Tube Tales: Friends With No Benefits


Just one of the grisly exhibits at Friends Fest 2018.

By Ben Pensant

Two weeks ago Theresa May visited Newcastle. Yes, really. Not content with squatting in PM Jezza’s house for the past twelve months she also shits all over his proud history by delivering a sermon to the proles from the same venue that hosted one of his greatest triumphs.

Indeed, the assorted resting actors, non-binary creatives and unemployed craft beer entrepreneurs who witnessed Jezza’s triumphant rally on the Sagebrush carpark last year are known to speak of it in the same reverential tones as ageing punks reminiscing about that seminal Clash gig at the Soho Hippodrome in ’79.

Freya, a young friend from the Communist Party of Lowfell, summed up Corbyn’s speech in the starstruck manner you’d expect from a turbo-woke millennial with purple hair and a chronic painkiller addiction: “He was like ‘yeah!’ and I was like ‘yeah!’ and we were all like ‘yeah!'”. In fact, Freya confessed to me she was so bowled over by Jezza’s spine-tingling performance she celebrated by rushing home and sucking her own cock.

I bumped into another comrade that night who was still staggering around in a euphoric daze an hour after Corbyn had left the stage to a 20 minute ovation. Marcus told me had no idea what he’d just witnessed but knew he had to write a song about it. “Is this what heaven tastes like?” he mumbled between mouthfuls of mungbean tea, smirking deliriously as the ethically correct beverage dripped down his elongated chin.

Thousands turn out for Jezza’s seminal speech at the Sagebrush Arena

We hugged, Marcus assuring me of his commitment to crushing capitalism before adjusting his GoPro, fastening his Kashmir scarf, and hurtling down the road as fast as his Trek Madone 7 could carry him. (He would’ve stayed for the aftershow poetry session but had to be up at 11 o’clock sharp to show an Iranian diplomat and his 12-year-old mistress around the Baltic.)

But most memorable of all was the call-to-arms from the gravel-voiced immigrant orbiting the hypnotised crowd from a lamp-post while gargling with warm Merrydown, who yelled ‘AM GANNA FUGGIN BRAY THE BAZDA LORRAYUZ!!’ to rapturous applause before pissing on the back row’s rucksacks.

I’ve no idea what language this brave open borders enthusiast was speaking, nor do I understand the symbolism of the broken bottle wedged down his yellowy-brown underpants. (The temptation for grown men to shed their clothes in Jezza’s presence can be quite overwhelming). But Corbyn’s gift is his ability to turn weather-beaten middle-aged blokes into quivering wrecks, with little time for such fascist concepts as ‘words’ and ‘sentences’.

This swarthy traveller – let’s call him Ibrahim – almost stole the show, with his shaven head, olive skin, and satirical tattoos of tits and swastikas. And I’m certain he spent that night beaming with pride, albeit through mouthfuls of blood and broken teeth after jumping off the lamppost and smashing his face off the tarmac. Few of the lucky socialists present will forget the roar that went up as he tried in vain to kick the paramedic with his shattered ankle.

All of which underlines what a sick joke it was to allow such an iconic location to be soiled by Mavis May and her alt-right shit-show, designed to convince working-class wank-stains that Brexit isn’t the worst disaster since the Black Death but actually jolly super. The shame of knowing my home town had thrown down the welcome mat for this lying hag was almost as great that time I accidentally called Jacob Rees-Moog a man instead of a cunt.

The same crowd turn out once again to protest Theresa May.

Thankfully she was gone by nightfall, sent packing by the die-hard Corbynites who sacrificed an afternoon of shut-eye to don duffel coats and wave banners. Sadly, wicked May bribed the local press to publish cropped photos giving the impression barely anyone turned up. So rather than a huge crowd of courageous protesters, Chronicle readers were led to believe the demo consisted of two drama students, three Islamists, and that short-arsed orange-haired yank who looks like Tommy Pesci in JFK, wears a beige flasher-mac, and can be seen lurking in frame every time Corbyn is snapped ‘oop north. (BTW, Jez, he sends his love and apologises for what happened at your hotel in York. He hopes the lovely Laura wasn’t too disturbed to be awoke at 3am by a naked man crying, though perhaps you should tell her it goes against the spirit of socialism to keep someone so awesome all to herself. He’ll tell you all about it in person once he gets released.)

Sadly, the ink had barely dried on my incendiary ‘TAXI FOR THERESA!’ banner before an even more rotten freakshow rocked up, striking fear into the hearts of frigid Gender Studies professors everywhere. For that very same week, Friends Fest came to town.

