Friday, 31 August 2007
Dogs. I can’t stand the bloody things myself. And the owners are worse. I swear that if Britain didn’t have dogs to look after, the national musical instrument would be the banjo. Want kind of person wants to teach tap dancing to a terrier? Have they ever wondered if a dog wants to learn to tap dance and what advantages a tap dancing terrier might have over the rest of the animal kingdom? It’s hardly evolution. Can you imagine in a thousand years the possibility that all dogs can tap dance. Nature will have weeded out all dogs with weak ankles or a poor heel-toe. There’d even be films dedicated to them. Little doggy versions of Gene Kelly splashing through the puddles or doing Busby Berkely style spectacles. Some people probably love the idea. If it ever catches on, though, you know who came up with the idea.
Before I go and hit the tonic water, here are some doggy facts. Did you also know that medically all dogs are cross-eyed but they have learned to live with the condition? Did you also know that dogs carry more parasites than rats? In fact, some bigger dogs have been known to carry small rats. In some countries, small rat infested dogs have been found living in the fur of larger mammals and that the original Lassie had a rat living in its coat for the first three films. Did you also know that Mae West’s favourite animal was her pet Alsatian? On the animal’s death, she had skinned and made into a hat. Mae’s Alsatian hat caused a huge storm of protests in the 1960s but for a short period of time, it was the height of fashion to wear a dog skin hat. Bob Dylan wrote a song about the trend but later changed it to a Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat when music executives refused to allow him to sing about his Labrador’s Rib Cage Hat.
Thursday, 30 August 2007
I always think it’s a shame that she’s never married and hasn't passed on all she knows about the countryside to a son or daughter. I know I'm passing on all I know about presenting a TV show to my kids. Clarissa knows so much that it's a real tragedy if it's lost. If only she had a son, for example, and he were to become interested in pheasants and their plucking, then I’m sure he’d be very pleasant too. In fact, I often wish I weren't so much a pleasant pheasant plucker but a pleasant pheasant plucker's son. The fact that I’m not disappoints me on a daily basis.
Okay, some facts about pheasants and pheasant plucking. Did you know that pheasants are rarely pleasant? They are one of the most vicious members of the avian family and have caused the deaths of countless game wardens over the years. With a razor sharp beak and extremely strong claws, a pheasant can cut you to the bone. They are prized for their feathers which produce one of the finest writing quills but they have to be plucked with great care. The feathers are sharp and contain a toxin which, if it gets into an open cut, can produce euphoria in a victim followed by a slow death. Being a pleasant plucker is not always as good as it sounds. You have been warned.
Wednesday, 29 August 2007
If you haven’t heard of it, YouTube is the latest internet phenomena allowing you to take copyrighted material and broadcast it free to the world. And because YouTube is owned by Google, there’s no chance you’re going to get sued by the original copyright owners. It’s also great for shows such as ours because we can also find work by talented unknowns which we can broadcast without having to pay them a penny.
Well, that’s the theory. Most of these talented unknowns seem to be young boys in bad vests miming to the Crazy Frog song. But that’s the way with the world. No matter how much you underestimate your audience, they will always surprise you with the things they find funny. I suppose it explains the popularity of Alan Carr. And why nobody has been filmed happy slapping him remains a constant disappointment to me.
Some YouTube facts for you. Did you know that YouTube has caused a surge in the number of youngsters learning to mime? Mime classes across the world are reporting record numbers of students. It has also contributed to the number of accidents involving dogs running into patio doors. In the US alone, last year, nearly ten thousand people lost one eye or more in comedy related accidents involving looking down the end of a hosepipe.
Tuesday, 28 August 2007
I’ve done some research ahead of the show so here are some facts John Humphrys facts I might not get to use in the interview. Did you know that John lent his name to the character played by John Inman in Are You Being Served? He is allergic to cockles yet has is a fully licensed diver, often spending his weekends searching for old wrecks off the Cornish coast. He began his career as a stunt double for Packtrick Macnee in the Avengers but turned to journalism after breaking a wrist when a stunt involving an umbrella and Emma Peel’s leather boots went terribly wrong.
Friday, 24 August 2007
I don’t know many times I’ve watched Death Wish, Death Wish II, and (the greatest of them all), Death Wish 3, but I do know that I'm in a minority when I say it’s the best trilogy in cinema history. Michael Winner directed all three and I think it’s a shame that he’s moved into making adverts for accident insurance instead of sticking with what he knows best, the business of taking an eye for an eye. Calm down dear! It’s only an snub nosed Beretta. Judy takes the opposite view of the films and claims they’re irresponsible and encourage people to take the law into their own hands. It’s why our own Safe Street plans have failed to get her blessing. She sees it as a kind of neighbourhood watch and I see it as gangs of our viewers armed with sticks with large nails in them.
