Monday, 23 June 2008

Raj, Raj, Raj, Raj, Raj, Raj, Raj, Raj, and Raj

It was Sunday and I was deep in that zone where all my best writing gets done; ears closed off to the world, eyes wide, nose flared with excitement as I hammered my fingers at the keyboard. The only discomfort was a slight rawness between my thighs caused by the friction of my constant swaying as I typed. Chapter 11 of my autobiography was turning out to be the most challenging yet; detailing, as it does, the struggles we faced establishing ‘This Morning’ as the UK’s premium show for bored housewives, melancholic students and the mentally impaired. My work frenzy was all the more intense because Judy had promised to stay away for most of the day. She was overseeing the installation of new baize at her Snooker and Pool Association’s clubhouse. I wanted to make the most of the time by taking my 30,000 words up to the wonderful milestone of 40,000. AKA: the Half Way Point.

After a couple of hours of typing, I finally sank back in my chair and stared at the latest paragraph of memoir. There on the page sat the following fifty three gloriously flowing words, hewn from the tree of memory, rich with the scent of happier days and the knowledge that my children and my children’s children would one day read these words and perhaps pay me tribute in the form of a tear or two.

"We were living in rented accommodation out on the Wirral while all this was happening. We were settling down to married life, coping with each other’s peculiarities. Judy had a terrible habit of leaving the toilet seat up. She, in turn, accused me of leaving my spare toupees soaking in the kitchen sink."


I was about to put fingers to keyboard and produce more of the same when the phone rang. I would have ignored it but for the recognisable tune I have it programmed to play whenever a call comes in from Stephen Fry. Since Stephen has come back from America, he’s also come back into my life and I always feel immensely comforted by that thought.

‘Heads up, Richard,’ said Stephen. ‘’Tis I, Fry, with troubling news involving the misappliance of science.’

‘You’re interrupting the writing of an autobiography that’s sure to establish my name in the world of literature,’ I said, not wanting to sound rude but irritated nonetheless. ‘It better be trouble. What is it this time? I’ve warned you about smoking your pipe in bed? Set fire to your cape again, haven't you?’

‘Nothing so minor,’ he answered. ‘I fear, Dick, that you are about to be overrun by a most virulent pest.’

‘Not mice again!’ I cried. ‘The last time I had mice, I got into the most awful trouble with my blog’s readers when I confessed to giving the mice mind-altering drugs and then sticking them down the garbage disposal.’

‘Were I a man with better news I might indeed utter the word “mice”,’ said Stephen. ‘However, ’tis I, Fry, uttering the phrase: “cloned versions of that famous TV psychiatrist, Professor Raj Persaud”.’

‘I beg your pardon?’

‘You are about to overrun by many cloned Dr. Rajs, if that is indeed the correct plural.’

‘Is there no end to this madness?’ I sobbed. ‘How much more of this tired joke do I have to take? You do realise that he’s launched his own blog in which he is basically copying all my best material.’

‘Perhaps he’s making a point about intertextuality within a postmodern culture,’ suggested Stephen.

‘Are you sure he’s that bright?’

‘Oh, I’m quite sure of it. Were you a more gifted writer, Dick, you too could play postmodern games with the notion of fame and the integrity of the first person narrative.’

‘I think he’s gone bonkers,’ I said, though quietly quite pleased to hear Stephen on such good form. Now do you see what I mean about it being good to have him back? It’s just quality advice at a level far higher than anything you get from the likes of Bill Oddie or that man Clarkson.

‘I can only pass on what I’ve heard,’ carried on Stephen and his voice dropped to a whisper. ‘I have it from friends in high places that there has been a sudden increase in the number of people claiming to be Dr. Raj Persaud. Bandwagons are being jumped, Dick. Bandwagons are being jumped. Mercy me!’

‘But why would people do such a thing?’

‘Why indeed except to create what we computer experts call “a denial of service attack” on your blog. I will write about it on a future “Dork Talk” but a précis of that piece would be the warning that in the coming day, many people will post comments in which they claim to be Dr. Raj. You have been told, Dick. End of communication. Fry out. Heavens!’

Could any sensible man ignore such a warning? I couldn’t work after news like that. What is the world coming to when people are hiding behind a psychiatrist in order to play some foolish charade? This, in my opinion, is the biggest problem with the Internet. Given that there are no rules or mechanisms in play to verify a person’s your identity, we have all kind of lunatics running around under pseudonyms like ‘ElephantBoy’ or ‘GrimReaper’. Even now, there are at least six ‘Richard Madeley’s on Facebook and only one of them is me. Then there’s ‘The Twitch’, ‘Elberry’, Lola, Bertas, ‘Nige’, ‘Okbye’: all of you are pseudonyms and don’t really exist. The only ones out there with real knees I could touch are ‘Richard Havers’ and ‘Selena Dreamy’. I’m liable to do something about this in the near future and might use my remaining shows on Channel 4 to demand that the government moves to outlaw this kind of behaviour.

