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Pattaya Daily News

17 July 2010 :: 16:07:38 pm 31729

Joseph Pujol the Famous Farting Entertainer

Francois Pujol and Rose Demaury arrived in France as young children from Catalan. Francois grew up to become an excellent stone mason and sculptor and was responsible for the twisted columns on the Museum Of Fine Arts or also known or Parlais Longchamp in Marseilles, which can still be seen.
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Joseph Pujol, the eldest of five children was born on 1st June 1857, and was schooled until the age of thirteen when he became an apprentice baker.  His father later set him up in his own little shop in a building that he had built with his own hands in the Quarter St Charles Chuttes-Lavie, on the corner which to this day still bears his name, Rue Pujol. Joseph married Elizabeth Henriette Oliver, the daughter of a butcher at the age of 26 and went on to have 10 children.

During his youth, Joseph had a love for music and was a natural at singing and dancing. He performed for his parents and house guests and learnt to play a trombone though it was a very different kind of wind instrument that led to his fame and fortune.

It was while swimming at the age of 13 that Joseph became alarmed, when taking a deep breath and going under water, he felt icy cold water entering his rectum.  Frightened, he left the water and ran ashore, where he was even further shocked, as the water he had so easily taken in began to pour out in the same way. His mother took him to see the Phsycian who assure him there was nothing to worry about.

Joseph was to find that with practice he was able to take in any amount of water he wanted and with a little abdominal control, was able to shoot it back out at such force enabling him to hit targets and make water spouts. Joseph began practicing in secret with air.  He would take in air and let it out in such a way that it created sounds much like musical notes and imitating birds and beasts, later learning to blow out candles.  He used this talent to entertain his friends and once called up for service, entertained his army pals who gave him the nickname ‘Le Petomane’ which translates to ‘fartiste’.

When Joseph left the army he returned to his trade as a baker earning a name for the best bran muffins in the South of France, but began to feel restless.  He began putting on shows with his trombone routine, but could not contain the fartiste in him.

He eventually used his gift to begin playing simple tunes on a small flute he had made to his own specifications which led him into show business giving his first performance in Marseilles in 1887 at the age of 30.  His first performance was such a success he approached an agent which led to a tour in 1891 performing in Clerment-Ferrand and Toulon, Bordeaux, where he was examined by a Doctor.  The show which was a success was well reviewed in a local newspaper.

In 1892 Joseph, dressed in a red coat and black satin breeches with a pair of white gloves and looking very sophisticated, was finally ready to perform at the famous Moulin Rouge where he became a total success. He introduced himself, explaining that what he was about to demonstrate, was the art of ‘Petomanie’. He went on to further explain of his ability to break wind at will, assuring his audience, there would be no smell. Le Petomane, he was now known as, started with a series of simple sounds, displaying a wide range of tenor, baritone, and bass fart sounds, going on to cannon fire, and thunderstorms.  The second part of the show he imitated the fart of a little girl, a mother-in-law, a bride on her wedding night, the same bride on the second night, a stone mason and the sound of material being ripped. Later, after going backstage to insert a rubber tube into his rectum, he returned to smoke a cigarette from the tube and his mouth at the same time.  As a grand finale he played popular tunes with the audience singing along.

At the beginning, the audience was amazed at the bizarre show, but later uncontrollable laughter overtook them erupting throughout the theatre.  A few tightly corseted women in the audience fainted from so much laughing, while others couldn’t breathe and had to be helped out of the theatre.  This led to white starched uniformed nurses being posted in the hall of the theatre to assist in removing members of the audience when they became helpless by the laughing.
Le Petomane began private, men only shows to quell rumours that were going round of his shows being faked. He appeared in only a bathing suit with a large hole in the seat instead of his concealing costume.

He became an overnight success and became the highest paid and most talked of entertainer in all of France. Admirers saluted him as he passed them. He and the Moulin Rouge parted company in 1895 when the owner of the theatre sued him for breach of contract after he farted for members of the public at a market stall he visited. He was replaced by a female bellow powered fraud, La Femme Petomane who was critized by the media so harshly and humiliatingly, that she sued for libel.
Joseph opened his own theatre, enjoying many more years of success until in 1914, World War 1, four of Josephs sons went off to fight. One was taken prisoner while two were disabled. It was at this time Joseph went back to his bakery and worked it along with his sons and unmarried daughters. In 1922 he and his family moved to Toulon where he set up a biscuit factory that he gave to his children to run.

He spent the rest of his life there surrounded by his many loved children and grandchildren. His wife died in 1930 and he followed in 1945.  A medical school in France requested permission to examine the famous rectum, but the love of his family for this funny and loving man would not allow such a thing. Although Le Petomane was the most famous of fartistes, he was not the first. Professional farting has a long history throughout the world.

Sarah Goldman

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