“Anyone can legally buy lock-picking tools and pick locks to their hearts’ content,” Chris told me. “But O2 seem to think they have it in their power to say only people over 18 can buy them. It isn’t the law and I’ve been on the phone to them for two hours. I now can’t even access my own business website on my own O2 phone.”
“But they haven’t targeted other sites selling lock-picking tools?” I asked.
“No,” Chris laughed. “They’ve only gone for the largest and most respected purveyor of fine lock-picking devices.”
We went for tea in Frith Street. He said there was something he had to tell me.
“Cleo Rocos” Chris told me, “has spent the last ten months working with a master brewer or distiller or whatever it is in Mexico or – fuck knows – somewhere in South America or Central America or somewhere and she’s brought out this new range of tequilas. It was my friend’s birthday last night and my friend has been obsessed with her since she used to get her ample assets PVCd up on the Kenny Everett TV shows”
“Obsessed?” I asked.
“Obsessed,” said Chris. “He stalked her. He had a map with crosses on it to triangulate her whereabouts until he found out where she lived. Absolutely true. Yesterday it was his birthday and I’m on some quite heavy back medication which he stole from me. Well, I gave to him, but I said Let’s pretend this is stealing so that, if you do die, I’m in the clear.
“He took that and said Right, Cleo Rocos is doing a promotion for her tequila, so I would love to go up there and I said Look, I don’t drink. I don’t want to get involved in those horrible situations. He said Please! Please! You’ll be my wingman! I said I’m not a wingman. I’m not a straight man. It’s not my role. I will ruin this for you.
“Anyway, we go up there and he’s rubbish because he’s so nervous and he’s sipping his tequila – it’s a shot of tequila – and he asks Cleo What cocktail is this? and she’s like Wha-a-a-a-t? Ridiculous. So she starts talking to me. I charm her so well by accident that she ends up giving me her card. My friend and I leave. He’s crying. He’s my best friend. He hasn’t spoken to me since last night and I don’t even know if he’s still alive after taking my back medication. He walked off crying. So I’m in a very strange mood this morning. I’ve upset my best friend and I’d like to dick Cleo Rocos and it looks like that might happen. So that’s good and bad. My best friend may kill himself, but I might get to have sex with Kenny Everett’s sidekick.”
“Do you think she’ll mind being mentioned in a blog?” I asked.
“I’m charming,” said Chris. “I’m very charming. But I want to tell you about Nick Broomfield.”
“The internationally-acclaimed documentary film maker?” I asked.
“Yes,” said Chris. “Louis Theroux is like Nick Broomfield lite, isn’ he? And there’s a couple of others…. So I read in an Observer article last Sunday that he’s made a film about the Chinese brothels in Central London which I assume will be here in Soho and Chinatown because that’s where they are: there are about 80 round here. He’s got loads of undercover footage so, immediately, my Facebook wall and my Twitter is covered with people saying It looks like you’re going to get some more airtime. The chances are you’re going to be in it.
“My show at the Edinburgh Fringe next year is going to be based on the fact that in around eighteen months I spent in excess of £200,000 on Chinese prostitutes.”
“When did that finish?” I asked.
“Just before I went to Thailand and wrote my Sex Tourist show,” he told me. “It ended around July 2011. So when I read that Nick Broomfield had made a film and he’s got undercover footage of it, I’m amazed if I’m not in it and I can’t wait to be in it. He may well digitize my face, but I’m covered in very distinctive tattoos – they’re all writing, there’s no pictures. So hopefully I will be identifiable and then I will be able to sue him for one penny. I don’t want the money off him, just the suing.”
“What would you sue him for?” I asked.
“Err… err…” said Chris. “I’ll find something. He didn’t get me to sign a release form. He might think no-one would like to draw attention to what they’ve done. I’d love to draw attention to it. I’m an atheist, but I am praying to my atheist god that I am in that documentary – clearly me – because I do some weird shit.
“When they’re out of the room, waiting for me to get undressed, I’m making sure there’s nothing unpleasant in my anal crack, dipping my penis under the tap quickly just in case the prostitute I visited an hour before has left anything unpleasant there. Cos sometimes I was doing three or four Chinese prostitutes a day.”