Or rather, ‘Fascist Fest’. For the uninitiated, Friends was a white supremacist ‘sitcom’ that debuted on Channel 5 in 1992, turning a generation of vulnerable youngsters into racist, fat-shaming, transphobic, misogynists. I was 14 when it first aired but mercifully avoided indoctrination as I was too busy reading Marx and Ingles to watch a gang of rich white people sexually assault each other. Though I do recall lying in bed, trembling as my racist parents guffawed at the endless gags about foreigners and sang along with the godawful theme tune: ‘You wanna go where everybody knows you’re white…’

Channel 5 even had the nerve to schedule it on Saturday nights after the equally vile Fraser, which shamefully attempted to mine laughs from a Republican (Kelsey Grandma), his queer stereotype brother, and a crippled, corrupt cop. They even gave tried to normalise the latter by giving him a talking dog, for fuck’s sake.

Meanwhile Friends ran for a whole decade, warping young minds with its sordid blend of offensive jokes and Zionist propaganda, before being put out of its misery in 2006 when a new generation of Guardian journalists decided that what was previously considered a warm, witty show about as problematic as a petting zoo was actually the work of sinister gay Nazis intent on normalising eye-popping wisecracks about G-spots and sandwiches.

That the show featured a running gag about a character’s refusal to share food sums up its selfish, uber-capitalist mindset. And it’s no coincidence that the MAGA shit-lords who cast their maiden vote two years ago were gullible teenagers when Friends was in its prime. How the NY apartment block these privileged cretins lived in survived both 9/11 and the Roverfield monster is a mystery as perplexing as ‘who stole Ash Bukakke’s shoe?’. Though having glanced at the surnames of the shows’ creators, it’s a knocking bet the cast and crew just happened to be told not to go to work on those fateful days.

The Friends cast pause for a group photo en route to a Klan meeting.

Due to a combination of Reaganomics, far-right fervour, and a sextet of photogenic actors just itching to be wanked over by promiscuous westerners, the show was a soaraway success, with many of its most contentious ‘jokes’ going unnoticed at the time due to the fact that in the ’90s people were really stupid.

For instance, two decades ago no-one batted an eyelid at the casting of cisgendered b********l f****e Kathy Turner as a transwoman. These days, five outraged tweets would be enough to see her replaced by a suicidal flasher with hands like shovels and a written contract stating he must be allowed to share a dressing room with Angelina Aniston.

Audiences back then also had no problem with crude jokes about overweight people and how they all all deserved to die. Today the sight of Courtney Love mugging for laughs in a rubber fat-suit would have the botox-addled actress accused of incitement and forced to express solidarity with the big-boned by eating her own weight in Space Raiders.

And most revoltingly, in the ’90s a retarded Latin beefcake winking at ladies and harassing them in coffee shops may have seemed like harmless flirtation, but in 2018 would be the equivalent of flipping a woman on her back, spreading her legs open and bellowing “How you doin’?” up her fadge.

Which makes Friends Fest all the more inappropriate. For despite belonging to a forgotten era in which people thought rich white men pretending to be gay was hilarious, someone decided now was the perfect time to rebuild the sets from the show and take them on tour. And who could blame them? With the far right rising and comedy writers thinking they can mock whoever they like, there’s never been a better time to spread some nastiness. And what better place to bring this carnival of hate than Brexit Britain?

The entrance to Friends Fest was almost as disturbing as what lay within.

So after buying a bulletproof vest – after Jo Cox I take zero chances – I stole some money from my mam’s purse, nervously purchased a ticket, and made my way to Heaton Park to witness this fresh hell with my own eyes.

Approaching the site I was struck by the varied ages of attendees: children, teenagers, thirtysomethings and pensioners united by fascism. Then it hit me – they were nearly all women; the same treacherous harridans who voted for Trump and Brexit. And even worse, they were blissfully unaware of their own vulnerability.

So, mindful of the possibility that such an environment could conceivably incite me to commit four rapes before lunchtime, I immediately cleansed myself of all sexual desire by using the best method at my disposal: hiding behind a burger van and masturbating furiously three times in a row.

Amazingly, I got through it in four minutes 37 seconds – a personal record! – though it would’ve been much quicker were it not for the foul-mouthed bimbo who screamed and threw a can of Vimto at my bell-end. Luckily, her ridiculous claim that I was ‘playing’ with my ‘willy’ was given short shrift by the security guard, and despite her shock I’m sure the whole experience could prove invaluable to her when she starts big school.

