Friday, 1 February 2008

Haircut By Fry

In case you’ve only just noticed my picture: yes, you’re quite right. It’s gone. Do I regret doing it? Yes, I do. And I can’t deny that alcohol played a small part in its demise. I had hit rock bottom. I drank because I was ashamed that I’ve still not had a job offer. But that wasn’t the all of it. I discovered that Stephen Fry is leaving me. Then a tooth divorced itself from a filling. Were the two events related? I cannot say. But my woes were tied into a neat little bundle by Judy who informed that Alan Carr is appearing on tonight’s show

By the time my chief tormentor retired to bed with her Dick Francis, I was in a much weakened condition. It was probably why I sought comfort with my DVD collection. For one night, I would abandon my books, writing, scripts, and even my beaver. And when Stephen appeared, it seemed only right to spend some time with the man who will soon be touring the Great Lakes in his taxi. To break a confidence, I can tell you that he’s also been feeling pretty rotten about the whole business. He’s heard that Hugh Laurie will be performing the American national anthem before Sunday’s Superbowl. It’s the sort of privilege that makes Stephen just a little jealous of his old comedy partner.

You can see that we were both in moods that might easily be described as tender. Put alcohol on the coffee table and even our plan to sit and chat over a classic film had an element of risk. Not that choosing the film was easy. I wanted something that reflected my mood. Stephen wanted a film that taught him something about driving across America.

Thelma & Louise,’ suggested Stephen.

Treasure of the Sierra Madre,’ suggested Madeley.

Two-Lane Blacktop,’ came back the Great Man’s reply.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,’ I returned, thinking I might have won the day.

In the end, we reached a compromise. I shut all the doors, turned down the lights, and set the amplifier to 70% to really appreciate Bernard Herrmann’s score to Taxi Driver.

‘I’ve not actually see this film,’ said Stephen after a few moments. It was a rather frank confession from a man who I thought knew everything about great culture. He gazed at the young De Niro driving a yellow taxi through New York a night. ‘But this is indeed promising,’ said the owner of the nation’s favourite black London cab marked ‘Fry’.

I waved down his chatter. ‘Listen,’ I said, ‘I just love this speech about cleaning the seats in the back of a taxi…’

Only Stephen didn’t, and, as the film went on, he began to tut more and more as he realised that the story had less to do with taxis than it had to do with one man's descent into his own personal hell. I did my best to calm my guest by pouring him more wine until, eventually, an equilibrium was reached. Stephen began to enjoy Martin Scorsese’s bleak portrayal of Paul Schrader’s almost toxic script and I began to understand why the world is treating me so unfairly. There is a bit of Travis Bickle in Madeley and the events of the last few days made it all the more apparent.

‘My filling fell out today,’ I said to Stephen, who was, by then, looking just a little bleary eyed from all the wine.

‘Typical,’ he said, raising a glass. ‘Here’s to decay!’

‘And I didn’t land the job to which I’d been pinning all my hopes for the last couple of weeks.’

‘Here’s to failure!’ he responded.

‘And Judy has gone and invited Alan Carr onto tonight’s show. I’ve got to be pleasant to the man who once rear-ended me on Hamstead Heath.’

‘Damn his eyes,’ cried Fry and gazed up at the screen before raising a finger. ‘Were I a man in the mood to have a psychotic episode, that’s what I would do,’ he said as De Niro appeared for the first time sporting a Mohican.

‘Judy would kill me if I did that,’ I said. ‘Could you imagine what they’d say at Channel 4?’

‘Well shave it all off!’ said Stephen with sudden passion. Even in the depth of an alcoholic murk he has the answer to every problem. ‘Your Uncle Stephen is not a man for being unduly blunt, Dicky, but you’ve become something of a national laughing stock. You’ve had that same haircut for nearly twenty five years on our screens. Your hair is older than some BBC executives I could name, damn their poxy adolescent hides!’

‘I thought people liked my hair,’ I protested, jumping to the defence of one of my twenty seven features rated by World Heritage as sites of historic importance.