Some vigilante facts for you. Charles Bronson wasn’t originally cast in Death Wish. The role went to Sammy Davis Jnr, who dropped out of the project at the last minute when Winner cut all the song and dance numbers from the script. Death Wish may have helped bring the issue of vigilantism into the public arena but it also helped promote moustaches during the 1970. Bronson became the spokesman for the American Moustache Club and often travelled the world encouraging men to develop their facial hair.
Thursday, 23 August 2007
For those of you that don’t know who (or what) I’m taking about, we’ve posted this bio on our official website.
Katie Price is one of the most successful female celebrities in Britain today. She has conquered being a model, author, mum, wife and now perfumer! Katie is the author of four successful books, two of which are autobiographies. This month, Katie releases her new perfume ‘Stunning’. She joins Richard & Judy in the studio to talk about her new baby Princess Tiaamii and Pete’s struggle with Meningitis, her amazing success as an author, and her new perfume.
Hard to know where to begin, isn’t it? Makes my own accomplishments pale somewhat. To be honest, these big name interviews get me nervous. I've been back and to to the toilet all morning. The woman has talent oozing out of her every pore. I imagine this is how Parkinson felt before he interviewed Ali.
I should probably begin by chatting about little Princess Tia Maria and then asking her about becoming a role model for many young girls across the country. I’ll ask her about her boob jobs and how she got started in the business of soft core pornography. Of course, she’s a famous author with two novels out (ooh er!), so I’ll be asking her about the creative process that brought about her ‘amazing success’ and the moral choices she makes when faced with the job of writing page after page of sex. I'll ask her if she finds it as tedious to write as I find it tedious to read. Then I’ll ask her how she comes up with her ideas and how she first came up with now notorious scene in her first novel when her heroine ‘did it like a monkey’ in Knowsley Safari Park.
The woman is sure to interest you so don’t forget to tune in. And also, don’t forget to buy her new perfume, “Stunning” available from 24th August. Prices start from £18.00 but it’s cheaper if you buy it by the pint.
Some Jordan facts. Jordan has famously nicknamed her breasts Eric and Ernie, but did you know she's been sued by the estate of the late Ernie Wise? Did you also know that Jordan’s perfume actually contains her own nipple juice and comes with a money back guarantee should your nipples not grow an inch after using it? Jordan hopes to be shortlisted in this year’s Booker Prize and, if she is, she’ll be only the second author to do so with breast implants. Jordan is also involved in a high court action against the country of Jordan when it was announced that the small middle eastern nation intended to have a boob job and market its own perfume. Jordan’s calendars are always top sellers but did you know that for the past five years they’ve been missing the month of March?
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
I suppose my love for the countryside developed when I was working on Granada Reports. They once sent me off to Kenya to do a piece about a North West couple who had opened a safari tour operation there. That’s when I first learned to use an elephant gun. That was back in the late 70s when there wasn’t the problems we have these days with the shortage of animals and too many people making a fuss about ivory. Which is why I do so little hunting these days. I restrict myself to animals which are in plentiful supply, perhaps the domesticated dog on the weekend or if it’s a special occasion I’ll take down an owl.
Being vegetarian, Judy won’t have anything to do with my meat. It’s a real shame. Hunting facts are one of my specialities. I also follow in a long tradition of celebrities who have done exciting things. Did you know, for example, that in his younger days, Ken Dodd once wrestled a bull to the ground? This was before golf became the sport of choice for comedians. All the great entertainers would get together in Spain and live out the life of slightly funnier versions of Ernest Hemmingway. They’d often go to Africa and hunt big game. Charlie Drake prided himself on his collection of gnu’s eyebrows while dear old Les Dawson was something of an expert in the trapping of finches.
Tuesday, 21 August 2007
I actually gave it to the dog. Barney (right) had been looking a little under the weather lately and, to be perfectly honest, it was a rainy Saturday and I’d got myself a little bored. Judy had nipped to Iceland (the supermarket, not the country) and left me at home doing The Times cryptic crossword. It had taken me longer than usual to finish but, after five minutes hard work, it was done. I scribbled in the word ‘metempsychosis’ and threw my pencil down and turned my mind to what I was going to do next. Not being a man who likes to sit on my hands, I looked for something to do. Only, Judy had already done everything. The house was tidy. The garden looked good. The lawn was cut.