These were all the thoughts going through my mind after Stephen’s phone call yesterday afternoon. After I had calmed myself down with a stiff drink, I returned to my desk armed for an onslaught and closed my autobiography for another day, the milestone still not reached. Literature would suffer because of these fools. Literature would suffer...

21 comments:

bertas said...

Hm I hate to contradict but I do have a knee and it can be touched... in fact just shaved my legs last night so there :p :)

Richard Madeley said...

Perhaps I was a tad hasty saying knees. I meant elbows. I know pseudonyms don't have elbows, either shaved or hairy.

The Twitch said...

Dick, alas you are right again. My pen-name,Anonymous Twitch, is merely a figment of my own medicated imagination, one of the many characters that roam around causing havoc & mischief in my mind. however each one of these many-mees has feelings and knees that can be touched.your implied suggestion that I am not real has made me confused and almost catatonic, it has hurt me. I am contemplating taking my twitching persona and my pen over to Dr. Raj's most excellent site, where I feel I will be better understood and appreciated and at least his tan & hair is real, unlike yours.The Anonymous Twitch is saddened by your slurs.

Richard Madeley said...

Bertas and now Twitch, I was writing out of anger and I apologise for doubting your knees. As you can see, I've now removed my doubt.

Twitch, I would not advise you to visit Dr. Raj's miserable blog. I notice that he hasn't even updated it today. Stay here with me where you know that you're safe and warm. Bill Oddie is willing to install a camera in your nestbox.

Lola said...

You've suggested more than once that I'm not real. My mum knows I am, and you should take her word for it.

As for that Raj bloke, you should get Clarkson to take him out, and all the clones. He's made a right mess of the comments in your last post.

Dr. Raj said...

As for that Richard bloke, you should get Clarkson to take him out, and all the clones. He's made a right mess of the comments in your last post.

Richard Madeley said...

Lola, I'll scratch you off the list of people who don't exist as soon as I can get into my blogger account.

I've clearly misjudged the nature of reality. What a typical Monday...

Barbara said...

Hey, I exist too. I just looked in the mirror to make sure. My dog vouched for me too, but you have to keep in mind I'm the one who feeds him and he'll say whatever I tell him to. And I promise if I ever make it to London you are free to touch my knee or elbow. Anything other areas will have to be negotiated at the time. I'll even switch to my Google account which I confess I didn't use from the beginning because I had never "blogged" before and didn't know how when I first posted.
Okbye

Okbye said...

Hey, I exist too.

Richard Madeley said...

Barbara and Okbye, you do both exist in both elbows and knees. I'm pretty sure of it. I'll also cross out your name when I get access to my Blogger account.

Katharos Drakkina said...

Hmmm, this is clearly what they invented OpenID for... the proving of the ownership of knees. I wonder if I could get some kind of knee-owning certificate to paste on the front page of my LJ. Hmmm.

Can you not ban IDs or IP addresses on blogger? Or are you in fact enjoying being spammed? It puts the blog comments up billy'o!

10k words in a day! That's a lot of typing o.O If I manage 2k I pat myself on the back, and feed myself a cookie...

Dick Madeley said...

I don't know what I can do about these people. When somebody wants to pretend to be a national treasure such as Dr. Raj, there's nothing we can do to stop them.

Oh, I can't write 10,000 in a day! My blog is usually 1000-2000 words and then my other writing can be anything between another 1000 to 3000. So, the most I'll ever get written is 4000-5000 words and I can't guarantee that any of that is any good. Some might say that I write nonsense quite prolifically.

Dick Madeley said...

Nice moustache, by the way.

Katharos Drakkina said...

Why thank you. I grew it during a Sherlock Holmes drinking party, although by 'grow', I actually mean 'stuck on with rather feeble glue which I unfortunately discovered can be dissolved with beer'. But never mind.

Dick Madeley said...

My dear Katharos (I hope you don't mind me calling you 'dear' -- I mean it only as a worried father would refer to a daughter of notoriously wild ways), did you not know that glue weakened by beer can actually promote hair growth on the female upper lip? I fear for you. Have you noticed any adverse reaction to the glue/beer mixture? Have you found yourself shaving beneath your nose (yet above your bottom lip) more often recently?

I only know all this because I once spread glue weakened with bear on my eyebrows when doing panto, one year. I have had trouble with my eyebrows ever since.

Katharos Drakkina said...

A panto involving beer and glue? I haven't seen one since I was a wee bairn, but I suspect that's a bit out of the ordinary.

I suppose I shall just have to hope a mustache will make me look more distinguished. At least fancy dress at the next party will be a whole £2.99 cheaper!

Dick Madeley said...

The glue was for the makeup. The beer was our usual pint after a day standing in front of screaming kids.

£2.99 for a fake moustache? I always pay at least £5 for mine. You should send me the address of your costumer. I go through at least four fake moustaches a week when travel around London incognito.

Katharos Drakkina said...

Clearly your problem is buying them in London. ^.~

Dick Madeley said...

I actually buy them from Paris.

I like the ones with the waxed ends that I can roll in my fingertips and look generally mysterious.

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