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).

4-orangina

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.

 

 

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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.

librarian2

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….