That’s when I spotted the Viagra bottle. We’d picked it up on the show last week when Dr. Raj come in to talk about troubles south of the trouser line. Not really thinking what I was doing, I took a few of the tablets, crushed them up, and dropped them in the dog’s bowl. You know… Just to see what would happen.
That was about eleven o’clock in the morning. I think I must have dozed off. I woke up an hour later when I heard Judy scream. I found her standing in the hallway looking as white as a sheet as Barney was straddling a frozen turkey in the middle of the hall.
‘Oh Richard! Get him off!’ she cried.
I leapt into action. Only, I could prise him away. The poor animal was frozen solid to the bird. Not only was he frozen solid, he was frozen by a very delicate part of his anatomy. It wasn't the sort of job you could go at with a chisel and a crowbar.
An hour later, a few bowls of hot water and some details you’d probably not like to hear, we’d got him off the turkey. Barney had suffered frostbite in places it’s not natural to get frostbite unless you’re a Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes. The vet says he might not be right down there again, which, actually, is a bit of blessing. We’d been talking of having him neutered so this saved us the job.
That's pretty much the whole story. Judy threw the Viagra down the toilet and set to work preparing the turkey for our Sunday dinner, which, despite all its adventures, tasted even better than ever.
Which leads me, I suppose, to some turkey facts. Did you know that the turkey is actually the national bird of Turkey? It not flightless, as many believe, merely overweight. A properly trim turkey can fly as well as any bird, and, in some African nations, they are raised for sport and flown in races, much as we race pigeons in this country. The biggest every turkey weighed in at over twenty stone and fed a family of twelve for Christmas and through to Easter, two years later.
Monday, 20 August 2007
I spent the night in jail and got out this morning. My prison diary will hit bookshops next week but I can give you a sneak peak into all the interesting characters I met in there. One was ananarchist who goes by the name Stumpy. He told me some wonderful recipes involving lentils, dandelions, and stinging nettles. I’m trying to get him on the show this week in order to help us fulfill Channel 4's green quoto for this month. Another protestor told me that she works in the make-up department of the BBC and she had some fascinating stories about Natasha Kaplinsky's ears.
I thought I’d be a bit Stumpy-esque and eschew a theme for today’s facts. Let’s have a miscellany of interesting things. Such as the news that Jane Seymour can foresee the future, just like her character in Live and Let Die. She actually lives in the same house in the Caribbean and the only way to visit her is to take a hang glider from the back of speed boat. Did you also know that Heathrow is actually built on a bog and the movement of traffic landing and tacking off is actually rotating the whole site by a degree every ten years. Finally, did you know that Natasha Kaplinsky’s earlobes aren’t her own? She lost the real things many years ago when her earrings were snatched from her by seagulls while she was filming a report in Trafalgar Square.
Friday, 17 August 2007
The trap hadn’t been turned on for more than half an hour when Judy started to act strange. I thought she was happily unloading bags of cement from the boot of the car, so I’d gone to the conservatory, settled myself in a chair with a drink, and was reading some rubbish they'd printed about me in the entertainment section of The Sun. All of a sudden, Judy appears around the side of the house waving her arms in the air and shrieking something about it being free fitting at Safestyle UK.
There was no way I could know it was a problem with the rat trap. I mean how could I? Judy’s nerves have never been right since she interviewed Frank Sidebottom for This Morning about ten years ago. Some people say she looks a bit fragile when she’s on TV, but I put it all down to the moment Sidebottom gave her a hard time and wouldn’t stop asking her about felt tip pens. Put paper mache in front of her now and Judy visibly pales. It’s why we’ve never done any Blue Peter style items on our shows. Anyway, I’d noticed that Sidebottom is now plugging Safestyle windows and patio doors and, putting two and two together I came up with five. I thought it accounted for Judy's erratic behavour. Only when she’d dug a hole in the garden and began to gnaw through the cable to the pond’s fountain did I realise what was going on.
Being a thoughtful husband, I didn’t immediately turn the rat gizmo off. I let the old girl run around for five minutes, thinking it might calm her down and help give her a good sleep tonight. It also gave me a bit of time to remember a few of the rat factoids I know you'd be interested in hearing. Such as the fact that rats technically fall under the dairy policy of the EU since they have milk glands, six nipples, and the finest tasting cream outside Belgium. Rats can eat through a human thigh in less than ten minutes, through plate steel in sixty minutes, and through the crust of a Tesco Value meat and potato pie in less than two hours. They are also very adept climbers and are the only animals known to have made it to the top of Mount Everest without oxygen. Rat whiskers are also valued by Mississippi bluesmen who believe they have a better tone than the reeds traditionally used in harmonicas.
