Puffing Zephyrs With Joseph Pujol

J and I woke up this morning to a truly beautiful day; the sun was shining in a blue and nearly cloudless sky; the birds were twitting; the air felt crisp and clean after the torrential rain and a walk beckoned.

Alkanna mughlae
one of the rarest plants on the planet Alkanna mughlae critically endangered endemic

We set out for a short wander to Kocadere Vadi (Valley), a truly beautiful place that seven years ago we were fighting alongside fellow villagers to preserve from the despoilers who wanted to quarry it out and build a cement factory. Kocadere is home to some critically endangered flora and fauna as well as being visually stunning!

Anyway, all that aside, we were, as I said, ambling along accompanied by the

Le Petomane farter extradinaire
Joseph Pujol 'Le Petomane' the perfect gentleman

twittering of birds, the tinkling of running water and the occasional interjection from various wind instruments. All of which soon had me thinking about a certain Monsieur Joseph Pujol, aka ‘Le Pétomane’, a very famous entertainer of his day. More of him shortly . .

Before that I need to fill in with a few minor bits of information: A number of years ago J and I were stopped short by a very worrying medical report that had our blood pressure and cholesterol going through the roof. We had not been very sensible about what we considered to be good, healthy farm produce. Shock duly applied and noted, we determined that from that moment forward we would eat less dairy and red meat stuff and tuck in with gusto to lots more vegetables. This was sensible and has proved to be a life lengthening policy as our condition is stabilised (pretty much).

Which brings me nicely to the link between walking, vegetables, music and Monsieur Le Pétomane – namely, flatulence!

Young Joseph discovered at a very early age that he had the ultimate trick up his grubby trouser leg for impressing other young boys who measure status by how far one can spit or how high up a wall one can pee. When I was 10 years old, the fact that Raymond Castle (may this disclosure get him sacked as captain of his golf club) could pee right over the lavvy wall really impressed me but left me totally pissed off! Joseph Pujol had such control over his abdominal muscles that he could suck up water via his anus and then jet it out over a distance of several metres! After he joined the army he was able to entertain and delight one and all with displays of his prowess, and, no doubt get out of boring ‘fatigues’ as we called unpleasant chores.

About this time he learned that he could also ingest air via the same orifice and expel it under control using his sphincter muscles and produce satisfyingly musical or theatrical effects.

Joseph Pujol Le PetomaneBy 1892 he was the star attraction at the Moulin Rouge performing for such luminaries as the Prince of Wales and Sigmund Freud, who probably based an entire branch of psychiatry about anal retentivity on the show! The highlights of his performances include blowing out a candle from several metres away; sound effects such as thunder and cannon fire; such renditions as ‘O Sole Mio’ and ‘La Marseillaise’ which he played on an ocarina with a rubber tube stuffed up his arse! Ladies and gentlemen, I kid you not – go check out on the internet.

After taking his show on the road he added a sort of ‘Old MacDonald’s Farm’ ditty with appropriate animal sound effects and the pièce de résistance was his stunning farting impression of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906! I bet that brought the house down!

The maestro retired in 1916 and died in 1945. We will not see his like again! Or so I thought. Which brings me very nicely full circle and back to my walk with J this morning. As I am under a ‘serious and imminent threat’ (to quote successive US presidents) of retaliation or even a pre-emptive first strike if I dare to mention J’s name in association with any of this, I will not. Suffice it to say that we both eat an awful lot of vegetables; we are both getting older (and you know what happens to your muscles as you age; ‘Slack Alice’ was not a teenager!) and J is a graduate of the once prestigious London School of Music!!!

hilarious silent film from 1900 like listening to a ventriloquist on the radio!!

just as funny!

Alan Fenn,Okçular Köyü


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