Monday, 14 July 2008

On Jeremy Clarkson's Cruel Mockey of Bill Oddie

Necks are very much like testicles. Nobody takes you seriously when you injure them.

I reflected on this when I arrived at the breakfast table this morning, having just endured two painful hours simply trying to get dressed. My condition hadn’t been helped by the bad choices I’d made when it came to put on my trousers. The severity of my bad neck made it impossible to look down to see where I was putting my legs. I had spent half an hour trying to get into my pants before I arrived at the only logical conclusion: that I should hang my trousers from the wardrobe’s door knob and then drop into them from a great height.

And that hadn’t been the success I’d anticipated...

I’d climbed on the wardrobe well enough and from there I’d launched myself on a perfect trajectory to drop me squarely into my jeans. Only, in the process of coming into land, I managed to bash my testicles against the wardrobe’s handle. The pain in my neck was matched by a greater one down below where I now have a minimalistic bruise shaped like an Ikea doorknob and with that same Scandinavian flair.

‘You could have come to help me,’ I said to Judy later, as I rummaged through the freezer drawer.

She was busy preparing our packed lunches to take to the Channel 4 studios and was busy peeling sprouts. ‘I have more important things to do than bother about your neck,’ she said. ‘And I’ve just had a phone call from Bill Oddie. He sounded extremely annoyed.’

‘As I imagine he would be,’ I replied as I slid a bag of frozen runner beans down the front of my trousers in the hope they’d help reduce the swelling around my own recently peeled sprouts. ‘Jeremy was very unfair on him on last night’s Top Gear.’

‘I think there’s something wrong with Jeremy.’

‘Clearly wrong,’ I agreed. ‘He knows how much Bill Oddie means to me and that’s why he’s going out of his way to ruin the man’s reputation among the Japanese. He clearly suspects that my blog has a very large readership around the Pacific Rim.’

Judy sliced off an ear of cheese and began to nibble on it before she turned on the red onions. The onions stood no chance.

‘You should do something to cheer Bill up,’ she said. ‘You could invite him on the show. You always have fun making vulgar allusions to tits.’

‘And believe me, Judy, there’s nothing I’d love to do more. Only, it’s impossible due to Bill’s contract with the BBC. As one of the BBC’s Untouchables, they won’t allow him to appear on any other channel. Do you know that they’ve had him electronically tagged? He makes one false move towards Channel 4 and they send out a snatch squad to take him back.’

‘That’s terrible,’ said Judy. ‘I can’t believe the BBC could be so cruel.’

‘Believe me, Jude. I’ve seen it happen. You don’t know terror until you’ve seen Huw Edwards in a balaclava dragging an innocent birdwatcher from the street just because he strayed off course following a migratory heron towards the South Bank.’

‘I always wished that we were untouchable,’ mused Judy.

I looked down at the peas to check that they weren’t melting over my untouchables.

‘Look,’ I said, ‘before we head off to do the show, I’ll send Bill an email and ask him about his owls. That usually does the trick.’

‘That would be nice,’ said Judy. ‘But don’t email. Ring him up. You know he finds your voice soothing.’

Which is exactly what I did, not much later, once my loins had been frozen numb and I’d returned a pack of defrosted runner beans back to the vegetable drawer.
‘Hello. Bill Oddie,’ piped Bill Oddie in a key above the Lesser Greebled Throatwarbler.

‘Bill? It’s Dick. I understand you rang earlier.’

‘I did. I did. I wanted to chat about that Clarkson fellow. Rather rude about me last night, I figured. What did he think he was doing driving around Japan in a mask of my face?’

‘He was being rude, Bill. That’s all it was. He was using the material from my life to make cruel jokes about the nation’s favourite twitcher.’

‘He did. He did. I noticed that. And that’s why I rang. I wondered if there’s any way we can get him back. I had thought about an otter.’

‘An otter?’