Thursday, 16 August 2007
I also mention in passing that I’ve always hated prunes. I don’t know how Dale knew this as it wasn’t even in my authorised biography but I want him to bring a halt to this prune juice offensive of his. Let’s not put prune juice in the wrong hands. There’s no room in blogging for these terrible weapons of mass disruption. This morning I sent him a message, warning him to bring hostilities to an end by 6pm tonight. So far, I’ve had no response* and I’m taking measures to launch waves of ‘taffy pulling’ on his blog.
On tonight’s show we’ll be doing a feature on people who look ten years older than their real age and we’ll have make up artist Sue Potter in the studio making Flora Smythe, who looks about 93, look more like her real age of 83. It promises to be an exciting show as Professor Raj Persaud (he’s a professor now?) takes Peter Hitchens through some moves in our continuing feature on celebrity Greek wrestling.
Some prune facts which everyone should know before they start spreading the juice around. Did you know that in some parts of South America the stones from prunes are placed in the ears to enhance the effects of cannabis? Prunes are also high in vitamin D and can help you tan more easily. The downside of this is you’ll spend more time on the toilet and, all things being equal, the prune / sunbathing ratio cancels each other out. You might even look paler, though not down the backs of your legs. Prunes are a natural laxative and are good for the digestion, unless you swallow the stones which contain toxins which produce a effect similar to LSD, including a strange psychosis in which you believe your stools are singing light Italian opera.
* 4PM UPDATE: Dale's now given up, citing humanitarian grounds and the peace-making skills of Graf von Straf Hindenburg. I think we all know he was worried that Judy would mock his manhood on tonight's show. The first Prunic War has come to an end with a victory for Madeley and the forces of good. Now let the church bells ring.
Wednesday, 15 August 2007
The point I’m trying to make here is that when you mix with the stars, it’s inevitable that you get to know some of them socially. Judy and I try to live a normal life and refuse to live by the conventions of the celebrity lifestyle. Just today, for instance, Judy is busy in the garden building a new rockery with just Kim Wilde and Katie Melua to help her. Having friends over is a good anecdote to glamour. It helps you keep real. When you get up in the morning and find the lovely Clare Balding brewing a cup of tea in your kitchen and you notice that she’s got dirty nails, you tend to realise that we’re all really the same and there’s no such thing as being a star.
Today is a grey Wednesday so I think we need some celebrity facts to inspire us. Did you know that Des O’Connor has a stoat farm in Norfolk? Not only that, he is considered the father of the UK stoat industry. He’s not the only celebrity to have an odd hobby. Billy Connolly drives tractors for fun and Adrian Chiles is a Latin American dance champion. Not all celebrities spend the hobby time in selfish fun. You can only admire the work Jo Brand does for many UK charities and still finds time to spend her weekends helping to restore the spire on Lincoln Cathedral.
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
The Thinker asks about my tan, as well she should. I’m surprised a few more of you haven’t requested my top tanning tips given the dismal summer we’ve been having. A tan can make you feel better about life, raise your self esteem, and increase your visibility in traffic at night. I sometimes visit your blogs and see your wan portraits and wonder how you have the nerve to show your poor sallow faces in public. It saddens me because I know I can help you. Even when the weather’s dull, you can still get a good tan if you follow my advice. There’s just no excuse for looking pasty at any time of the year. Unless, of course, you’re suffering from some kind of terrible wasting disease. But even then, I say there are few ailments which can’t be cured by a bit of sun, or failing that, some gravy browning and a large brush.
The first thing to know about my tan is that it’s real. I’m one of the rare people who was born with a tan due to the naturally high levels of melanin in my skin. There was quite a commotion at my birth as doctors tried to explain why I was organge. Even if you’re not blessed by what’s now called ‘The Madeley Syndrome’, you can still get a good tan if you keep your skin tight at all times. Whether you’re lying under the sun, under lamps, or having it sprayed on in a booth by a sixteen year old YTS trainee with a high pressure jet, a tan needs a smooth surface. I use normal clothes pegs to take out the wrinkles from my skin. A couple on the back of my neck will produce a blemish free surface over my face. And when I’m done, I roll over and put a couple of pegs on my lips and eyelids to smooth out the back of my head and my neck. Things get more delicate the further south you go and I’ll leave it to your imagination as to how I get a good tan on my upper thighs.
My other tip is to eat lots of cheese, which is the best way to raise the levels of melanin in your body. In a particularly bad summer, I eat nothing but cheese yet maintain a healthy tan. The weaker cheeses, such as Cheddar, aren’t much use. Mouldy cheeses are the best and this summer I’ve been eating nothing but Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Stilton. Judy says I smell like a festering camel dumped in an open sewer but I say it’s a price worth paying to look attractive all the year round.
