.

MY CHILDHOOD

The rain trickled down the window, due to the fact that it was raining outside. The temperature outside was cold due to the fact that it wasn’t warm. The day was the 3rd of January, eight days after my sixth birthday on which I’d received the gift of a can opener off my father and my mother had sung me the song ‘I’m In The Mood For Dancing’ by The Nolan Sisters from start to finish whilst crying. Despite both of these considerate gifts my mood was darker than a  panther in a bin bag, due to the fact that Canterbury had refused my plans for the redesigning of the Whitefriars Shopping Centre and also because my father had accidentally shot my mother the previous day. A double whammy of pain that still makes me shudder to this day. Below is a picture of Homer Simpson shuddering to give you a visual aide as to what I am doing now as I write this.

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Obviously the rejection from Canterbury council was a body blow but I was more upset about my mother’s death. I’d noticed that things between my mother and father were becoming strained due to the fact that I was perceptive and a genius, added to the fact that they had argued every night for three months. Different people react differently to grief, I had retreated into my make-believe world where I worked in a video rental shop with Beverly D’Angelo who played Ellen Griswold along side Chevy Chase in the National Lampoons Holiday films. Those imaginary days were some of the happiest of my young life and Beverly would always calm me down whenever imaginary people were late returning their imaginary videos back to the store – what a woman.

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My father, predictably, reacted very badly to the accidental shooting. In fact, looking back, I think that was maybe the period he went mad as all he did was laugh for days on end. I’d never actually seen him happier, it was very sad to see. Him and I had never been close but the accidental murder of my mother drove an even bigger wedge between us and we spent less and less time together. He began drinking heavily and staying out until the early hours with his friends whereas I took solace in my books during the hours that my imaginary video shop was closed.

It was during this period that my genius really began to take off. I would devour books like a tortoise devours cake, reading everything from Nietzsche to Nabokov. My intelligence grew tenfold which culminated later that year when I invented the disposable toaster. My father was never around to make me go to school so I schooled myself in mathematics, science, English, German and business studies (the imaginary video rental business is ruthless). I also took a keen interest in wildlife and spent hours at the local zoo. I felt a bond growing between myself and the animals in the zoo and I would often talk to them about the troubles I was encountering in my life. My favourite beast of the animal kingdom is the dolphin

A Dolphin.

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The following three years pretty much followed the same pattern of schooling myself, talking to animals and running the imaginary video store with Beverly but I was beginning to outgrow my surroundings and my feet were becoming itchy which is a metaphor for wanting to see the world. But what would happen with my father? That question was about to be answered…

 

MY BIRTH

It is always hard to know where to start when writing about one’s life but after much deliberation I have decided it best to start with my birth. I was born on the 25th of December (the same day as Christmas) 1974, almost two thousand years after the birth of Jesus Chris, the son of God. But I wasn’t the son of God, I was the son of Geoffrey and Maude von Stifle. They didn’t know it at the time but they had just given birth to a genius, me. My mother and father were hoping for a baby girl and so they were initially disappointed when their baby girl came out with a penis attached to its groin. I obviously didn’t know about the disappointment that they felt but it soon became clear over the course of the next 16 years, but I jump too far ahead…more of that to come.

My father was an inventor and enjoyed success with his invention of the tin opener with bottle opener attachment but also suffered some major disappointments with inventions such as  top hats designed specifically for horses, the 7-wheeled push bike, the electric comb, apple and coal toothpaste, the air-conditioned shoe, bacon soap and the shoe umbrella (see below).

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My mother was the real bread-winner working as a professional singer in pubs and clubs in and around Canterbury. My mother had a truly unique voice, a sort of mix between Simon le Bon and Johnny Cash. With Mother bringing in somewhere between £40-£50 a week and the royalties from my fathers tin opener we had a pretty good standard of life in Canterbury and I never went without anything during my early years apart from regular meals and warm clothing.

My routine as a baby was pretty much like any other baby’s, up early everyday, lots of crying and regular shitting but even though I didn’t know it then, something was different about me. My parents were staggered at how quickly I was learning new things, by the age of 14 months I could say the name of 8 different shapes (rectangle etc.) , 17 colours (green etc.) and by the age of 4 I was almost walking unaided. I just seemed to pick things up in an instant, my brain working like a sponge, soaking up information like a sponge soaks up water and by the age of 3 I had designed a new patio for the family home. I quickly moved on from patio’s and by the age of 6 I was making plans to redesign the Whitefriars Shopping Centre in Canterbury.

But being a child prodigy brought with it draw backs of which I will tell you next time…