Monday 29th January 2007
I was round at a friend's house tonight. During a lull in conversation I realised my face had settled into an expression of confusion, which did not correspond with how I was actually feeling. It had just occurred by happenstance. I was not in the least bit perturbed.
But I was aware that my friend would have spotted my lying face and would want to know what was troubling me. Within seconds I was sure she would ask me. What could I do to avert an embarrassing situation where I would be asked why I looked upset and then have to say, "For no reason. My face has just fallen this way, despite the fact that I don't feel in any way confused."
I would look mentally ill and probably in time lose the friendship of my friend. She'd probably pretend to be my friend for a while, but would have decided to casually drop me from her circle of acquaintances in the next few weeks. All thanks to my stupid deceitful face.
I had to think fast and a plan formulated in my mind. A lesser man might have immediately put his face into a non-concerned expression and hope the incident would pass by unremarked, but I knew the damage was done. And I am not a lesser man than myself. In many ways I am entirely equal to me. I made a decision to go the opposite way. I made my face look even more disconcerted than it had before and started looking round the room as if I was seeing it for the first time.
"What's wrong?" my friend asked.
"Nothing!" I said, wondering if I should tell her what I was doing. It might terminate our friendship immediately or provide us with a bond that would keep us amicable for the rest of our lives. I took the chance.
"I was pretending that I was Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap and had just leapt into this body."
She looked at me for a second. There was a chance that she would not understand the reference. But then she really laughed.
"You really were doing that, weren't you? I saw the way you looked round the room trying to get your bearings."
"Yes," I admitted, "I really was."
She laughed again, like I was the most mental person she had ever met in her life. "Not the whole time, to begin with I was just looking confused for no reason and the Quantum Leap thing was just an idea of how to get out of it."
She laughed even more at my stupidity and I laughed too. Maybe it would have been better if I had just told the truth about my lying face straight away. Perhaps by lying I had made myself look even stranger.
Luckily we both carried on laughing. I was enjoying wondering why Sam Beckett would have ended up in this relatively dull situation. What problem was there to solve?
Then I realised that he would probably have to leap into my body to try and rescue the friendship I had just destroyed with my eccentric behaviour.
I am not mentally ill.
Here are the answers to the cast quiz:
One of the "Absolutely" gang- GORDON KENNEDY playing my character's brother-in-law
Someone who appeared in my favourite Mike Leigh film-
CLAIRE SKINNER playing my character's sister (Life is Sweet is my favourite Mike Leigh film due to what Jane Horrocks does with the chocolate sauce)
Two of the cast of "Lionel Nimrod's Inexplicable World" - Me playing Ian (no points) and REBECCA FRONT
playing Ian's sister-in-law.
The person who I watched "Kinky Boots" to check out - SARAH-JANE POTTS playing Ian's girlfriend
Someone from the brilliant TV show "Outside Edge" - ROBERT DAWS playing Ian's brother
And the grandparents are played by a couple who appeared in a notable ITV sit-com of the 1980s - It could have been Keith Barron and Gwen Taylor, but is in fact ANTON RODGERS and JULIA MACKENZIE
Ian Potter, Mike Eveleigh and Barry Shapiro got 5 out of 7. Ian (the idiot) chose Kevin Eldon (who wasn't even in Nimrod) instead of Rebecca, even though he'd found an old newsletter in which I name checked Julia and Ms Front. Rebecca was the one I expected everyone to get. So it's amazing he still got 5.
But now I am setting a tie-breaker for Barry, Mike and Ian only. It is - How many pages long is the 2nd read-through draft of YCCYF. The closest to the correct number will win the script, though I won't be allowed to send it until after the show has been broadcast. Good luck.
All the dates for the Talking Cock tour can be found here
Buy the Talking Cock book here
Get your name in the "We're All Going To Die!" programme and give money to SCOPE by donating at least £15 (the more you give the bigger your name) here.
Buy Fist of Fun series 2 - here (series 1 also available).
"What is Love, Anyway?" also recently released.
You can subscribe to this blog on Kindle. Now only £0.99 a month here. Or just carry on reading it on here for free.
Also on your kindle (or any smart phone or tablet with the kindle app) catch up on the early years of Warming Up (with extra retrospective additions) with Bye Bye Balham and The Box Lady and Other Pesticles (only £3.53 each)
[ Email this edition of Warming Up to a friend ]