As you can probably tell, I’m a living volume of tanning facts. Did you know that it’s impossible to get a suntan while smoking a pipe? Pipe tobacco produces a smoke that is impervious to the sun’s rays. It’s also difficult – but not impossible – to get a tan if you have a diet high in fish. It’s why you rarely see a sunburnt Eskimo. Did you know that a tan lasts twice as long if you rub margarine or olive oil into it on the first day. Last year, George Hamilton donated his sunbed to the Smithsonian, which can now claim to own the world’s oldest sunbed.
Monday, 13 August 2007
Today’s country & western facts: Kenny Rogers made much of his fortune by owning the world’s largest rhinestone mine in Kentucky. Ducks have been taught to line dance by no less a figure than Willie Nelson, who happened to be stoned at the time. He is also the only person to have two characters in The Simpsons based on him (Groundskeeper Willie and Nelson Muntz). Dolly Parton invented Tizer but sold the rights to the Coca Cola corporation and used the money to build Dollyland.
Friday, 10 August 2007
So, I have been instructed to make six choices of my own, which I’ve also done with remarkably little thought. The Richard Madeley Thoughtful Blogger Awards go to:
Clare who has thoughtfully agreed to be The Keeper of the Snails.
Glamourpuss who is thoughtful even when she's up her pole.
Elberry who is being very thoughtful and is currently robbing innocents of their innocence.
Mopsa who very thoughtfully and so is her dog.
Rilly Super who isn't being very thoughtful at all and hasn’t posted for a few days.
And my last award goes to the Swearing Mother whose thoughtful swearing enlivens my every day.
I think that’s enough of being thoughtful. We now return to our normal unthoughtful programming.
Thursday, 9 August 2007
After my post yesterday, I was a struck by the interest you all had in my life wrapped around the pole. You wanted to know more. So I’m going to give you more. I’ve asked my tutor, Maximilian Bygravana, to write down a few pole dancing tips. They might help you with your dancing. They might even change your life. I know they have worked for me. If you ever wonder how I mange to wrap my legs into the positions I get them when I sit on the sofa, the secret lies in Maximilian's teachings. The man in a limber genius.
1. Beware the lubricant. Many beginners oil the pole. Don’t. You won’t hang on if it’s wet or covered in anything greasy. Also, don’t oil your thighs. You want them dry if not a little sticky.
2. Chubby thighs. Don’t be ashamed of having chubby thighs. All the great pole dancers have a bit of added meat down there. It will help you hold on longer.
3. Shave your legs. Not obvious until you trap a hair. You have been warned.
4. Stretch. It’s easy to pop a hamstring. Warm up before and warm down afterwards. Don’t pole dance until you’re sure you have a limber crotch.
5. Forget erotic. Pole dancing is more than life in a sleazy strip club. It will soon be an Olympic sport so remember to treat it with respect. If you must grind, don’t smile. If you must smile, don’t grind. It’s a simple rule of thumb.
6. Fake tans are so last year. They can also leave an oily deposit on your pole. See point 1.
7. Make sure your pole is professionally installed. Beginners have been known to break limbs when their poles snapped. Even an amateur can be launched up to forty feet if they're doing a full horizontal revolver when it breaks
8. Help promote the cause of pole dancers by keeping your pole polished and your crotch clean. Remember that if you expect to compete in official competitions, the judges will be inspecting both.
9. Never use bathroom cleaning products on your pole. It can damage the chrome and cause terrible rashes to develop on your thighs.
10. Enjoy. Always enjoy your pole dancing. People might mock you but remember that we’re all part of big pole dancing party and nobody can stop the groove.
Thanks Maximilian. And now since it’s Thursday, how about some extra pole dance facts? Such as the measurement of an Olympic standard pole: 42mm in diameter. The length 8 ft 2 in. Pole dancing is only second Olympic demonstration sport that started out as an erotic dance. The other was Icelandic weasel racing which was a demonstration sport at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo.
Wednesday, 8 August 2007
I can't think of a better reason than it being Wednesday to give you some pole dancing facts. Traditional poles use in pole dancing are made from sterilized chrome. Bacteria cannot live on them. Pole dancing requires the use of more muscles in the body than any other form of physical exercise except championship darts. Different height of poles are available, with extreme sports enthusiasts using poles that are nearly 38 feet high. Pole dancing is to be banned in Scotland under new rules that demand that all publicly funded forms of exercise have to be kilt friendly. Other celebrities who use pole dancing to keep trim include Noel Edmonds and Jeremy Clarkson.
