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Wednesday 2nd February 2005

I’m in Cardiff for the shooting of the first heat of a Celebrity Poker tournament for Challenge TV. If I win the whole thing I get £25,000 and a fancy hat. It is to be screened in March. However my contract forbids me from discussing the result until broadcast. If I come first in the heat I will go straight through to the final, if I come second I will go through to a play-off with everyone else who came second, the winner of whom will also go to the final. Both those games are played tomorrow. So if I lost today then tomorrow I will be back in London.
Romeo from So Solid Crew was one of my opponents. That’s right, look impressed. Also playing were John Thomson from off of the Fist of Fun dating agency sketch (don’t think he’s done anything else since then), Rory Mcgrath from off of Who Dares Wins (don’t think he’s done anything else since then), Shaun Williamson from off of being Barry from off of Eastenders (who I thought had died when he got pushed off that cliff, so good to see him back and Ann Savage who works as a DJ in clubs all around the world and who was really cool and who thus I had never heard of before.
To see if I triumphed over these mega-celebs you will have to watch the show, or scan tomorrow’s entry and try and work out if I am in London or Cardiff (there may be clues).
In a break from the action we came out for a toilet and drink break and John Thomson got a phone call, which relayed the unhappy news that Malcom Hardee has drowned. Malcom was one of the pioneers of alternative comedy (in fact I believe he claimed to have invented the phrase). He is also one of the eccentric and crazy breed of comics who don’t seem to crop up in the comedy world any more, but who are brilliantly celebrated by the opera-director Stewart Lee in this poem
You might have seen him do that naked balloon dance on telly some time. He had a habit of greeting you by saying “Oi oi!”, something we copied for the character Terry in “Time Gentleman Please”. On top of all this he had the biggest testicles in show business, only to be trumped in the scrotal stakes by Jenny Agutter’s dad (bigger testicles, but show-biz? Hardly, Hardee). But I leave you to imagine how Jenny Agutter’s dad proved this to Malcom.
Weirdly we had been talking about this very story only this morning, whilst waiting for our car to the studios. Malcom isn’t someone I talk about very often, so it’s strange how he cropped up today. We’d mentioned Glastonbury and I had reminisced about the time that Malcom had painted his testicles with luminescent paint that was used by some flamboyant juggler to do his act in the dark. I feel I was there to witness this spectacle, but in all likelihood I wasn’t. I was probably asleep in my tent. I miss out on everything.
Malcom will be remembered for more than his gigantic and occasionally luminous testicles, but even if he wasn’t, I would argue that being remembered for your gigantic and occasionally luminous testicles is enough.
A life well lived.

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