‘You hair is the reason that people think you’re conservative and safe,’ said the only man I know who wears tweed pyjamas. ‘They don’t respect you and they certainly feel no fear when you’re around them. As a great and intoxicated woman once said: play hard to get, Dicky. Hard to get!’ He eased himself up, his plaster cast not making it easy, but with his natural grace and athleticism, up he soon was. ‘Come on, we’ll do it now. I’ve got the perfect thing in my room.’

He returned a minute later with an electric razor designed by New Zealand farmers to sheer the wool from sheep made hardy by the harsh winds of the southern Pacific. I was in no mood to argue with Stephen, whose natural command comes through even when soaked to his gills with juice. As De Niro began his bloody rampage on the screen, Stephen began his buzzing rampage over the Madeley scalp. I can’t say which outcome was the more satisfactory for the protagonists concerned.

After that, I remember very little except drinking more wine and then waking up on the sofa this morning. The DVD menu to Taxi Driver was still lighting up the screen but now the Special Features option was being pointed out by an arm in a plaster cast that was sticking up from the other side of the coffee table. It was only when my own hand instinctively went to arrange my fringe that I felt the cold dome of my head and I began to remember about the job, my filling, Alan Carr, and Stephen Fry shaving me bald...

Judy was less than complimentary when she first saw me and retired sobbing to her room. Stephen was less than complimentary about his hangover and soon tip toed gently to bed. I now have to spent my afternoon finding a suitable wig before the tonight’s show. Being chatty with Alan Carr will be the least of my problems. If you see my brow slip, then at least you’ll know why. My world is falling apart and I with it.


AxmxZ said...

Is it wrong of me to laugh so hard at your general malaise and misfortune? I'm so sorry... but really now... this is too much. I'm so sorry your world is falling apart, Dicky... but not at all sorry it's doing so in such marvelously entertaining ways.

Richard Madeley said...

Does that mean you like my new look? Please say you do. Judy doesn't. She says I look like the bald captain off Star Trek.

AxmxZ said...

Well, there's a difference to be made between male-pattern baldness and a shaved head. A balding head with fluffy sides says to the world: "I know I look ridiculous, but just can't bear to part with what I consider to be sad residues of my youth and masculinity." A shaved head doesn't say anything, it growls and stomps off for a pint.

bertas said...

I agree with Ax completely... and it is highly entertaining :)
I do understand you are in a bit delicate position at the moment what with lack of substantial job offers and whatnot, but damn and blast Richard so what if you look like bald captain off Star Trek? :)

Richard Madeley said...

Ax, Stephen did mention the growling and stomping bit when he shaved off my hair. I am more masculine, aren't I? I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier, though Judy still insists that I can't appear on the show like this.

Bertas, so you do think I look like Jean Luc? Well, I'm going off to do tonight's show in a few minutes (I'll be wearing a very good wig one of our makeup ladies found for me) and I'll try to sound like I'm in command. But I'd feel better if I wasn't going to interview that bloody Alan Carr... I swear that it's worse than having Kingons on the show.

Selena Dreamy said...

She says I look like the bald captain off Star Trek.

...yes, and she's right. I refuse to look at this blog, until you take that ghastly pricture away, Richard.

Paleeeeeeeese - that look is strictly for footballers (I detest footballers)

Richard Madeley said...

Oh, Selena! Now you've given me a real dilemma. Do I keep the new picture for a few days, like I'd planned, yet at the risk of losing your patronage? Or do I put up the old picture that doesn't accurately represent my head and consequently might mislead people into thinking that I have a full head of hair?

I'll have to give it some thought. Have to dash. Typing this from the studio floor and I've been called across to the sofa.

(This wig doesn't half itch.)

The Twitch said...

Brilliant Dick...your baldness becomes you....and just think how much you are going to save on Brylcream. You have just averted the oil crisis with a haircut. You look a lean..mean ..Marlon Brando.
Now go round to Titchmarsh ...and put a horses head in his bed...if that does'nt scare him off....cut his fucking balls off. Tell him ...The Twitch sends his best wishes...

The Twitch said...

.....for his slow & painful recovery

Anonymous said...

Hello there!

