How And Why
- by Paul Belben -
I am Hubertus Wawra, born on a Sunday in the communist east of Germany and raised as a catholic. When I was a small boy I wanted to be a singer or a priest, but it did not happen that way so I quickly developed an attention deficit disorder and the ability to set my toys on fire. Aged 15 I witnessed the fall of the wall, lost any respect for politics and formed a desire to destroy much bigger objects. My parents advised me to learn a proper job so I went after a good school graduation to study the hotel business. I do not know if it was my love for burning ties or the fact that I need to have the last word, whatever it was though I did not stand a chance. Alone with my burning talent I turned my back on Germany in the year 1994. They didn’t seem to mind…
The great escape
I stuffed my stereo system, my records and my bed in an old VW Golf and drove in a cloak and dagger operation to London. The English were very happy and the Queen promised me safe conduct.
In London town I met a mighty wizard called Mr. Milton Grover and he enchanted me with his bright shiny eyes and said: “You gonna be a big clown”. In the spell of this magic I went to the circus school “Circus Space” in September 95. I learned how to throw things up in the air and catch them later when I needed them again, how to ride a unicycle without breaking my neck and how to seduce an audience without breaking theirs. But soon it became obvious that I was not going to be a second Houdini, and so I returned to the basics. In a dream I met Blixa Bargeld and he said: “less than half the world is made of teflon and asbestos, the rest is yours to burn”. This was all I needed to know. From now on nothing could stop me.
In June 96 I had my first show as a fire spitting juggler in the Circus Space Caberet, but the audience only laughed about my funny German accent.
The famous Rave Circus “Escape from Samsara” was searching for new artists and thought I was good enough to keep the queue in front of the door in a good mood, so they engaged me as Fire Fucker for two years. Out there on the London pavements it was colder than a communist’s codpiece and so I made a virtue out of necessity and set my self on fire. I did not want to burn alone and so I formed a fire performance group, “The Pyromaniax”. We kept each other warm with funky beats and larger and larger explosions. Here was where some fans called the police, but others called me, “Master of Hellfire” and here it was that I tried out my first homemade flamethrower on them.
Soon we got to Covent Garden and later we would tour through all the clubs of London. We celebrated something like success. The “Tribal Gathering Festival” in England and the Dance Valley Festival in the Netherlands were to follow and I was just about ready to believe that I was making it, but then came the crash.
The return to Germany
On hearing of my newfound destructive powers the German government decided they wanted me for their army so that I could become a real man and use a real-man’s flamethrower, so they called me back to Germany in December 98 for national service. I never wanted much to be like a real man, and still believe that green is the wrong colour for a flamethrower, so I decided for the civil service where fire things are red. It was a nightjob because I was working behind a bar in a youth hostel . At night I had lots of fun and in the daytime I worked on a show that was intended to top everything I had ever done before. At that time the legendary Flexshow began and while I was still in the service of my country I was invited to the TV Show “Money or Love” as Flexman.
The Pyrox and re-flex
I stayed in Germany, because the money was better and fewer people laughed at my accent, forming a new band called “The Pyrox” in April 2000. The guys I found were as hard and as thick as German steel and soon I found myself back as a frontman of a Heavy Metal Band.
In the same year I met five guys who were music producers. They called themselves re-flex and believed in techno like I believe in fire. In January 2001 they invited me to play a part in a music video for their new single “Ubap”. The Video, in which by the way Estefania Bohlen played my assistent, turned out to be a cultclip on Viva and the single landed in the German dance charts on No. 23. Suddenly I was a star and invited to grind in every nightclub all over Germany. I was too young to realize that that sort of music business had less to do with music but more with being beautiful. I was beautiful but fire makes a lot of dirt and so the groupies thought of me always as the stagecleaner rather than a popstar. My unhappiness kept growing and so I left.
How to build bombs
In this time I learned a lot about artists and about those who wish they were one, and due to the increasingly large stage shows in which I performed, I was compelled to make my fire and explosions legal. So I went to schools for pyrotechnics and made all the certificates that you can get in Germany. Today I can proudly call myself an official licensed pyrotechnician for stage and outdoor fireworks and for special effects in movie and TV productions. In other words I am allowed to build a bomb, bring it to you and set it off.
This opened a new career path for me and soon my phone was ringing with requests to blow up cars and buildings. However, if I stood on stage people compared me with Rammstein which annoyed me a lot. I wanted to change something about my perfomance.
The Circus Clown
So it came that I went in January 2003 to a show from circus FlicFlac. I was stunned by what I saw and after the show I bumped into the boss. He asked me there and then if I would like to come the next day to show him my number. So I came, armed with angle grinders and flame throwers. I remember the feeling very well that overwhelmed me in the big empty circus tent. But even more I remember the suprised faces of the curious artists who came to watch me as, without any script or plan I dragged out one machine after another onto the stage and showed them my inventions. The boss came again to me, this time much more carefully, and said that he would like to see me in front of an audience as a comedy number. I did not have any idea what he was asking for and said yes. One day later I returned again to circus FlicFlac, it was a Saturday, not one empty seat in the tent and I was supposed to be the funny guy. I died a million deaths but when I entered the stage I decided to tell the audience the truth. “Alright Folks, this here is a sort of a job interview and up there sits my boss, if you laugh I get the job, so please laugh.”
The audience laughed a lot actually and after the show I was holding my first circus contract and had been accepted as the clown, the pyrotechnician and the host of Germany’s most modern circus for the next two years.
Stand Up Comedy
The laughs of an audience are like a drug for me and so I decided to stay in the funny business after my two years with the circus were over. Luckily I met the songwriter and Stand Up comedian Vicky Vomit who asked me to join him on tour. I wrote my first Stand Up material and toured with him through comedy clubs all over Germany. In December 2006 I won an audience comedy prize in the “Hamburger Schmidts Theater” and as if the destiny did not want me to be a Stand Up man, FlicFlac called me on the same day to offer some more bags of money to get me back in the circus. I stayed with circus and variety and just in case I don’t get the opportunity in real-life, I would like to use this chance to say thanks to everybody who came and helped forming me into what I am today.
Thanks, you were the best audience I ever had.