Thursday, 24 February 2011

The Other Facebook

‘Sex sells,’ said my friend who, for reasons of discretion, I won’t name beyond giving you his initials which are ‘S.M.’ ‘I’ve been giving serious thought to the future direction of your blog which I’ve been overseeing for the past six months.’

‘And doing a lousy job of it,’ I complained. ‘You’ve not updated it once in all the time I’ve been away filming my new series celebrating some of North Africa’s most popular and long-serving leaders.’

‘Nonsense,’ he replied. ‘I’ve merely allowed the field to lie fallow before we put you out to stud.’

‘I don’t like your analogy, Stanley,’ I confessed. ‘You don’t put out a horse to stud until he’s past his best.’

‘All the same, the analogy still holds,’ said my friend who was rapidly losing his claims to that title. ‘The point I’m trying to make is that you need to transform your blog into the next social networking phenomenon and I think I’ve hit upon a fantastic plan. You’ve heard of Facebook, that hugely successful and some might say unbeatable website? However, they have a clear disadvantage.’

‘Which is?’

‘Do you know where the face ranks in the list of the internet’s most popular anatomical features?’

‘No idea,’ I said, for, indeed, I didn’t.

‘Nineteenth. Which means there’s plenty of room for us to beat it...’
I shrugged but he just took that as encouragement.

‘What I propose, therefore, is that we take the name of the Richard Madeley Appreciation Society and change it to…’

I held my breath.



‘It’s just like Facebook but without the faces.’

‘But we’d have arses, right?’

‘Exactly so!’ he said. ‘They are the third most popular anatomical feature on the internet but number one if we discount those that are pornographic.’

I quickly grabbed his hand and tested his pulse. Much to my surprise, he wasn’t throwing a temperature and his pulse seemed normal.

‘I don’t think Judy would appreciate it if people started to associate my name with the human posterior,’ I said.

‘They won’t,’ replied my friend. ‘They’ll simply think “arse”.’

Well, I wasn’t sure they didn’t think that already. I looked out from under my brow which had descended to settle on the upper slop of my classically handsome nose. The conjunction of hairy caterpillar on schnoz usually sends out the warning signals.

‘What’s up?’ he asked. ‘You don’t want to become an internet billionaire before you turn forty?’

‘I’d close my blog and delete it from the face of the earth before I’d allow you to associate me with an arse,’ I said. ‘Besides, I have other plans for the blog. Plans that involve certain a British television presenter, freelance journalist, and model…’

‘Not Andrew Neil,’ gasped my friend who, as many of you will know, is somewhat obsessed with the man and his sideburns.

‘I mean Chloe, my celebrated daughter, product of my loins, the apple of mine eye, the second generation Madeley with improved battery life that sits easier in the hand. Since I’m considering retiring to the radio, I think it might be time to change the title of my blog to the Chloe Madeley Appreciation Society so it might appeal to the eager young thrusters out there keen on highly-talented blondes.’

‘But this is barefaced nepotism,’ countered my friend. ‘Has she worked years in regional television? Does she have the requisite qualifications to call herself a journalist? What about her membership of the NUJ? What right have you to call her a “presenter, freelance journalist, and model”?’

‘Those are not my words,’ I replied coolly. ‘Those are the words of Wikipedia.’

My friend seemed to sink into his suit. ‘I refuse to be part of this,’ he said, finally. ‘You wouldn’t be allowed to hand over power like this if we lived in the Middle East. Have you learned nothing from the example of Egypt? If Hosni Mubarak couldn’t get away with this, they why should you?’

I smiled. ‘Hosni Mubarak didn’t have his own book club and a loyal following on Radio 2 ready to defect from Richard Bacon.’