Friday 4 September 2009


Currently running a week behind real time so these are the ‘highlights’ of last week:

I had read in my local paper, the ‘Hastings Observer’ - (Best ever headline when reporting on an inquiry into a crane dropping a small bulldozer onto an unoccupied shed with no casualties apart from some splintered wood - "CARNAGE!"), a few weeks back that someone was going to be standing on the plinth in Trafalgar Square. All part of the Anthony Gormley thing of 100 days of one person per hour standing up there being artistic. I interviewed him about it when I sat in for Claudia Winkleman a few months back. Not sure who or what the local person was about, but when I arrived she was nearly at the end of her hour and was holding up a piece of paper with the words: “I have had a really good time", or something similar complete with a smiley face. When I have seen plinth people in the past, I’ve noticed that they seem to have run out of material pretty quickly, as an hour is a very long time to be standing up there surrounded by gawpers like me. I whipped out my camera to take a pic and… erm, this is all I got.

So apologies unnamed woman, I’m sure you did my adopted hometown proud. I will have to be careful with this or I’m going to end up being jailed. A girl I know was out with another woman friend once and noticed that a bloke was trying to take a picture up her skirt whilst she was checking out the magazines in a newsagent. Needless to say the bloke fled in terror when they brought their considerable and justified fury to bear.

After I’d finished taking embarrassing snaps of strangers, I decided to have a walk along the Thames. I love walking alongside water as there’s so much to see and also it’s generally flat. No waterfalls on this stretch of the river. I was on the South bank and walked into a swanky mall and suddenly my blood ran cold for there it was…..the machine that blighted my life! I’ve never been much of a rebel and have always obeyed signs that say ‘Keep of the Grass’ or ‘No Fishing’.

A few years ago I was out with a friend and we were walking along the river and came to this same mall called ‘Hays Galleria’. In it there’s a rather fine moving sculpture called ‘The Navigators’ by David Kemp.

The oars move and water pours out turning the paddle wheels and various other bits of it whirl round. It makes an excellent centrepiece and focal point for all the people eating and generally milling around and shopping. It also has a big red button on it marked ‘In emergency’. I was pointing this out to my friend and for some dumb reason had forgotten, or misjudged, the length of my arm with my outstretched finger. The upshot of this was that I pressed the button and the whole thing ground to a noisy halt. The Galleria fell silent and several hundred pairs of eyes swivelled in my direction. The button had a lock on it so it needed a security man with a special key for it to be reactivated. My impotent tugging at it had no impact other than to focus people’s attention on the perpetrator….me! There was only one thing for it and that was to slink away trying, (and failing), to look nonchalant. I gather that whistling is one way to affect nonchalance.... I can't.

This act has haunted me for years and it spawned a thread on the show at the time entitled ‘don't touch the button’. It would appear I wasn't alone in this as others have had similar experiences. No wonder we live in ‘Broken Britain’. People can't go around pressing buttons that don't belong to them whenever they feel like it; it’s the top of a particularly thin and slippery wedge!!

Meanwhile back in the present (well last week anyhow), further up the South Bank there was a commotion and a lot of people wandering around looking like they were attending a wedding. They were I suppose, but it was for a film. Straining to see if it was yet another London based Rom Com I was unable to spot Renee Zellwegger, Colin Firth nor fop-fringed Hugh Grant.

Also absent were Simon Pegg, Emma Thompson and Stephen Fry. However judging by the director’s accent as he yelled at the cast through the megaphone, and also members of the crew, it may have been a Bollywood movie in progress. Since I’ve been living in the capital I’ve stumbled on four or five different film sets. One was a costume drama being made outside a pub in Maida Vale. Another time early one morning, another Bollywood crew were filming a sports car going up and down St Johns Wood High Street. On another two occasions Regents Park was the location and a square in Soho.

I like to think that if they will all come out at the same time, and are all going to feature at Cannes, the critics will note me in the background on all of them. A bit like ‘Where's Wally?’

Still continuing with the walking and the diet and it seems to be delivering the desired result, so Blubberwatch has now resulted in me weighing less than before my first America Adventure in 2007. There’s still a way to go though, so let us hope it continues. The downside is I am ‘between’ trousers. The fat pair is now ‘baggy’ and I need a belt to hold them up. The other pair is still rather tight causing a marked ‘Clarkson overhang’.

Many of you have remarked on the new feature we have on the website - our Cartoon Gallery. Clive Goddard is a professional artist whose work has been seen in among other things, The Times, The Spectator and Private Eye. He’s also the illustrator of children's books in the "Horrible" and "Awesome". Clive has kindly agreed to provide a cartoon about the show every month. The first one is up and depicts ‘Buffoon Town’. The next one I have seen and it features me among others. Hopefully by the time it’s published on the web I will look nothing like it


Martin Lower said...

We will have to have a whip-round to buy you one of those red buttons that say "That was easy", when pushed. I think they are to combat executive stress, in your case it would be therapy!

Great blog as always Dark £ord...

DamoIRL said...

Ahh, that reminds me of the button scene in the aeroplane episode of Father Ted. LOL

cherdmed said...

I suggest you never visit a nuclear war room. I'm sure there are loads of buttons saying DO NOT PRESS. You can never just slink out unnoticed there.

moggy said...

button pushing i had a new ford fusion auto about 4 months ago and on the gear stick thingy theres a button ! i have never pushed it in !! should i ? WHAT WILL HAPPEN

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cherdmed said...

Moggy...don't push may be the ejector button!

Decaff Dora said...

Ah yes - the joy of pushing red buttons. The most satisfying one ever being on my 'Big Mouth Billy Bass' wallmounted singing fish. Though on one occasion, a friend's three year old nearly had to have trauma counselling when, having stabbed at the button with chubby little toddler fingers, Billy, launched unexpectedly into 'Don't worry, be happy...'

moggy said...

hello ,, well i am pleased to inform you i did not push the button in my car ,,,, i read the book that tell you what all the buttons do in my car ,i now know ! if you want more info on this go to SLAP MY TOP WEB SITE

Juha said...

So the famous plinth is that large.
I had a mental image of an upside down
bucket, and very very brave people
sitting on it.