“What might be in your anal crack?” I asked.
“Well, usually poo,” replied Chris laughing.
“And how did you get £200,000 to throw away?” I asked.
“Ah!” said Chris. “That’s an interesting story. I’m going to give you some key words which I think will keep me free of incarceration. If I were to give you the words… my past importing cocaine and selling crack… and say you could use those words in any order you like to create a picture of how I might have earned that money… Easy come, easy go… I learned Mandarin in Chinese brothels in London. I can hold a very basic conversation in Mandarin.”
“If you learnt the language in brothels,” I said, “isn’t the spread of words you know limited? You can’t really go into a vegetable shop and ask for things.”
“Well,” Chris told me. “I do occasionally go into the Loon Fung on Gerrard Street to buy food and I can certainly ask How much does that cost? and there are certain Chinese terms like Mama foo-foo which means So-so but the literal translation is Horse-horse tiger-tiger.”
“So,” I asked, “you’ve been buying a lot of strange things from the Loon Fung?”
“If you come round my house for a hamburger,” said Chris, “be prepared.”
“But back to Nick Broomfield,” I said.
“I’ve contacted his management,” Chris told me. “I’m guessing, if his film is being released this year, it’s probably been shot in the last two years and, considering I was doing two or three a day or more for that eighteen month period, I’m hoping to hell that I’m in the documentary. Not because people can see my nasty white arse go up and down but just because it makes me laugh a lot. I like the thought of being in it.”
“You did two or three a day for eighteen months,” I said. “Why?”
Chris was flummoxed.
“Why have lots of sex?” he asked, incredulous.
“Why Chinese prostitutes?” I asked.
“I’ve got ‘yellow fever’ – I love Chinese prostitutes; I love Asian prostitutes.”
“That’s a question about taste I could never possibly answer. (Gay comedian) Scott Capurro said to me that having sex with an Asian man was the nearest he’d come to having sex with a woman.”
“But prostitutes?” I asked.
“I’ve blurred the boundaries. I’ve become very good friends with a lot of these women.”
“Because you live in Soho yourself?” I asked.
“Yes,” said Chris. “I have had three lives in Soho. When I was a child, I used to come up here to buy magic tricks. Then I had my mid period when I was selling drugs for ten or fifteen years doing ‘the Dean Street shuffle’ – Gerry’s – French House – Colony Club. And now I’ve lived here about four years, where I’ve been ‘clean’ and just doing stand-up… and,” he added as an afterthought, “laying down.”
“I think it depends on your definition of ‘clean’,” I suggested. “But you encounter all these people socially too, because you live in Soho.”
“Yeah,” said Chris. “I’ve been out to dinner with them.”
“And you are doing an Edinburgh comedy show about Chinese brothels next year?”
“Yes,” said Chris. “I’m going to call it Chinese Wank Shops with the tagline In 18 Months I Spent in Excess of £200,000 on Chinese Prostitutes.”
“Doesn’t the constant subject of prostitutes put women off you?” I asked. “Women are not going to be wildly attracted to a man who puts himself around the brothels of Soho.”
“They love it,” said Chris. “I get fan mail… I get so many comedy groupies… They see my show and then they Facebook or Tweet me: Hello. I saw your show. Would you like to have sex?”
“Your Sex Tourist show at the Edinburgh Fringe a couple of months ago didn’t seem to have only men in the audience,” I observed.
“Well,” said Chris, “Kate Copstick’s excellent review in The Scotsman of my excellent show pointed out the audience was made up of old, young, male and females, singles and couples. All laughing hysterically. I have no wrong or right audience. I’ll make anyone laugh. Mathilda Gregory’s 5-star review of Sex Tourist in FringeGuru said it was an “all-conquering clash of ego and touching vulnerability” and I that had “moustache-twirling charisma”.
“How,” I asked, “do you make knobbing prostitutes for money acceptable to comedy goers?”
“Well,” said Chris after a pause. “It’s not my job to make it acceptable. It’s their moral outlook. They have to critically evaluate the evidence they are presented with and not be idiots. If they want to base their understanding of prostitution on ITV series about police and whores and make massive mistakes, then they should do so.”