Friday, 29 August 2014


I’ve noticed, walking through a shopping precinct or high street, that six out ten people are staring down at their smart phones. Occasionally flicking a glance in shop windows to check they’re as fantastic as the Selfie they took of themselves five minutes before. Narcissistic? You bet.

Some people think that this is the ruination of social life. But it suits me fine. Being noticed is very low on my list. Why? Because my various ailments are virtually invisible. Apart from my ear, which looks like Luis Suarez has a good chomp at. The damage is concealed behind a plaster. For those interested in medical terminology it is ‘Keratoacanthoma, left pinne. Whatever that is? But for conversation with it I simply call it Luis.

Add to that my occasional limp brought on from my experience on the helter skelter and my Macular Degeneration of my left eye. Yes, it’s nice to be invisible.

My Luis ear was due to be attended to today but a phone call cancelled it. Tom, my youngest son, had asked to kept informed with progress.

I texted him. ‘Ear appointment cancelled. I have to see a plastic surgeon first. What a pisser.’

He replied. ‘Oh, rubbish. On the plus side you could get a face lift too!’

How sweet.  

Monday, 18 August 2014


I went to the Seattle Hotel nervous. I swopped my talk around and around in my head but finally settled on my original idea.

I arrived at the bar at the hotel. Greeted by Gareth, my agent, and Judy Cornwall, with her husband John and Jenny Hanley, both ladies I knew. This didn’t lower my tension.

With a glass of red wine, I decided not to have lunch with them but arranged to get back in the hotel by 2 o’clock. I walked around the Marina. Eventually ended at a pub that didn’t serve beer, so I had a half of Guinness and smoked a couple of fags.

I arrived at the hotel and went into the room where there were about forty or fifty people who had finished their lunch. Gareth introduced me. Applause. And I started talking. There was a certain amount of laughter (I did have a couple of funnies in my locker) and possibly more importantly they listened. They a lady fainted, nothing to do with me I assure you, and had to be taken out on the terrace. I picked up my thread and continued.

The fifteen minutes allotted time was out of the window. I remember Max Miller, who was a very famous British comedian in the forties and fifties. I saw him many times at the Brighton Hippodrome. The story of him running over time when doing a Royal Command Performance is worth telling bearing in my caviler disregard to the clock.

Max is on second to last in R.C.P. The manager of Moss Empires, the biggest chain of Variety theaters in the land, tells Max. ‘Look, you’ve got twelve minutes, I don’t want Jack Benny, who’s following you, hanging around. And anyway, he’s a bigger star than you.’

Max took exception to last remark. He goes on stage. The act is going well. He sees the manager waving to him from the wings. Max takes no notice. He’s going well. Finally he comes off stage.

The manager is fuming. ‘You’ve done it now, Max, you’re never, never work in our theaters again.‘ Max smiled at him, and said. ‘You’re £100,000 too late, son.’

Well I’m not Max. Anyway, I finished. More applause. I sell ten books. Thrilled. One more drink then home. I’d taken twenty books with me (always the optimist). I emptied the bag but there only nine left. Sold ten. Ah.

Someone had nicked one. What a cheek!  

Tuesday, 5 August 2014


On the 14th of August I’m going to the Seattle Hotel at the Marina in Brighton. There are going to be sixty odd people having lunch there. The are known as The Media Group. I’ve been asked to speak to them about my career.

Unfortunately they have only allocated me fifteen minutes to deliver it. Fifty years in the business in fifteen minutes! I know brevity is soul of wit but. hell’s bells, I’ll either have to rattle through it like a rocket or leave chunks out. What chunks, though?

My trouble has always been that I go off in tangents. Mention one thing and I shoot off talking about something different. I met up with Barry Cryer the other day for a chat. We sat down with a beer at four o’clock and I was still there at seven thirty. I say something and that triggers him off on another story. Crazy.

He’s doing a week at the Edinburgh Festival. His act has got to last forty minutes because someone else is booked at the same space straight after him. Barry just tells joke after joke, he’s not aware of time but he’s got an arrangement with his pianist, who plays a chord, to alert Barry, and he launches into his Zimmer Frame song which hits the button dead on the forty minutes.

I haven’t got a pianist and I don’t know the Zimmer song, so I’m up the creek. I’m scratching my head like a lunatic trying to work something out, which is not good for my ever increasingly depleting locks. The floor around me is littered with wispy hair.

There’s no doubt, I’ll be completely bald by the time I face The Media Group. Oh, gawd.

Later P.S. I think I’ve cracked it!