My google alert directed me here.
Someone had mentioned Stephen Fry, it appeared. I log into my gmail and come up with your blog entry.
Richard Madeley? No idea who the dude is, though the name is distantly familiar. I've caught the name on Stephen Fry's blog once or twice, I thought, but I'm afraid that is all. Guess it's clear without saying, that I'm not from the UK, if that makes anyone feel any better. :-)

Quick googling lights up the bulb above my head. Richard and Judy! I remember seeing you in my bedroom every weekday, for those 6 months I stayed in Ireland. Indeed.

*coughs* Anyway. Is it *how* weird that I find it slightly arousing to read this entry? Oh well. At least I've still got my hair. You know, you should be happy about your new look. Well, not so much about the new look but the experience. People are ready to pay to get Stephen Fry shave them bald. Or is that just me? Err..

It's not bad, honestly. It's not. Hair is overrated, anyway. Take care, mate.

J from Finland

The Twitch said...

I think you should change your name to go with the new hard look ....Dick Corlene.....sounds good.

The Twitch said...

I meant to say....Dick apologies to the Don of Daytime T.V.

Anonymous said...

I heard this oddest thing the other day from a friend.

Apparently human hair is good for filling pincushions. They sharpen the needles unlike cotton. So there. A business idea. I knew there was a reason I was led to this site.

Anonymous said...

For a moment I thought you had like cancer or something.. You have to admit that Stephen Fry is a big fat smelly c**t dont you? I hate to see people in denial.

The Hitch said...

Mr Madeley
How do you keep your youthfull good looks?

Richard Madeley said...

Phew. Lots of comments to catch up on...

Twitch, baldness might become me but I feel the cold more. I find I'm now wearing my wig when I'm off screen just to keep warm.

Hope-athlete, surely you're not aroused by the prospect of being shaved smooth by Mr. Fry? I mean I'm glad you've come over to my blog but if it's just to read Fry porn, then I don't think I can provide you with much material. I mean, I do have those candid shots of him in his swimming trunks but I'm sure nobody would want to see those... As for the human hair, I have heard that one myself though I'm now unable to test it. Or at least for a few weeks until I grow some more hair. Unless, of course, I cut Judy's mane.

Mutley, please... That's a friend your talking about.

Hitch, it's really quite simple: good living, good food, the love of a good woman, and goat glands.

Anonymous said...

Well now. The image of Mr. Fry in swimming trunks? Thanks for that dude. I won't sleep for days now. As much as I love him, I'd rather have him clothes on and talk long sentences with fancy words.
His name mentioned did bring me here to your side of the world, this is the pathetic truth, but maybe I won't give up on you just yet... I'm intrigued about this letter you've promised to write me ;)

Richard Madeley said...

Well, I've got plenty of facts about Finland so I might well do that. But I want a long term commitment. None of this: I won't give up on you *just* yet. Why give up on me at all? I'm an acquired taste but once you'd had Madeley you won't want to go back to your Finnish celebrities.

Anonymous said...

Ooh. Big words right there, Mr. Madeley. But informative note here: it doesn't need that much for me to jump off the Finn celebrity boat. I'm wearing my life-jacket already.

You *might* write the letter if I promise you long term commitment? There's a loophole in that sentence you could slip right through! I'm not sure if that's a reasonable trade.

AxmxZ said...

Hey, a Finn! Hyvä päivä, hope-athlete. Mita kuulu?

(That's just about the only two things I can ask someone in Finnish. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm immensly impressed now. I've bumped into two people who know something about Finland (or so I'm told).

I'm very well, thank you. Your writing in Finnish reminds me of a friend who is trying to learn the language. :-P

AxmxZ said...

I've become completely obsessed with with Finnish language in the past year or so. It's just the most addictive sound ever. I've actually learned Varttina, Apulanta and Jukka Poika songs by heart, phonetically. :)

moggie said...

Not a bad site this! Very funny to read your antics with Stephen Fry. Being bald doesn't help you though Richard! I agree with Judy. No wonder she sobbed. My partner just celebrated his 50th birthday. He went to the barber on Saturday before his party and looked really smart on the front but on the back, he had 50 shaved into his hair! Yuk. Still - should grow in a few weeks and looks quite good in some of the photos. What is it with men, their problems and hair!!!!!!!!

Richard Madeley said...

Moggie, it's always nice to greet a new visitor. And one with such excellent ideas too. Shaving 50 into my hair will be the way I celebrate that event in eight or nine years time.

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