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Tuesday 20th January 2009

So the great thing about historic days in the 21st Century is that you can witness them without having to get up from your sofa, where you've been sitting all day in your dressing gown. I could have got on with some work, but, you know, history was going on, on my TV and I had to watch.
Days off justified by history are few and far between. The last one I can really remember is the 11th September 2001, when I was reluctantly writing a TGP script with Al Murray, when I got a text about some planes hitting the World Trade Centre, then couldn't access the BBC website to find out what was going on and one of us muttered the immortal words, "Maybe there will be something on the TV news."
For the next seven hours, thanks to history, I was justified in sitting in front of the telly, mouth agape, not working. But Osama Bin Laden turned out to be a one hit wonder. What's he done lately? How many holidays has he given me? None. The big beardy idiot.
Maybe if he googles himself, then he'll find that and it will incite him on to more wickedness, but who will be the winner? It will be me. Not working. And justified.
Today's history was more fun and less horrific and more inspiring. And I had to watch. Not just because America had somehow elected a black president, but also because there had to be an excellent chance of an assassination attempt and I didn't want to be finding that one out by text. Admit it. That's what you were watching it for too.
I mean it was like Evel Kenevel on his motorbike. You knew it was dangerous, you knew there was a chance he'd crash and burn. You didn't exactly want that to happen. No, you would have been horrified. But it made it more exciting knowing that that could be the outcome.
And I really didn't want Obama to be killed. I really, really wanted him to stay alive and bring sense to America and peace to the world and basically do the whole new improved Jesus thing that everyone is anticipating, expecting and will be furious about if it hasn't happened within the first fortnight. But since he got elected I've been pretty sure that some nutcase would get to him before he was officially sworn in and so the first black president would never actually officially have been president and maybe George W Bush might have been asked to come back and see if he could properly fuck absolutely everything up with one more term.
I was pretty sure that there were forces within America, and not just tattoo-faced rednecks, who would not let this wonderful day come to pass.
So as the weeks have passed and the inauguration had got closer and closer I have got more and more nervous. But finally here we were and slowly - much, much too slowly, Obama was edging his way towards the White House to take his place in history and start clearing up the frightful mess the last occupant had left. I'm not referring to Bush's policy mistakes, but am saying that I am pretty sure that for the last eight years he has been defecating on the floor and daubing his shit on the walls and it's going to take the Obama family a while to clean that all up.
Even when he was finally in the right place, potential assassins had plenty of time to get their bullet or bomb or poisoned dart into their target, because the vice President got sworn in first, then there was music and singing and more speeches. "Get him sworn in already!" I cried at the screen. You're just giving them time to stop this. Once he's sworn in they can kill him - he'll officially be president, but they could do it now and all the good work will be undone.
And I was anticipating the assualt coming from behind him, not in front. One of the members of the establishment could just step forward and smite him and it would all be over. I wondered if W had been frisked by security or whether he could be packing a weapon. It would have been just like him to ruin everything personally, though it would have been such a dramatic moment that it might have been worth seeing. But eventually he was there and the swearing in began. And he totally fucked it up like a nervous bridegroom, coming in at the wrong time, having to get his vow repeated cos he'd forgotten what to say. It wasn't a good sign and didn't seem to get shown on subsequent news reports, but the pressure seemed to have got to him and he was falling to pieces. But then he must have been shitting himself, knowing how many people wanted him dead at this exact moment. Maybe that's why Bush never got to the toilet on time. He must have had that feeling every waking second. Actually he probably didn't, but he should have done.
Anyway Barack finally got the correct words out and didn't say "Oh fuck" and then pulled a face and laughed like I would have done. Then everyone cheered and suddenly in the crowd a load of cannons started firing. Jesus! You'd think with all the security going on that someone would have spotted those. It's almost like the secret services wanted Obama to die. Luckily, somehow, all the cannonballs missed their target and so Obama got to do his amazing speech. And he'd pretty much regained the ability to speak and what he said was pretty impressive and moving and inspiring and.... oh God our expectations can only be dashed though can't they?
But it was a reminder of how America can be (or maybe could be) great. And a reminder of why America is, at least in some respects, much better than it used to be. And a reminder that it is more admirable to build than to destroy ( which is why I must never be president) And a message of hope that maybe it is possible for people of all faiths, cultures and races to live together in harmony.
And he wasn't killed. No one even tried. Instead 2 million people gathered in the cold to cheer him and to jeer at Bush.
Enjoy this feeling Americans. Because in the short term the world might be getting to like you again.

In more historic and better news my new Bodum Latteo milk frother arrived today. Life is good again.
And while I am recommending things then why not check out Mustard magazine. I got sent a few copies the other day and have been chuckling away at them for the last few days. It's a comedy magazine that carries extensive interviews with really cool comedy people, like Michael Palin, Graham Linehan and Bain and Armstrong (who write Peep Show). It's put together by people who clearly love comedy and who are also pretty funny themselves and it's more like a brilliantly produced fanzine than a cynical attempt to market a comedy magazine (which has been tried and has failed on several occasions). It's only 2 pounds an ish (that's the cover price, but it costs considerably less on the website) and well worth that amount and it would be really cool if you all bought a copy. A bit like the Go Faster Stripe idiots. Love not money kids. Maybe I could be the new Obama after all.

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