Henry von Stifle: Music and Me

I’ve always been very musical and music has played a big part of my life ever since my father threw an oboe at me when I was 6 years old. Up until 2006 I had never thought of performing music but after being so cruelly overlooked as a backing singer for Martine McCutcheon’s UK tour I decided to prove her and all my doubters wrong.

I started by forming a band and placed an ad in Melody Maker looking for like-minded people. Within two weeks I had my band. I was on vocals, Nigel was on cello, Tucker was on the glockenspiel, ‘Mad’ Dave was the kazoo player and we had Sophie on another cello. After much debate I decided to call ourselves Bon Jovi but two days later I found out that another band from New Jersey in America already had that name – where are they now?! After another lengthy brain storming session we agreed on the name Dexy’s Midnight Runners but that too had already been taken. Eventually we got it right and we were known as Abandoned Sandals.

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Abandoned Sandals

 

We started rehearsing with gusto and I managed to get us a tour of the pubs and bars of Torquay (the English Riviera). At first everything was as I had imagined being in a band to be, adoring fans packing out pubs such as The Bull and Bush and Ryan’s Bar, free bottled water, sandwiches and sex! Not that I was having sex but some people who came to the gigs or just lived in Torquay were having sex and I rode the wave. But slowly musical differences and tensions within the band began to emerge. Nigel and Sophie began to argue who was lead cello player. Then ‘Mad’ Dave accidentally dropped his kazoo into a toilet. The loss of the kazoo was too much for me to take and we disbanded later that day – no more Abandoned Sandals.

But I wasn’t ready to give up on my dream of being a successful musician just yet so decided to strike out on my own. Working on my own meant playing all of the instruments myself so I gathered anything I could play and set about recording. After a few hours I noticed how brilliant it sounded! Who would’ve thought that finger cymbals, a tambourine, a maraca and some spoons would have sounded so modern and  so full of vitality!

I called the piece ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout Them Blues (Sad Face)’ and the critics hated it. But the public, well they absolutely despised it. I’d never experienced venom like it.

With my confidence shot, I was about to give up the musical dream but fate was about to take a twist like the way The Sixth Sense ends with Bruce Willis turning out to be a decent actor. ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout Them Blues (Sad Face)’ was used for an advert on Romanian TV for a herbal nipple cream and BOOM! the song was suddenly being played everywhere! Bucharest bounced to the bass line, Vaslui vibed to the tambourine and Cluj cried to the sheer beauty of the finger cymbals. The song began to climb the singles chart eventually selling over 800 copies!! I toured Romania extensively and it became hard to walk down any street without being recognised, people would see me and say ‘Nipple Cream’ – I felt so alive!

I quickly recorded a follow-up single, ‘Hey, Hey, No, Put It Down and Smash the Melon (Rub It On)’ which was also used in an advert for Romanian TV but this time for a rival herbal nipple cream company. The country again went wild for this new cut and my place in Romanian pop culture was sealed. The Romanian people took me to their hearts and in return I took them to mine and I stayed in Bucharest for 8 months and became fluent in roughly 25 Romanian words.

But like all good things in my life, it came to a grinding halt one day. The repetetive use of the finger cymblas was starting to make my fingers a bit sore and sensitive. Eventually the constant friction caused my fingers to start bleeding and become infected. I was told I had a choice to make – stop playing them or risk losing my fingers. I empolyed other musicians to play them for me but none could ever match my intensity with them and I sadly lost my ‘sound’.

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Finger Cymbals. Cymbals for fingers
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Animals of Earth

As many of you may know I absolutely adore animals! I love animals more than anyone, so lets not argue about it. I’ve spent many a days out in the fields, the forests and other places that animals live in. Here are three pictures of my favourite animals ever!

Giraffe

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Despite having the longest on the planet, a giraffe only has three bones in its neck! #wow

Leopards

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Leopards are the fastest animals on Earth! #wow

Monkeys

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Monkeys are our nearest living relative! (Do we still need them now that we have evolved?) #wow

The Top 5 Funniest Moustached Comedians

There aren’t many certainties in life, less so now after all of the turmoil this Earth has suffered over the past 100 years with war and famine a part of daily life. But somethings in life are certain, death, taxes and people with moustaches are funnier than those without. Period.

I myself wear a moustache and I am one of the funniest people I know. But I’d like to take a moment to honour those that came before me, that blazed a path that I now stride along like a comedy colossus. I give you the top 5 funniest moustaches in comedy, ever!

5. John Cleese

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Basil Fawlty and his moustache

People always knew that John Cleese was funny from his appearances on Monty Python but it wasn’t until he grew a moustache for his role in the British sit-com ‘Fawlty Towers’ that people really began to appreciate his genius. Cleese’s moustache oozed character and often carried the show with its clichéd scripts and uninspired acting and helped him win a BAFTA for best comedy performance in 1980.

4. Groucho Marx

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Groucho Marx and his FAKE moustache

‘Henry this Marx bloke is an imposter!’, is probably what you’re screaming at the screen right at this very minute but hold on there, hear me out. Have a sniff of some nasal inhaler and calm down. Yes, Groucho Marx did not really have a moustache. It was in fact boot polish, believe it or not?! But he did so much for moustached comedians and their reputation that he deserves a mention. For years rumours abounded about the authenticity of Marx’s moustache as it’s performance in ‘A Night at the Opera’ was so convincing! Finally, in 1976, three months before his death, Groucho revealed that his moustache was in fact a fake, finally bringing an end to one of the biggest mysteries in the entertainment industry.

3. Leigh Francis

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Leigh Francis, sophisticated.

Ever since Leigh appeared on our screens in ‘Bo’ Selecta!’ people have known that we are witnessing a special talent but it wasn’t until his appearances on ‘Celebrity Juice’ with its banter about the size of ladies boobs and his penis, that we really got to see the genius within. Without the moustache Leigh’s comedy would be crass and tacky but thanks to a moustache that says ‘I’m in control’ his performances are on another plain to all other comedians around today.

2. Cannon and Ball

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Cannon and Ball and Moustache

Most people think that Cannon and Ball was a double act but it wasn’t – it was a triple act! Bobby Ball’s moustache was the funniest moustache of the 1980’s helping the duo reach the pinnacle of light entertainment. His moustache was cocky, childlike and edgy and helped them replace Morecambe and Wise, neither of whom had a moustache, as the best comedy double act Britain has ever produced. The three of them rarely perform together now but who will forget the moustache’s catchphrase of ‘Rock on, Tommy’? I know I will never forget almost wetting myself whenever I hear those three words.

1. Clive Dunn in Dad’s Army

 

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Clive ‘Don’t Panic’ Dunn

‘Don’t panic! Don’t panic!’ Hahaha, I’m absolutely laughing my head off as I write this! Yes, the funniest moustache ever is of course Clive Dunn’s in Dad’s Army, the British TV sit-com that ran from 1968 to 1977. Is there anything more I can add to what has already been said about Clive and his little but hilarious moustache. Men wanted to be him and women wanted to be with him. A little known fact is that Clive Dunn was playing a character in his 60’s but was in fact only in his 30’s which is just mental! But this illusion of age would only have been possible through the power of his moustache, not because of Clive’s acting skills.

So, there you have it. Proof, if proof was needed to show you that people with moustaches are indeed the funniest people in the world.

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….