Monday 16th January 2012
Shepherd's Bush is a place where a man will take your life in return for a Chicken Cottage 2 piece meal. If you leave your car unlocked or a window to your house open (or even if you don't) someone will be in like a magpie/ferret hybrid to relieve you of anything they think they can sell for another wrap of smack. It is essentially a town that is beyond the law. BUT, if you leave a pair of swimming trunks lying on the pavement for over an hour, no one will touch them.
That's the code. Even the drug addled, half zombies who inhabit these radioactive badlands respect a man's right to exercise and to not be forced to swim in his pants.
I headed out to the gym for a swim today. I had nearly not bothered to be honest, but I didn't want to break the chain - already 8 crosses long- so I thought I'd jump in the car and go to the pool. I had quickly packed my bag and clearly not stuffed my swimming trunks into the top efficiently enough. I had nearly forgotten them all together. What an idiot I would have looked, arriving at the pool with no trunks.
I had wanted to go down earlier, but had had to wait in for a delivery so it was late afternoon, when I got to the gym. I looked through the window into the pool and it was rammed. Each lane had four or five people in it. Kids were cavorting in the bit that was not in lanes. My heart sank. There is nothing worse than a slightly overcrowded pool. Not even cancer. Or a very over crowded pool. Slightly overcrowded pools are the worst.
Luckily I was pretty much wearing my gym kit, so decided to do a work out on dry land instead. Which was lucky because when I got to the changing room I discovered that my trunks were not in my bag. Perhaps they had fallen out in the car (they hadn't - I've already told you where they are, losing all dramatic impetus in the process), but I couldn't be bothered to go back and check, especially as I was now not going to swim. It would be foolish.
After a good 50 minute work out (Playing Monopoly on my phone whilst I was on the exercise bike made the time fly by) I headed back to the car. The trunks were not there. Where had I dropped them? Perhaps somewhere in the walk to the changing room. I couldn't be bothered to go and ask if they'd been handed in. It seemed somehow undignified. And anyway they might be in my hallway at home.
But they weren't. The trunks were exactly where they had fallen, on the pavement by where my car had been parked at home. Untouched even by the most desperately naked tramp. Not even put on a wall by a concerned passerby. Just left where they had fallen. Unless someone had picked them up, put them on and then worn them for a hour before taking them off and returning them. THAT IS POSSIBLE.
The people of the Bush hold me in too much reverence to steal my swimming trunks. In that regard I am untouchable. Though they don't mind slashing the tyres of my car or stealing my mobile phone out of my hand. The trunks is as far as their reverence goes and is as much as I deserve.
Thinking today was my lucky day I decided to relax and watch Pointless before dinner. I like this anti-Family Fortunes quiz show. It is my favourite of the 500 Alexander Armstrong vehicles on TV at the moment. Halfway through a round was announced about comedy double acts and I wondered if I might be included in this. Sure enough it turned out that 100 people had been asked to name the partners of various comedians, one of whom was Stewart Lee. Looking down the list of very famous names I immediately knew that our rather more obscure double act was likely to be a low or even a pointless answer. I didn't know how to feel about this. I keep claiming that I am glad not to be famous, but to have my lack of fame confirmed by poll and then rubbed in my face whilst I was trying to watch TV AND by someone from a rival 90s double act who have gone on to huge success... would my ego be able to take it?
I was pretty sure that none of the contestants were going to get this one right, especially after one said that David Mitchell's double act partner was Howard Webb and then the next said that Stephen Fry's was Hugh Lloyd. The point values were revealed and only 2 out of the 100 people asked had known my name. It was amusing to me mainly, but also a mild punch to the gut (lucky I've been to the gym so much so it didn't kill me). That's show business. Someone kindly pointed out that that was 2% brand recognition which would equate to 1.2 million people in the country being able to name me, 15 years after any major collaboration. But it still stung and I hadn't expected to have to contemplate the fortunes and misfortunes of my chosen profession. In an alternate Universe maybe I am presenting Pointless and doing slightly weak adverts for insurance and Pimms, whilst Alexander Armstrong is sitting at home, having just picked up his swimming trunks out of the gutter and considering recording himself playing himself at snooker.
I know which Universe I'd rather live in.
Why God? Why? Why have you done this to me?
At least Alexander Armstrong still remembered me. Of course he does. He sits at home laughing at my life and how he is much better than me, shouting, "Who won the battle of the 1990s double acts? It was us in case you were confused."
On the plus side only one person knew that Noel Fielding's comedy partner was Julian Barratt. Take that Mighty Boosh, you fucking losers. We're twice as popular as you. Some might say that it might be a sign that you're a good double act if no one knows who you are, but not me. Lee and Herring 2, Mighty Boosh 1. Fuck you!
And talking of someone who used to be on telly playing snooker against themselves in a basement, inspired by the rubbish "good snooker" on TV, I recorded frame 6 of the Me1 vs Me2 podcast (also available from iTunes). All the Mes involved had a lot to prove today after the debacle of frame 5, the whole future of person versus himself snooker might depend on this frame being exciting and properly commentated upon. Even commentator 2 seemed to have his tail between his legs. And I am not being cocky or employing invective when I say that this afternoon I participated in what was the greatest podcast of all time AND the most exciting sporting event of the 21st century. Some dazzling play and an evenly matched tussle, with more twists that a hundred Flumpses. You will be wasting your time if you DON'T listen. Spread the word. This is definitely my route back to the big time.
In fact next time Pointless do double acts, one of the choices will be Me 1 and 100% of people will immediately respond Me2! In fact I won't rest until Me2 is hosting Pointless (maybe with commentator 2 taking the roll of the expert at the computer) and Alexander Armstrong
has the dust of the mean streets on all his trunks and underwear and steals his shoes out of one of those charity shoe banks they sometimes have at the side of the road. I don't do that though. And anyone who says I do is lying.
Seriously though, what the fuck went wrong with my career?
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