This week has been a delightful series of happenstance; remarkably fortuitous events that, had they not occurred by accident, I would have been forced to arrange myself. I’ve already detailed my transformation from squirrel protector to squirrel hunter and then to eventual patron saint of squirrels. However, I’ve not yet detailed the strange series of emails which have led me to discover one the most forward thinking minds of our age. That’s right: I’m talking about Tony.
It was late last week and I was communicating with a philosopher friend who happens to be writing a book detailing Immanuel Kant’s previously unrecorded visits of Wales. As you know, one of my solo projects is to be a TV version of ‘Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason’ and I was interested in his ideas for the programmes. However, I was working well past the midnight hour. Judy’s trombone had been silent for at least an hour and I was still at my desk. I’m a bit of a bungler when it comes to my relationship with the keyboard but this is especially true once it gets into the early AM. Call it carelessness or the mysterious workings of fate but I missed out a letter in the email address. Instead of going to my good friend Simon in Wales, the message arrived in the inbox of a complete stranger.
Now, most strangers when receiving one of my misdirect emails go straight to the newspapers with a demand for a small fortune. Lawyers usually become involved, money found, and then Judy has to downsize our holiday plans for the year. However, on this occasion, a reply came back pretending to be my friend Simon.
It had me fooled until the last line:
Was only talking to La Price this afternoon, and your name came up. Alas, she only too well recalls her appearance on the show in 2002 when she was debating whether to have her boobs further enlarged and your comments & mime still make her shudder. And not in that way, either.
Glad you're on board: I'll get my people to run up a prelim treatment, and should have a foot in the door next week.
Will speak Tuesday although am seeing my oncologist first thing so might be a bit woozy.
Realising I had made a terrible mistake, I hastily constructed a reply to ‘Tony’:
From: Richard Madeley
Sent: Monday, 13 July, 2009 19:04:15
Subject: Re: Kant: The TV Series
Dear Simon/‘A********s’/Anthony/Tony, or, for all I know, Geraldine, Doreen, or Sandra.
You clearly have the advantage over me as I seem to have mad
e a b loated arse of myself! Many apologies for sending you a message intended for another per son. I didn’t realize that there were so many people in Wales that such confusion could even occur. Do you know Simon? He has ginger hair and a funny accent that makes him sound like Anthony Hopkins but without t he Oscar success. Of course you must know him. Wales is such a small place. I bet you’ve already shared a joke about my stupidity over a pint of that Guinness you’re so famous for.
I have so many questions to ask, what with you are the only g
enuine Welshman I’ve spoken with on email. (Simon is actually English, which, as you’ve probably guessed, accounts for the ginger hair.) Does this mean you’re one of the few people in Wal es with access to the internet? I can only congratulate you on being so forward thinking. Have you seen the opening of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’? I don’t suggest you throw your mouse up in the air but I think the similarities are there for all to see...
Dick Madeley (Tall, fawn, English)
Naturally, the email was a touch tongue-in-cheek, hoping to provoke a response, but I didn’t expect a long reply witty reply which ended with a suggestion for a road safety scheme that my new friend hoped I might be able support.
Despite 30 years of prosecutions & advertising a hard core are never going to stop [drink driving]. So isn't it time we took a different strategy & allowed it one evening of the week? Suppose drink-driving were legalised between 9 & 12 on a Tuesday night? People could drive to a nice country pub (legally) at 7, spend an agreeable evening imbibing heavily, and then drive home. As long as the day were advertised satisfactorily (and I don't believe anyone would fail to hear about it) then anyone hurt by a drunk would only have themselves to blame. Any children hurt after 9 should have been in bed and be grateful they're not in care. Yes, there will be a lot of damage to property, but in a recession this would prove a valuable economic stimulus. One heavy drink-driving session a week would be enough for anyone, and would provide a valuable promotion to our hard-pressed rural pubs.
One thing you know about your Uncle Dick is that he likes to encourage talent in youth. I immediately replied. Despite the lateness of the hour and my need to be up early the next day to attend a genealogy seminar in Kidderminster, I knew that a mind as rare as this needs cultivating with loving care.
From: Richard Madeley
Sent: Wednesday, 15 July, 2009 0:32:24
Subject: Re: Kant: The TV Series
My darling Tony,
I am disappointed to learn that you’re English, though your estuar
y twang is clear to me now. South of Watford but no so far south as to drink scrumpy or have buxom daughters able to bring me mead in the morning. Do I detect the faint accent of Notting Hill, Sodsbury Park, or Hammersmith? Being a Romford lad, myself, I sense that we share similar values. It’s why I’m not hesitating in lending my support to your scheme to introduce legalised periods for drink-driving. It is brushed with brilliance, tickled by genius, and cupped by the warm fingers of inspiration. And not only is it informed by popular lifestyle choices but I believe it h as value as early evening entertainment which we might be able to get onto one of the minor satellite channels or even BBC2.
As executive producer on the show/scheme (I would demand no less), I would promote barbed wire impact zones with minor celebrity endorsement (e.g. get impaled through the hip by a carburettor, Peter Kay runs on
to sing about armadillos). That would be the main selling point, though your dancing monkey idea also appeals. I’ve mentioned the idea to Judy and she’s is keen to make it a baboon. However, I’m sure we can iron out that kind of detail during the production meetings.
As you are no doubt aware, I’m a man with his middle finger warmed to the temperature of British public and what this show clearly needs is an educative angle. Perhaps begin with our driver fully sober and then we slowly introduce alcohol to their bloodstream. I have patented an anally mounted injection syste
m which could easily be adapted to pump alcohol into the system, perhaps con trolled by a respectable celebrity such as Carol Vorderman. I can see it now: a young lout, possibly from a council estate in the North, drives the wrong way up the A448 or even the A449 towards Kidderminster. We cut to the studio to see Carol activate the pump before he barrel rolls down the road wiping out a coach carrying the Rhondda Male Voice choir. And if that’s not a winning formula for popular TV combined with a public service broadcast, I don’t know what is.
The more I think of this, the more I like you ideas. Do you have any more? We’re particularly interested in any scheme that might combat the rise in illegal nipple smuggling from the Far East as it would fit with a show we alre
ady have in production.
How fortunate it was that my email missed its target but found its way to a greater mind.
Since my reply, we’ve debated the subject at some length. I’ll soon have a proposal put together that I’ll be forwarding to the relevant TV production companies. ‘Richard Madeley’s Road Rage’ is the title I like best, though Judy suggests ‘Pandering To The Mob Mentality With An Inhumane Bloodthirsty Spectacle with Richard Madeley’. I guess she thinks the show would work best on Sky One.
In the meantime, if there’s anybody out there who need to contact my new ‘ideas man’, then you can do so though me and I’ll forward your details. I’ll be only taking a 10% commission from any of his ideas which are subsequently made into government schemes, TV/film projects, and third world revolutions.