Capacity to commit serious sexual assault removed, I made my way around the site taking in the micro-aggressive exhibits: a yellow taxi cab with the Indian driver erased; a settee halfway up a staircase, abandoned while the cast members wait for a black removal man; and most damning of all, that grim symbol of our money-obsessed ‘me first’ world – a coffee shop.

Central Nervosa holds its weekly anti-racism event.

Indeed, as well as fleecing unearned wealth from trust fund hipsters, this particular foul-smelling cash cow was modelled on Central Peak, the communal hub from Friends where characters would meet to discuss white power and laugh at Palestinian genocide. I won’t lie, the mental image of these brazen neo-cons slurping filthy lattes without a thought for the malaria-addled Tanzanian labourers forced to grind coffee beans with their feet brought tears to me eyes. Though luckily I managed to cheer myself up by remembering how Jezza’s ‘brother’ Abdul Aziz Umar dealt with coffee shops filled with Zionists.

Needless to say, the crowd that turned out were exclusively white. Sure, I spotted several blacks, the odd Asian, and even a couple of Muslims swanning around like slaves allowed in the big house for dinner. But much like St Jezza is politically black, these servile drones were basically white, as anyone with a liberal arts degree knows an authentic person of colour wouldn’t be able to afford a ticket.

All of which compounded the horror of this grim spectacle. Indeed, navigating the site with its grim colour scheme and painful memories I couldn’t help thinking how similar the experience was to visiting Auschwitz. The difference, of course, is that unlike the holocaust Friends actually happened.

So with trepidation I entered the main attraction: three living, breathing sets from the show. Knowing I was about to stand in the exact same spots where the most hateful images of the last twenty years were created made me nauseous, and I’m certain I’d have tipped over the edge completely were it not for the fistful of adderall I necked beforehand.

Johnny (Matt Bianco) stalks his latest prey.

First up, the ‘lad’s pad’ shared by Johnny, the aforementioned Latin sex-pest, and his wisecracking homophobic flatmate That Chandler. It goes without saying their lair is practically a shrine to misogyny, with its table football, fridge full of beer, and reclining rape chairs. Knowing how many sexual assaults took place in this fake apartment made me feel physically ill and I’d never have been able to forgive myself for setting foot in this chamber of horrors had I not drawn a cock and balls on That Chandler’s cushion. But if I though the horrendous sexism of these two alpha-males was problematic, nothing had prepared me for the yo-yo knickered sluts next door.

Monaco emerges from her dressing room having gone ten rounds with Tom Skerrit.

Because you’d struggle to find a pair of women more consumed by self hate than Racquel and Monaco. As I walked around the garish living room I winced, aghast at the multicoloured crockery, over-puffed cushions and bloodstained knickers. The thought of all the times these poor, hateful creatures were sexually exploited by everyone from Bruce Lewis to Magnum PPI brought my animal instincts to the boil, and it was only the fact that we weren’t granted access to the girls’ bedrooms that stopped me taking five minutes to re-purge myself.

Rees (David Schumer) daydreams about world domination.

Finally we ended up in possibly the most abhorrent location of the whole series, the opulent penthouse owned by lizard obsessed Jewish ‘scientist’ Rees. Needless to say, by this point I’d seen enough and no amount of plush furnishings, climate change denial essays or ornamental arab skulls could keep me in this godforsaken place any longer. Realising my delicate brain could take no more – and mindful of the suspicious glances security staff had been giving me since that 4-year-old Nazi verbally abused me behind the burger van – I bailed.

Bebe prepares to play a private gig for  her genocidal namesake Netanyahoo.

As a result I never made it to the abode of ditzy blonde Bebe, though I can only imagine what indignities existed within its walls having earlier endured her X-rated paean to promiscuity ‘Smelly Cunt’. However, I’m willing to entertain the idea that the aromatic vagina referenced in the song was a result of performative free-bleeding in which case: go girl! It’s a relief to know you aren’t all slaves to conformity.

But to anyone considering a visit to Friends Fest I have one piece of advice: don’t. If, however, you absolutely must experience the ordeal first hand I’m more than willing to help you cope with the trauma. Indeed, for the tiny sum of a warm blanket, two flasks of coffee and a three figure donation to a charity of my choosing I’ll quite literally be there for you.

Could I be more virtuous?









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