Tuesday, 7 August 2007
There can be no wonder that there are so many similarities. Although the original was created in the 1950s, Superman as we now know him is the product of the 1980s. The first Superman was filmed in the UK not far from the ‘This Morning’ studios where we were working at the time. I’d often see the conceptual artists, people from wardrobe, the writers, and even Richard Donner, the director, standing outside the glass windows out there on the Albert Dock, peering in to catch a glimpse of us making the show. At the time they said they were using Judy as a model for Lex Luther but I think we can all now see that there was something more to it than that. The late Christopher Reeve would often drop into our house in Cheshire and ask me how I wear my suits. He later told me that he took the now iconic scene when he pulls his shirt open to reveal the Superman logo from the way I used to dash from the set. Even the kiss curl was mine. You need only ask my makeup lady who has to plaster it down before I go on air.
I have some superhero facts for you today. Did you know that Superman was first played on TV by Mickey Rooney who played the character as a song and dance man? Superman's fear of Kryptonite was a late addition to the character's mythology and was based on Rooney's peanut allegy. Superman may have been first but in recent years Spiderman has become more popular. But did you also know that Spiderman is powerless in small towns or deserts? His whole superpower is predicated on the widespread availability of tall buildings from which to swing. He’s useless in combatting crimes in residential areas as he has to travel as all spiders travel: by drainpipe, emerging from plugholes to fight crime.
Monday, 6 August 2007
On Friday night, I wasn’t happy to see that I’d turned and smiled to camera, said 'see you after the break', and then they'd cut to an ad for stool softener. It’s not easy to admit that there has been a gap in my knowledge but I never knew stool softener existed. It took me a while for Judy to explain what it’s for.
That's when things became interesting. The ad didn't work for me on a dramatic level. I couldn’t understand why five women, sitting around in a cafe, would suddenly start discussing the state of their stools. Nor could I understand why one would be carrying stool softener in her bag and happily bring it out, mid latte. Somehow, it didn’t seem appropriate. And then my mind, inquisative as always, began to ask the sorts of questions I knew I had to have answered. How hard is hard? How soft is soft? How did they come up with a solution? How do they handle quality control? Are there any side-effects? And how is this solution better than bananas?
I hope to do a piece on stool softeners this week but in the meantime, it’s Monday, so let’s have some digestion facts.
You probably know that the human body can’t digest corn but did you know it also can’t digest walnut husks, beetle wings, or black cornflakes? The human intestine is three point two miles long but can stretch to nearly twice that length and is springier than bungee cord. Did you know that the gases produced by all the world’s vegetarians cause more damage to the planet that all the diesel engines? The gases from just one digested lentil could power a bulb for seven minutes. Finally, stomach acid is so powerful that prisoners have been known to use it to melt the bars to their jail cells.
Sunday, 5 August 2007
1. What can I do with the fluff that comes out of a tumble drier?
2. Why do gnats fly in spirals and never hit each other?
3. Will the gentleman's tie ever truly go out of fashion?
You’d be surprised at the numer of times I’m asked these questions, especially number 1.
I always say that the fluff from a tumble drier is best collected, dried, and then donated to the Worldwide Duvet Fund, which uses the fluff to stuff third-world mattresses. Fluff conservation is close to my heart, and close to Judy’s too, and we’re proud to be spokespersons for the cause. If you work out how much fluff is produced in the industrialised West, you’d realise that many of the world’s lagging problems could be solved at a stroke. Remember: your fluff can help a family combat a Ugandan winter.
Gnats fly in spirals but, despite what you read in pro-gnat propaganda, they do often collide. It’s just they don’t complain about it and rarely demand compensation. Gnats are remarkably free living creatures.
Gentleman’s ties are slowly going out of fashion. This is mainly because I don’t wear them myself, preferring to go about open necked, so you can see as much as me as possible. Neckties have been linked to 92% of all accidents involving threshing machines and mangles. Kipper ties have also been identified as a leading cause of male infertility due to their reducing blood flow around the body. This hypothesis can't been proved, however, due to a lack of data casued by the inability of men who wear kipper ties to find mates.
I have a couple of gnat related facts for you today. Gnats are poisonous if ingested in large numbers. Many cyclists will be taken to hospital each year with gnat poisoning and it is believed that many of the positive drug tests coming in from this year’s Tour de France are the result of cyclists swallowing larger number of insects than in previous years. The gnat is also the national insect of Sardinia, and is immortalised on the Sardinian flag in the form of a small black stitch in the lower left corner.
