Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Heckled in Chelmsford

Ann Widdecombe and I have done around 50 or 60 of our theatre shows up and down the country, but never has a member of the audience got up, shouted to us to 'F' off and stormed out of the theatre. Until last night in Chelmsford, that is.

It was near the end of the second half when an Agnetha Faltskog lookey-likey asked Ann about equality laws. She explained why she had voted against most of them and then started talking about the Chris Grayling episode and how it's supposedy impossible to express Christian viewpoints especially on gay issues. Normally in these evenings I regard my role as a prompt rather than an aggressive interviewer, because, after all, people have come to see her rather than hear from me. But once or twice I like to have a bit of a row with her on stage as the audience seem to like it. So I then ripped into her but, as you would expect, she gave back as good as she got.

At this point a young guy in the audience, who had already heckled during an earlier question on the coalition, got up and shouted, "F*** off" and started to walk out. He then turned again gave us the finger and shouted "F*** off you homophobes" before flouncing out, followed by his very embarrassed friend.


The only heckling we have ever had before was a couple of years ago when a woman in a box turned out to be blind drunk.

On both occasions, it was the audience who turned on the heckler. As compere, I didn't really have to so anything.

At the end of the show a man came up to Ann and he said: "I'm a Christian and I'm gay and I agree with what you said." There's always one!

Our next show is in Salisbury on Saturday 19 June.


The Grim Reaper said...

Not sure exactly how you could be a homophobe, Iain...

Rebel Saint said...

That really is the most frustratingly nauseas thing about the gay Mafia ... they just don't practice the tolerance they demand from others (even to the point of criminalising them).

Brian said...

How very dare he!

Ian Matthews said...

So what did the heckler expect? A damascene conversion from Ann Widdecombe on stage? Seems to me he came with the intention of doing exactly what he did.

I love the juxtaposition between the heckler and Iain - two very different approaches to disagreement.

Unsworth said...

He was probably expecting an entirely different kind of show. Still, Chelmsford, eh? You know all about Essex, I guess - hence Tunbridge Wells.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I would have loved to have been a bum on a seat at that one.

Wouldn't it be delightfully ironic if you were arrested for "making homophobic remarks". Not a far-fetched scenario, is it? The Police are besotted with gays at the moment like they are their new best friends, but since they lack discernment and common sense, they might easily take your butch, manly demeanor the wrong way.

Sorry, but I am writing this and laughing my socks off. How very dare they?

Talking of bums on seats (safest place for them, from what I hear), does the idea of North of the Border scare you and Ann, or will you be chancing your arm in Scotland one day?

Alister said...

I always remember two sayings in case like this - one is attributed to Voltaire but is a by Evelyn Beatrice Hall expressing Voltaire sentiments
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Minds are like parachutes: they only function when they're open. - 1st Baron Dewar (No.83)

Additionally if it was a Rabbi or Iman saying these (as they come from the Old Testament) would the heckler be anti-Semite or Islamophobe?

Returning Scot said...

Today I'm returning home to the land of heckling, strong opinion and 'say-what-u-mean', from one of the quietest, most well-behaved, accepting nations on the planet...I have no idea which one I prefer.

Moriarty said...

Sorry about that glass of Merlot too many. Essex always does that to me.

steve said...

I have a gay Christian friend. He hates how the left use homosexuality(and race and poverty and religion) for its own ends. He believes that if people were left alone to do as they so pleased in private we would all be better off. The British way as he calls it!!!

Unknown said...

Good to see that he took his own advice!

Hamish said...

"Heckled in Chelmsford".
Is that what you want on your gravestone?
Iain, you were one of those who opened my eyes to the potential of blogs. Most blogs in the past were clumsy and difficult to navigate. You were always ahead of the pack.
Time to move on.
You will wear yourself out if you go on trying to compete in the twittersphere or radio presenting.
You can write: build on that.

Michael Heaver said...

Sounds like an utter nutter to me.

OBC News said...

Sounds like a Ben Bradshaw wannabe.

strapworld said...

What did you mean, Iain, Only one gay christian?

DespairingLiberal said...

So that's all very jolly and lovely then.

Yet, as we saw for example on Black Farmer the other night, (the C4 programme about a black Tory candidate standing in Chippenham) the reality is that the Tory Party remains a hotbed of racism and homophobia.

I think you just repeatedly attempt to gloss this with your little stories but nobody is fooled. The marvel is that you manage to remain within such a reactionary state-within-a-state.

Lady Finchley said...

Why don't you just do one, Despairing Liberal because reading your dross comments makes me despair.

DespairingLiberal said...

Lady Finchley - did you not see "Black Farmer" then? The following are quotes from local Tory activists in that programme:

"Well, you weren't born here and you shouldn't be here". (To the black candidate)

"Send them home".

"Can't stand them myself".

"I have nothing against coloured people as such, but they should accept being called coloured. I can't see why that bothers them".

And so on. And on.

It isn't me that should be causing you "despair".

Rush-is-Right said...

a woman in a box turned out to be blind drunk.

So are you using a conjuror as your warm-up act Iain? (And if I was going to be sawn in half I'd want to be blind drunk too!)mance

Unknown said...

My wife was in the audience and she found that episode upsetting.

Her comment on hearing of your blog post was that "it gives Chelmsford a bad name".

Iain Dale said...

Eb, I am sorry your wife was upset. It certainly wasn't very pleasant for anyone.

Gary Mills said...

I believe Widdecombe's voting record on legislation for gay rights is 17 votes - 15 against and two missed votes - so one can have some sympathy with the heckler. Sadly, the man who spoke to Ann and Iain at the end and agreed with her was my partner - I will eventually speak to him again

Gordon Brown said...

I thought that this article was hilarious when I read it this morning. Great pity you don't have the video for Youtube.

Never realised you were so anti-gay Iain. Tut tut!

Andrew Holt said...

As I am the gay Christian mentioned at the end, I would like to clarify that I agreed specifically with AW's point that B&B owners - as they are in their own home - should not be forced by one part of equality legislation to have to give up their own equality (of religious belief) in refusing a gay couple. The problem is that freedom of religious belief has become lower in importance than other freedoms and that was where Ann and I agree.

As I am in a civil partnership I clearly do NOT agree with her voting record on gay rights in general, but I would defend her right to hold her opinions on religious grounds even where I disagree with them.

Gordon Brown said...

Interesting to hear that the point was regarding the Berkshire B&B case.

My parents went on holiday to Ireland in the late 1960's, touring around by car before they were married. My Dad must have been at least 36 and my mother not far behind. They needed somewhere to stay for the night so looked for a B&B. My Dad found a small place so went to inquire, leaving my Mum to sit in the car.

He walked up to the house and talked to the owner who said he had rooms available.

"Are you married?", inquired the host.

"No, we're not actually", replied my father.

"I'm afraid I can't let you stay in which case."

My Dad returned to the car, told my mother the news and they couldn't stop laughing. You see, you gayers are not the only people to have suffered discrimination!

I only heard this story from my mother 2 months ago, a few days after my father died.