Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Being Richard Nixon

Judy woke me with a prod this morning. I was surprised that the secret service had allowed her to get so close as to do me harm.

‘Richard,’ she snapped, ‘have you been recording our telephone conversations?’

I rolled over, rubbed a hand over my face, and then yawned in a most presidential way.

‘Judy,’ I said, ‘I cannot tell a lie. I’ve been making covert recordings of everything that’s been said in this house.’

Her face felt the effect of gravity. ‘Everything?’

I could see that this was the time for a little reassurance, if not some détente and realpolitik. ‘Calm yourself, Jude. You have to trust me. There will come a time when we’ll need to prove what was said in order to be vindicated by history.’

‘History? What’s all this about history?’ Her cheeks flushed in that way that always reminds me of Kissinger watching West Germany beat the Netherlands in the 1974 World Cup. ‘Why does history need to know everything that I’ve been told in confidence by Cilla Black? You know that she trusts me.’

‘Cilla needn’t worry,’ I assured her as I swung my legs out of bed and aimed my toenails towards my slippers, decorated with the crest of the United States. ‘My tape recordings are safely locked away and will only be placed into the Richard Madeley Library when the time is right.’

The room fell silent for a few moments, as I’m sure the tapes will prove.

‘Richard?’ asked Judy as she watched me dress myself in my new dressing gown.

‘Yes, my love?’

‘Can I ask you a question?’

‘Of course you can. It’s one of the privileges of being my First Lady.’

‘And you won’t be angry?’

‘Me? I’m a model of good temper.’

She bit her lip and then let fly. ‘Why are you pretending to be Richard Nixon?’

‘Pretending? This is no pretence, my love. I’ve decided that if people are going to doubt that I’m really me, then I’m going to be somebody else. Somebody I really admire.’

‘You admire Nixon?’

‘Richard Milhous Nixon brought the Vietnam War to an end. He also negotiated peace with the Chinese and provided the name for Bart Simpson’s best friend.’

She nodded. ‘Admirable,’ she admitted, ‘but didn’t he also sign the orders that banned Cilla from performing on American soil during the 1970s?’

‘And that’s another fact that has been forgotten by history. Doesn’t that just show what happens when there are gaps in the official recordings? When historians look back and wonder why a voice like Cilla’s never conquered the greatest nation, they will have my recordings to thank for your explanation.’

That fact did not bring about the warming of relations that I’d expected. It was like I’d ordered the bombing of Cambodia.

‘You’re not recording this conversation, are you Richard?’ she asked. ‘You’re not actually recording what’s said in our bedroom?’

‘I am,’ I admitted as I walked do the bedroom door. ‘Ever since Monday morning when Stephen Fry came around when you were at snooker and we write the whole house for sound. There’s not a peep that isn’t picked up. There will be no gaps in my recording. People will understand everything about my administration. There will be no secrets about Richard Percival Madeley.’ And with that I gave her my best victory salute, both arms high and twin ‘V’s balanced on the end of my knuckles, before I headed for a presidential breakfast.


Unknown said...

I liked the subtle nod you gave to us Appreciation Society fans on Monday's The One Show, Richard. (Commenting on the comfiness of the seating at the start of the show, after the Moylesgate PVC catastrophe). I wonder, was Chiles in on the act?

Uncle Dick Madeley said...

The clues are always there if you know how to look, Joey.

percy stilton said...

I see you have been on the All-Bran again Dick.

Uncle Dick Madeley said...

Can't get enough fibre in the diet, Percy. In fact, that's going to be the key policy of my administration.

James Higham said...

I smell a smokin' gun.

okbye said...

I smell a cease and desist order ;)

percy stilton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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