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Wednesday 22nd September 2004

Once again I experience the wonderful surrealism of heading to Europe to see a man doing my old show in a language I canÂ’t understand. This time I found myself in Denmark being met at the airport by a tall stranger with stary eyes and a moustache called Peter. That is the man was called Pete. I donÂ’t know if he had a name for his moustache. If he did I presume he would have chosen a different name than Pete to avoid any confusion. Though probably if he did have a name for his moustache he would keep this fact to himself and thus he would be able to call the moustache Pete as it was unlikely that he was going to confuse himself. LetÂ’s assume that Pete did not have a name for his moustache though. I think this is the most likely scenario.
Pete was holding a sign saying “Richard Herring”, which is what made me think he was waiting for me. He could of course have been a rubbish fan who couldn’t afford to get a T-shirt or scarf made with my picture and name on it. He might just have written my name on a piece of paper so that he could wave it as I went past, but again this seemed unlikely. I don’t think I have much of a following in Denmark and I had got quite close to Pete and smiled at him and tried to establish eye contact for a few seconds before he finally recognised me. But for a few moments there was the possibility that this was my only Danish fan, who also happened to have named his moustache after himself.
Peter was awkward, but friendly and I thought he had a slight facial resemblance to Adolf Hitler, the Chancellor of Nazi Germany. But he was a benign and lanky Hitler. Perhaps if Hitler had been a benign and lanky Hitler then things might have turned out a lot better for everyone. But alas that wasnÂ’t to be. IÂ’m sure Hitler had a name for his moustache and I feel almost as certain that that name was Adolf or maybe Dolphie.
Peter was a technician at the theatre in Taastrup where the Danish Cock was going to be staged and for some reason seemed to think that I had travelled over from Glasgow. Why he thought this was never explained. Just as I met him he asked “Did you fly direct from Glasgow or did you change at Heathrow?”
I said, “I didn’t come from Glasgow. I came from London. I came from Heathrow.”
We stood for a while seemingly contemplating this information. There was a strange silence and although I thought that we might start moving out of the airport this didnÂ’t happen for a while. Maybe Pete had been waiting for a different Richard Herring. A Scottish Richard Herring. Maybe he didnÂ’t know whether the fact that I was called Richard Herring was enough. A few more moments of nothingness went by. Then Pete decided it was time to put the Glasgow debacle behind us and go to our transport.
Pete took me to a big van with a big man with a grey beard sitting behind the wheel. I got in and we set off. ItÂ’s funny how you can be prepared to get into a van with two strange men who you have never met just because one of them had a piece of paper with your name on it. Even though one of them looks a bit like Hitler.
But the piece of paper is everything. You can trust that piece of paper. Even Al Quaida would not dare to abuse the authority of the piece of paper being held up in an airport.
Pete and Per (as the slightly demonic Father Christmassy driver was called) turned out to be friendly and did their best to keep the conversation going. I liked them both. As well as being slightly scared that maybe the sanctity of the piece of paper had been abused and they were about to take me away somewhere to be their mutual sex slave. Pete was trying a bit hard to be friendly. He was staring a bit too much. Maybe this had all been an elaborate kidnap plot. But maybe Pete and Per had been meaning to kidnap the Scottish Richard Herring and I’d become unwittingly trapped in their bizarre plan. But their van had “Teatre Taastrup” written on the side of it. So all in all, like the moustache name thing, the unlikely explanation seemed unlikely.
Pete played with his moustache a lot though. Maybe he whispered “Pete” under his breath. I can’t be sure.
Going abroad to see foreign versions of a show you have written about penises is a surreal experience.

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