The burden of brains

TIME for a busy man like me is at a premium. If I am not out and about interviewing the great and the good keen to talk to the Evening Star, I can be found at Holywells High School prancing around to the beat of...

TIME for a busy man like me is at a premium.

If I am not out and about interviewing the great and the good keen to talk to the Evening Star, I can be found at Holywells High School prancing around to the beat of the rumba or quickstep or I am enjoying the privacy of my little Ipswich sitting room reading a novel or I am dancing my legs off like an athlete in a particularly demanding routine in the fantasy world of amateur dramatics.

But on top of all this activity being cleverer than most people I know is a burden I have had to endure for some time.

This higher and mostly undisputed level of intelligence comes, however, at a price.

A case in point.

Quizzes: I am always being invited to them.

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But I don't mind really.

In fact I love a quiz-especially a general knowledge one that includes questions about the Duchess of Cornwall-I know everything about her, and on Thursday I shall be enjoying a buffet-sure to include quiche-before answering all the questions the Mayor's charity quiz 2006.

Alongside my illustrious colleagues, I shall be representing and upholding the 125 year-old reputation of the Evening Star inside the cavernous Ipswich Corn Exchange.

Last year we came second-the competition was stiff.

This year our team, handpicked from the cut-throat competitive news room, has decided we want to win.

So as I was laying in the bath reading an anthology of poems by A.E. Housman, puffing on a decadent cigarette and drinking a gin and slim, ice and slice - by no means easy when you only have two hands - I thought of some of the more interesting yet useless snippets of information and factoids that are potentially useful in a quiz, fascinating facts about me for my fans and certainly handy to bear in mind in other situations.

The Duchess of Cornwall was born July 17 1947 at King's College Hospital, London,

Modesty isn't a virtue I possess.

Queen Elizabeth I was excommunicated by Pope Pius V on April 27 1570.

Losing weight takes determination, time and no crisps.

Going to the gym is something dull people do to make themselves more interesting-it doesn't work.

The E-type Jaguar was launched in March 1961 in Geneva. I want one.

I can't afford a Jaguar.

347 million people speak English, 77 million speak French.

There's no need to speak French.

Currently swotting up on recent Tory leaders, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the length of the world's longest rivers, I am preparing the ground for a decisive and absolute victory.

MY battle against the bulge is not going well.

At the end of seven days that included take-away, an awards ceremony-during which I won an award-best person ever in the world and handsomest feature writer of the year-I cannot claim to be slimmer of the week.

I managed to lose only one-and-a-half-pounds at Weight Watchers and that was because I took my shoes off.

Lifestyle guru and lady-of-the-scales Roberta told me not to worry and make sure I note my food intake.

She means eat less and do more, so this week I am determined again to shed the further one and a half pounds I need to lose my first stone.

There has been much talk in our newspaper this week about the virtues of a Suffolk accent.

Mr Dave Feakes of Felixstowe wrote: “Oi'm right glad t'say thet there's two rustic owd Suffolk boys hevin' a word or two in Felixstowe….”

Well I'm not one of them thank God.

Though Suffolk-born and bred I thank my lucky stars, after years of hard work, discipline and listening to the right people, that my accent has been bred out of me.

There can be nothing worse than speaking and sounding like a nincompoop and I am sure no one would take me seriously, not that they should anyway, if I spoke with a strange twang that I was indeed proud of!

What do you think? Should the Suffolk accent stay or go? drop me a line.

ANOTHER day another photo shoot.

My life, though not my figure, is beginning to mirror that of a Calvin Klein underwear model.

This week the cast of the Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society IODS trooped, or in their case sashayed on the balls of their feet, to an Ipswich watering hole to have our pictures taken for the Summer Holiday programme-there's no going back now.

Of course, as an A-list celebrity in demand, I am used to the flashbulb and the paparazzi so the experience was not new to me.

A true professional I offered to strip but was asked, quite firmly as I recall, not to display my six pack but instead to “breathe in and show some teeth.”.

I bet the Duchess of Cornwall doesn't get told that.