Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Self Analysis

‘By Ricky Gervais’ glorious buttocks!’ I cried as I sat and watched ‘The One Show’ on BBC1 tonight. ‘I can’t believe what I’m hearing!’

Judy looked up from her Dick Francis and I’m sure I felt the BBC shiver. It was like the Eye of Sauron looking towards the West.

‘He’s selling a book,’ she said before she calmly licked a finger and turned a page. ‘He needs to say those things to get attention.’

I wasn’t so sure. A man desperate for people to offload cash into his bank account is liable to make all kinds of trouble for a man of my celebrity. More to the point: I’m meant to be attending a RSPB bash this weekend and Bill Oddie will be there to name an owl after me. This kind of bad publicity plays right into the hands of a man like Michael Aspel who has been angling for the owl honours for some time.

I’ve been on thin ice ever since I made that unguarded remark about Phillip Schofield’s interest in mallards. Yet the sad part of this whole debacle is that I don’t honestly know what I’ve done to deserve such trouble. What began on the radio had moved over to prime-time BBC where a guy – undoubtedly handsome, charming, and sporting a natty line in jackets – was bad mouthing ‘The Appreciation Society’ to Adrian Chiles.

‘It’s a sad day when Adrian Chiles tuts disapprovingly at your life’s work,’ I told Judy.

Only Judy didn’t respond and I was forced to sit there listening as the undeniably handsome fellow went on to tell Chiles that there are malign forces at work. As far as I could tell, he was implying that there were men loitering behind bathroom curtains with notebooks in their hands, jotting down his activities and then writing them up in some kind of informal weblog. The whole thing sounded as shady as it did vulgar, and without even a dash of élan or educated wit. It got worse when Chiles did a bit more tutting.

I rewound the Sky+ and watched the interview a second time from the beginning, just to get my bearings and to count up the number of tuts. If I could prove that he’d tutted more times than is allowed by the BBC Charter, I’d have something to hold over Chiles...

Only, as I reached the early teens, I was suddenly caught off guard by something the handsome blighter said.

‘Did he just say that the blog is a bit rude?’ I asked.

Judy sighed and lowed her Dick Francis for a second time. ‘He did,’ she answered, ‘and I think he’s absolutely right to do so. That adorable and simply divine young man is talking a lot of sense, Dick, and the sooner you hear what he says, the sooner you might stop wasting your time being filthy for strangers.’

‘Rude! Filthy!’ If I hadn’t had them surgically hosed clean of wax last week, I wouldn’t have believed my ears. ‘My Appreciation Society is the most tasteful blog on the web! It was commended in “The Guardian”.’

‘The Guardian,’ muttered Judy as the Dick Francis came down for a third time and felt the weight of her elbow as she broke its spine over the arm of her chair. ‘Dick, I think it’s time that you faced a few facts. You have a very juvenile attitude towards the human body and an unnatural obsession with Vanessa Feltz’s cleavage. Over the last year, I’ve watched you write 300,000 words of witty but unpublishable prose, poems to Stephen Fry and Jeremy Paxman, limericks and letters to Sir Clive James, and a few dubious tales about David Dickinson’s crotch. You have discussed chafing in sensitive areas, mentioned your nipples on countless occasions, and also insist on telling strangers about every instance when you’ve been hit in the genitals.’

‘It was once and it was a golfing umbrella!’ I protested. ‘I think I have a right to make valid points about the abundance of dangerous sports related accessories on our city streets.’

‘And what about all the things you said about midgets?’

‘What can I say? I love the little fellows.’

Her eyebrows arched but she had to allow me that point. I chalked one up to the left-hand side of the ampersand and felt more determined than ever that I wouldn’t give way on any of her demands.

‘But what about the post you wrote about bulldog clips?’ she asked. ‘I thought that was in very dubious taste.’

‘But it was a factual account of something that happened to me last week.’

‘And the time you blamed mimes for damaging your knee?’

‘Another true episode in my glittering life.’

‘And the time you fell asleep in the bath?’

‘Absolutely true. My buttocks did inflate and I was rescued by Ronnie Corbett.’

‘But that story was hardly suitably for public consumption, was it?’ She removed her glasses and began to rub her eyes, unbelieving like the time she first saw the feral form of Fred The Weather swinging through the trees in our garden. ‘Dick, you can’t go around blaming mimes for your failure. You have to learn that Bill Oddie is not the greatest comedian that has ever lived and Stephen Fry does not know the meaning of life. If you want my opinion, this is the time to quit writing your blog and close your Appreciation Society. You are a failed novelist. Why can’t you face the truth? You’re a failed blogger too...’

I scoffed at the very notion. ‘Quit? Never! Dick Madeley is immortal! Dick Madeley never ages! He is hung from history’s peg, a casual archetype of all that’s brave, witty, and manly. He’s the Alpha Male dressed in loose fitting slacks, sauntering through life sans underwear. You could erase his identity as easily as you could remove Galileo from the annals of the past, deny Newton his rightful place at Fame’s table, or cast aside the names Churchill, Henry the Fifth, or Nicholas Parsons.’
Judy replaced her glasses and returned to her book.

‘Well, you asked for my advice and I gave it,’ she said as simple and elegant as one of her characteristic links into a commercial break.

It wasn’t long before she retired to bed and left me rewinding the show and watching it again from the beginning.

‘Immortal,’ I whispered as, for a third time, Chiles introduced the lightly whiskered chap, glittering like TV gold on the end of ‘The One Show’ sofa. ‘Immortal...’


James Higham said...

Unhealthy preoccupatiion with buttocks here, Richard. Get a grip on yourself, man.

Barbara said...

I used to think Judy was a smart woman but "Stephen Fry doesn't know the meaning of life"? She has no idea what she's talking about.

Barbara said...

p.s. Are you REALLY Richard Nixon?

Dick Madeley said...

James, it is a preoccupation but it's hardly unhealthy.

Barbara, I did think that about Judy, too. Stephen knows more than just the meaning of life. He is the meaning of life.

And yes, I really am Richard Nixon and I'm not a crook.

Joey Joe Joe Jr. said...

Wonderful! What a splendid idea to take the opportunity to look back at some of the finest Appreciation Society moments. It's been a hell of a ride, Richard!

Dick Madeley said...

Joey, thank you. I'm still here, of course, and I hope to carry on blogging. It's just been a funny few days with people talking about me... It's made me feel almost unwanted.

jillydoc said...

Dear dear Richard. You do seem to be having a difficult time of it, my dear. But now that you've got through the worst (I hope) of the book tour, I am hoping that you will write the comedy tome that we are waiting for. Much as I love Judy she sees you as a devoted husband and chat show host, not the witty, charming, creative, funny and honest blogger you are. Plus, I didn't see you ask her for her opinion which as every half of a long married couple knows, you never give without being asked.

p.s. I hope the tooth imprint has completely gone, although you might challenge Bill Oddie to name the species and place the habitat.

The Twitch said...

I always believed this blog was pure filth cunningly disguised as comedy. Keep up the good work Dick.

percy stilton said...

I often pensively ponde... where would we all be without you Dick? The blogosphere is so much brighter for your being.

Lola said...

Noooooooo! Don't stop! Pleeeeeease!

A bit of well-deserved commendation has been coming your way, albeit disguised as criticism and suspicion. Pah! What do they know. Of course you exist.

Nige said...

That's the spirit Dick - keep it up! Percy Stilton is right...

James Higham said...


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