Saturday, 4 August 2007
For those of you who don’t live in London, the Courgettes are two of the finest providers of quick food and their appearance on our show was to be their chance to reach a new plateau of culinary fame. They have just filmed a TV show for BBC2 in which they sail across the Atlantic in a rowboat, cooking many different meals from the things they catch or find along the way. ‘Two Men in a Boat Eat Flotsam’ should make them the stars they richly deserve to be and both Judy and I recommend that you tune into the show next week.
I leave you on this fine hot Saturday with some facts about Italy, one of my favourite holiday destinations. It’s also one of the oldest places in the world, with the average age of the population now reaching 83 years old. More money is spent in Italy on toupees than the rest of the world combined, though if you take out the money spent by Silvio Berlusconi on false hair, then they actually spend less per capita than any other country. Italian olive oil is one of the best in the world and achieves its distinct flavour by being pressed the traditional way, squeezed between the gums of Sicilian widows.
Friday, 3 August 2007
Busy with the show for most of the week, Judy cherishes her privacy over anything else. If it weren’t for the cottage we’ve managed to keep a secret outside Brighton, she’d never get away from the clamour of fans ringing her mobile (0845 076 0191). She also likes to keep her weekday schedule unknown to the public, who would only follow her around Harrods on her regular 10.30 shopping spree every Friday morning. I think this is why she doesn’t like people to know that, being a country girl, she was brought up to have a passion for Lincoln Longwool sheep. That's why she’ll be attending the East Anglia Agriculture Show this weekend.
It is Friday and I’m in a rush to buy some new Wellingtons ready for the show. So here are some more of the Judy facts she likes to keep secret. She was a breaststroke finalists in the 1972 UK Championships. She has also swum the English Channel five times and holds the record for completing a double crossing. Judy’s favourite food are pickled gherkins which she often eats when she’s curled up in bed at night. She is an excellent singer and can sustain a perfect C sharp for twenty two seconds. It’s common knowledge that during Granada New’s 1981 charity campaign on behalf of orphaned children, Judy stood in a bucket of lime jelly for forty eight hours . Less well known is the fact that her feet still have a green tint which has to be covered by makeup before she’ll go on air.
Thursday, 2 August 2007
Half-an-hour ago, Dr. Raj landed his helicopter in the back garden and came rushing into the house, his medical bag clutched in his hands and a steely look of determination on his face. Ten minutes later, he was operating.
‘This,’ he said, holding the bug up between his tweezers, ‘this is a Jamaican seraphalonic ear mite. A nasty critter that burrows into the skull and injects its toxic serum directly into the brain, causing the host to doubt his own sanity and wonder who he is.’
At this point Judy fainted.
‘The thing is,’ said Dr. Raj, who knows Judy well enough to barely bat an eyelid, ‘you have to remember who you are and begin to live your life as though the last few days never happened.’
‘A Jamaican seraphalonic ear mite?’ I pondered. ‘You know, I bet I caught that from that batch of Jamaican ginger cake Judy’s aunt Polly sent over the other week. I remember sticking a piece of it behind my ear while I held the ladder while Judy climbed on roof to fix the shingles.’
He slapped me across the face. ‘Tell me who you are.’
‘I’m Richard,’ I said.
He slapped me again. ‘Richard?’
‘You’re not an imposter then?’
‘Hardly. Could an imposter do this?’ I asked and proceeded to grab my big toe between my teeth and expose my groin as I do often do for the world to see at five o’clock every weekday on Channel 4.
‘Well, that’s it,’ said Raj with a salute and a wink. ‘Another case closed. Have to dash, I’m spending the afternoon helping Jordan overcome low self-esteem.’
‘Might that be another case of a Jamaican seraphalonic ear mite?’ I asked.
Raj looked at me. ‘Stick at what you’re good at Richard,’ he said as he swept a curl of hair from his brow. ‘Leave the diagnosis for those of us trained to diagnose.’
So, that explains everything. This Jamaican seraphalonic ear mite explains why I’ve had the feeling that people are talking about me. It explains why I’ve been not feeling myself.
And in honour of my recently departed parasite, I thought I’d give you some other famous cases of insect infestations. Such as the worm that taught Les Denis everything he knows about comedy. You didn’t know that? The year was 1978 and Les was an unknown working in men’s nightclubs across the north. He wasn’t particularly funny and thought he’d reached a career high supporting the new comedy star, Jimmy Cricket. A holiday in the Zambia and he came back a different man and the comedy god we know and love today. And all because of the zootzoot worm which had made a home in Les’ right ankle.
