The illusions of alcohol

James Marston-our self-confessed, self-obsessed-would-be celebrity columnist talks today about his favourite subject-him. THE life of a wanna-be-celebrity-even-if-you-arent-one is never easy.

James Marston-our self-confessed, self-obsessed-would-be celebrity columnist talks today about his favourite subject-him.

THE life of a wanna-be-celebrity-even-if-you-arent-one is never easy.

You've got to be good looking, fit, healthy, clean living and, unless you're a naughty superstar, always smiling and ready for anything.

And do you know dear readers I'm struggling to cope with the demands. I know I have the looks, the charisma, the charm and the style but fame without the fame isn't easy.

I don't even have a lifestyle guru.

Nevertheless there's no reason why I shouldn't be spotted, snapped by the paparazzi, asked for the odd autograph and stopped in the street like any other almost famous star. It's a rite of passage and I determined to take it.

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And do you know my loyal fans, just like Madonna-who's always pictured jogging-I have been snapped taking a little light exercise in the east Suffolk resort of Felixstowe.

I rolled up my trousers stepped into the North Sea and took myself for a little run between the groynes.

Lucy, my plain-speaking photographer friend was on hand to deliver instructions as well as take the paparazzi snap.

“If you want to look like a celebrity you have to be running James-its what they do,” she bellowed from the shingle.

“Yes but I want to look like a celebrity who hasn't mean to be photographed.”

“Leave it to me,” she cheerily replied before I heard a distinct “He's never going to get a job on Baywatch with that gait, who does he think he is?” muttered under her breath.

What a weekend I had.

I slipped over to the west of the county on Saturday to lunch in the horse racing town of Newmarket with my stunning-blonde friend Deborah before motoring to Suffolk's medieval gem Bury St Edmunds for a get together of the cream of East Anglian journalism. I was, naturally, at my most entertaining.

However, on Sunday I wasn't in the best of humour.

I arrived at the Ipswich terribly Operatic and disturbingly Dramatic Society for a costume fitting.

Margaret-the lady with the sewing kit-took me under her wing.

Having a good day?”I asked

“No. Not really,” she replied before telling me how Janet-the other lady with the sewing kit-had fallen off the stage in dramatic fashion and been taken to casualty. Never a dull moment is it.

“Well, I think I might add to your woes,” I added, as she walked round me with a trundle wheel measuring me up for a sparkling waistcoat. “Nothing seems to fit me.”

“Don't worry James” she replied “We'll just sew a few things together, we've got enough material.”

I went home depressed and in the mood for chips.

GOD I'm tired of Jamie Oliver.

Will he ever shut up?

As if life isn't bad enough. What with taxes, bills, mortgages, rent-our lives are already limited enough without him banging on and on about what he thinks we should and shouldn't eat. Yawn. I don't want to hear it.

And who says “pukka” anyway?

FOR those among us who are talented in the musical direction I have a handy tip this week.

To clean piano keys just squeeze toothpaste on a damp cloth. Rub the keys well, wipe dry, and buff with a soft, dry cloth. Works wonders on the ivories.

AS Queen Marie of Romania lay dying she said something along the lines of “I must have the first case non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver-I don't drink.”

It was 1928 and the poor Queen, who was born a British princess during the august Victorian era, was dying of cancer. But her doctors were too scared to tell her the truth so they told her a little white lie.

Marie, by all accounts wasn't a stupid woman. I think she knew she was on the way out.

Unlike Marie, I like a drink and have never really been tee total but for the past two months I've been more off the booze than on. It's a strange feeling.

I used to have a few drinks perhaps once every couple of weeks, and on and off in between.

It wasn't a constant stream more an occasional trickle but alcohol, ever since my heady days as a student, has never been far away.

But recently, just recently, I've not been drinking-well not much.

I suspect this change in attitude is just because I'm older. My twenties are behind me, my youth is floating away, even my hair is dispersing.

I am also aware that drunk old people is much less attractive and significantly less excusable than a younger man who's had one too many.

For those among you who have yet to reach this epiphany here are some thoughts.

Alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, cleverer, faster and better looking than most people.

Alcohol may lead you to think people are laughing with you.

Alcohol may cause you to think you can sing.

Alcohol may cause pregnancy.

Alcohol may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.

Alcohol may make you think you can logically converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting.

Alcohol may make you think you are whispering when you are not.

All a bit depressing isn't it? Think I need a drink. Pass the cider.