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Thursday 4th March 2004

If the man who told me he was going to break my legs was trying to unnerve me, then he has done a good job. Though, at the very least, I suppose it is better to be forewarned that there might be someone lurking outside your home wanting to hurt you, than to have no idea. It means you can at least keep an eye open for men carrying crow-bars and then attempt to avoid them.
Ultimately, I think it's unlikely that the threat was genuine, but it doesn't stop me being a little bit scared by it. It's like when we doing the first series of Fist of Fun and a man rang up the BBC to say that if the next episode was transmitted he would blow up television centre. We didn't really think that he would, but we listened to the tape and it didn't sound like a joke: in fact it sounded quite earnest. It made me aware of how vulnerable I was as an individual. We had no money at the time and couldn't afford basic security on our own homes, let alone a bodyguard. I think the BBC beefed up the security for the next recording, but they didn't offer us any kind of help outside of the building. I remember being a bit frightened by a strange looking bearded man sitting towards the back of the audience during the next episode. He looked like pure mental evil. It turned out to be Wil Walker, a long time fan who often contributes to the guestbooks on our websites. Although his puns might cause some bodily pain (though never through laughter), I don't think he'd ever actually physically harm anyone. But that's always been the problem with my and Stew's audiences: if you banned all the people who look like they might blow up the building at any second, you'd be playing to some pretty empty theatres. All right Wil, before you say anything, some even emptier theatres than I currently play to. Banbury clearly operates a policy of banishing anyone who looks remotely suspicious.
So today, feeling a little nervous, I left my house for my daily run (wondering if this might be the last time I ever got to use my legs effectively and also trying to work out how much having your legs broken would actually hurt). A few steps into my journey, I passed a man coming out of a gateway on my street on a bicycle. He looked right at me and said, "Aaah!". He didn't say "Aaaaaah!" like a fan who had seen us on TV and was aware of our sketches about Jesus (the first of which, I'm guessing, was the cause of that bomb threat all those years ago). He said "Aaah!" in that way that sort of implies that you have suddenly finally understood something. But that was all he said. And he didn't offer an explanation of what new knowledge he had suddenly acquired.
The very small problem with being me is that because I was on some fairly obscure TV shows in the late 1990s I occasionally get recognised by people in the street. However, it is only very, very occasionally. Maybe ten times a year. This is only problematic in that I do want to be polite to these few people who (generally) appreciate my work, which means that I am never sure whether the mental looking person approaching look mental because they are a fan or because they are a mental. Avoiding eye contact with a stranger who wants to compliment you is rude, achieving eye contact with a genuine mental is a disaster.
This problem is compounded if you have recently had a threatening phone call warning you that the sturdiness of your legs is in imminent danger.
So was this slightly odd-looking fella on the pushbike a) someone who had just realised where he had recognised me from (probably my appearance as a policeman on one of the early Ant and Dec Channel 4 sketch shows), b) an insane person who had access to basic transport, but who could not prevent himself making unfortunate and senseless utterances at inopportune moments or c) a hitman sent by a gangster to case my joint and work out my pattern of behaviour, so that on another day he could hit me with a crow bar, before disappearing into the maze of the one way system around Shepherd's Bush on his bicycle.
Was it an "aaah" of recognition, an "aaah" of feeble mindedness or an "aaah" of - "So he goes for a run at about midday. This would be a good time to take care of the leg breaking that I have been employed to do". Or was it an "aaah" of someone thinking, "that's the bloke who was on that TV show with the sketch about Jesus where everyone said, "Aaaaaah!". I will try and say his catchphrase to him, but after all these years I can't quite remember how to do it properly. He's running passed impressively quickly, I'd better just give it a go and hope it comes out all right. Aaah! No, that wasn't quite it. Why is he looking so scared?"
This is my curse. That and having people want to physically harm me, because of the likely behaviour of the previous occupants of my house. Ah well, makes life more interesting.
I think I am just going to assume that the countdown clock on my website it the amount of time to my death and enjoy the 44 days that are left to me to the full.

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