‘Stuff one down his trousers. Then I thought it would be a bit cruel and probably wouldn’t look too good with the RSPCA people if I go stuffing a live otter down Jeremy Clarkson’s trousers. And a dead one wouldn’t be any use.’

‘I doubt if there’s room down Jeremy’s jeans for an otter, living or dead,’ I said. ‘Of course, we could give it a go. He might take it as a warning and would think twice about making fun of the two of us.’

‘I didn’t notice that he made much fun of you, Dick.’

‘He mocked my beaver,’ I explained. ‘He said that you could spot it from a mile away. Now how many people do you know that own a real beaver?’

‘True,’ said Oddie.

‘And that means he was also mocking Stephen Fry give that we’ve named the beaver after the Great Man.’

‘Look,’ said Bill. ‘Leave this with me. We clearly need to do something about Clarkson. I’ll give it some thought and I’ll get back to you. I know a man who might be able to lay his hands on a swarm of locusts.’

‘Locusts sound good to me, Bill,’ I said. ‘But let’s leave it for a few weeks. I’m suffering a bad neck and I can still feel an Ikea wardrobe handle between my legs.’

‘Will do,’ said Bill. ‘After all, revenge is a dish best served cold.’

‘As are otters,’ I said before I could stop myself. I had simply forgotten who I was talking to.

‘Otters?’ asked Bill.

‘Oh, a bad joke,’ I replied, happy to get off the phone but not as happy as moments later when I hit the speed dial on the keypad marked ‘1’ and I heard a familiar voice.

‘Ah, ’tis I Fry, on my still fully functioning iPhone.’

‘Stephen? It’s Dick. Quick word of warning. If you happen to get chatting to Bill, don’t mention that cold otter stew we had last week. He wouldn’t understand and he’s feeling a touch temperamental due to Jeremy’s jokes.’

‘Will do, or rather, I won’t do, despite it being rather a sumptuous otter stew and one’s natural inclination is to state as much in a loud theatrical voice whilst standing on some high public projection of great prominence. Ah, Richard... Were I more callous man, I would have taken even more pride in that stew if I could have clubbed those otters to death myself. The gristle of an otter tail is this year’s taste sensation but that it leads you into those simply scrumptious bits of otter belly, touched by the brine of the North Sea, gently mellowed under a Scottish sun! Heavens. And the taste of those lovely otter feet, Dick! Weren’t they just something to die for? Weren’t they just?’

‘They were indeed,’ I replied, ‘and it remains a distinct possibility that we will die for those feet if Bill ever finds out that we’ve been eating his relations.’

‘Ah,’ said Fry. ‘Heavens. Gosh. Hushed silence. Groan.’

But for my neck, I would have shrugged. For the second time in an hour I was glad to hang up the phone.

Some days, you really don’t know what you’re getting into just by getting up in the morning.

8 comments:

Nige said...

Brilliant!

Dick Madeley said...

Thank you Nige.

Now, you were saying about these butterflies?

Katharos Drakkina said...

Now, forgive a girl who doesn't have a clue about TV... but did Jeremy Clarkson really drive around with a Bill Oddie mask, laughing at him on his show? Or is this just more patented Madeley insanity?

Ah, you know it's a good blog when you have no clue with 99 % of it is true or not...

Dick Madeley said...

Katharos, what reason would I have to lie?

On last night's Top Gear, Clarkson was clearly stealing all my best material. Have a look here and tell me what you think. The Bill Oddie bit is at 7 minutes.

Barbara said...

I watched the episode in question last night and unless Bill Oddie is planning on doing some driving in China he should be fine. It may even be an honor to have your face chosen to fool the speed cameras.

Katharos Drakkina said...

Okay.

TV is insane. Cars are insane. THE WHOLE WORLD IS INSANE.

He should get a bike. They don't have license plates, and he'll have actually EARNT his speed.

Also, isn't driving like that really dangerous? o.O

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