Did you know that Bo Derek’s much heralded beauty can be attributed to an allergic reaction to a ladybird? Or that Robbie Coltrain plays host to a colony of termites? More facts tomorrow.
And please: remember to check yourself for Jamaican seraphalonic ear mites.
Wednesday, 1 August 2007
I don’t know if you caught last night’s show but I happened to let slip that all the bathrooms are ‘lock free’ in the Madeley household. I didn’t think it was that big a thing when this factoid slipped out. We have no secrets in our house and many a time I’ve been caught steeping out of the shower with my… well, let’s just say 'with little Richard hanging out with his friends, little Fred and slightly bigger Raj'. I’m not ashamed that you all know this. It's just one of those small inconveniences I’m more than happy to live with, so long as Judy has peace of mind.
Only don't get me wrong. Judy's not one of the millions who suffer from coprophobia or anything like that. No, Judy just doesn't like confined spaces. It's something about being trapped in a small room with sanitary products. And who can blame her? My heart quickens apace whenever I'm in close proximity to a toilet duck.
TNo, the way I see it, having no locks on our bathroom doors makes it a win win situation for Judy. It makes her feel safe in her own home while also maximising the chances that she’s going to catch a certain handsome co-presenter naked in the shower or sat bare arsed reading the latest issue of Nuts magazine. Yet despite these benefits, Judy's fear did get me thinking. Is it really the fear of confinement that worries Judy? Or, as any good psychologist (or even Dr Raj Persaud) will tell you, is it the fear of death?
I reached this level of enlightenment yesterday afternoon when she told me in no uncertain terms that she wouldn’t allow a certain man of infinite foregiveness become a Richard & Judy bookclub author unless he cheers up and write about something more uplifting than death. She suggested a ‘nice upbeat book Afghan amputees learning to tap dance’ but I wasn’t so sure. It convinced me that I needed to prove something to Judy. I need to prove that there’s an upside to the afterlife.
Death can be a funny business. There’s something quite Buddhist about it. It's like we're lumps of animated clay stuck in a warehouse fire at Aardman Animations. One moment we’re Gromit’s leg leg and, the next, we’ve been reincarnated as a turtle’s sweatband in an advert for British Gas. And that’s the message I wanted to send to Judy. There are positives in death, if only you look for them.
The way I see it, death means ear wax is no longer a problem. Pretty much all problems of grooming fade away on the other side of death. You don’t even need to buy grooming products, though who can say no to Vidal Sassoon latest range of anti-worm products to help protect your skin through the afterlife?
'Death be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful'. John Donne might also have added helpful and timely. What greater excuse could you have for escaping a birthday bash held for your distant cousin JWH Madeley. In fact, mortality brings with it its own rewards: it’s an excuse for tardiness, a reason to lie in past noon, and you no longer feel bad about the planet. You are the planet.
You can be rude to whoever you like when you’re dead. And, let’s face it: you’re going to be rude to just about everybody. You don’t write, you never call. You don’t even answer when somebody asks you a question. In a way, it’s like becoming a Jehovah’s Witness but without the legwork.
You can grow a beard when you’re dead. Actually, you won’t be able to help it. Unless you’re Russ Abbot, your hair will continue to sprout long after you’ve ceased to be. This explains the prolonged career of Jimmy Savile and his current appearance. He’s been dead since 1983.
Death has a small carbon footprint so Al Gore won't complain. Unless, of course, you're cremated. In which case, take it from me: you're much better off being asked to be buried in a grow bag with a tomato seed stuck up your ass.
Death makes you down with the kids. How much more hip can you be with a white face and long solemn silences? If that's not Goth, what is?
As soon as I’m made this little list, I decided to present it to Judy. That's another advantage of having no locks on the bathroom doors. We can tell people good news as soon as we have it. Only, I think she wasn’t that interested. I’ve now backed out of the bathroom and I’m waiting until she’d finished. In the meantime, how about some morbid factoids to cheer us up?
Did you know that Suggs from Madness collects funeral director’s top hats? Or that Ealing has the highest mortality rate among mimes than the rest of the country? And did you know that when a mime dies, they're buried in a glass coffin?
Did you know that more people die exercising in a gym than eating doughnuts in a cafe? That waxed moustaches can prolong a man’s life by up to five years? It’s a scientific fact.
And did you know that to the Japanese, the colour white represents death and this is why there are no professional Japanese tennis players?
Perhaps reality isn’t as acute as they wish it to be and that we all live in the hope that life is really caricature.
But that’s not life. Just to make that clear.
So, if you laughed before, I hope you’ll laugh again.
Or does it all change when celebrity is taken out of the equation? Is fame the only thing that matters? Discuss.