Joshua Maddux and the Dangers of Extreme Chimney Sweeping! (16.3.2023)

Extreme Chimney Sweeping is an obscure pastime invented in the UK following the highly popular re-imagining of the works of Charles Dickens by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 2008. This date is important so bear it in mind. During Victorian England in the 19th century, small children were often sent up chimneys by adult chimney sweeps as a means to dislodge substantial deposits of stubborn soot and carry the rods to which large brushes were affixed. This was an arduous and time-consuming process not without its difficulties and dangers. Indeed, so many children lost their lives that the British Parliament was forced to pass legislation outlawing the use of children in such activities – and instead replace a childhood of productive endeavour with the requirement for young people to be educated instead. The problem was that the dream of sweeping chimneys by hand could not so easily be erased from the psyche of White Europeans – a people who liked to darken their skin on occasion and mimic the African people they liked to enclave. 

What does this have to do with Joshua Maddux? A good question if ever one was asked. He was a committed musician who liked to play the guitar and write music, but unbeknownst to his family, Joshua had recently discovered the works of George Formby and had secretly taken up the hobby of strumming the ukulele and watching old films featuring the Black and White Minstrels. This led to an appreciation of Al Jolson and things did not improve from there. Although Joshua understood that it was politically ‘insensitive’ to blacken his skin whilst he re-enacted old negro spirituals to add a sense of authenticity – a High School friend of his named Andrew Newman suggested a way around this predicament that no one else would suspect. About a mile from his home was a former whore house and gambling den that had not been used for over a decade (owned by a local businessman named Chuck Murphy). Anthony knew for certain that since its construction during the 1920s, the chimney had never been swept!  

This is the really clever bit. Anthony suggested that Joshua could make a huge Internet statement if he combined ‘extreme chimney sweeping’ with the unpopular activity of ‘blacking up’ (this was in 2008)! Black people would not mind, Andrew reassured, as they would think he was Black and merely being oppressed by the White man! After stripping naked and inserting himself up the chimney feet-first, he could cover himself in soot, clean the chimney and simultaneously sing ‘Mammy’ whilst hanging upside down and strumming a Ukulele! Andrew would film the entire affair and Joshua would become an overnight sensation on YouTube!

From what I can gather, Joshua turned up a few days earlier for a dress rehearsal without his Ukulele – just to run through the dynamics of the planned procedure – but things did not go to plan, and he got ‘stuck’ up the chimney! Two days later Andrew showed up as planed with a camera and was stunned to find his friend already inserted up the chimney and dead from hypothermia! Obviously, Anthony panicked and pulled the breakfast bar from the crumbling (adjacent) wall and covered the entrance to the fireplace in an attempt to produce an ad hoc sense of ‘sanctity’ – and to stop the raccoons from nibbling upon the extremities of his friend’s remains! Following this rushed attempt of an entombment – Andrew Newman fled to New Mexico where he encountered a copy of Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf – and embarked upon a career of murdering disabled people and raping young women!  Meanwhile, the ‘mummified’ body of Joshua Maddux was not found for another seven years (during 2015) – when the building was being demolished to make way for a Ukulele School!