The small screen beckons

STAND up comedy is a lonely profession. It's you, a spotlight, and a wall of faces, all expecting to be entertained. The pressure is on and the audience is bursting with anticipation.

STAND up comedy is a lonely profession.

It's you, a spotlight, and a wall of faces, all expecting to be entertained.

The pressure is on and the audience is bursting with anticipation.

So this week, taking a moment away from the cutting edge of journalism that is the Evening Star newsroom, I found myself in the unlikely position of being the stand in stand up as the ladies and gentlemen of the Castle Hill United Reformed Church needed an afternoon speaker to inform and entertain them after their original act went abroad.

It was with the promise of the diet-breaking forbidden fruit of biscuits in the back of my mind that I climbed into the trusty rusty Rover and made my way across town to fill my half-hour slot-A day in the life of the Evening Star.

A room full of thirty or so ladies, and indeed one man-all, I am sure they won't mind me saying, of more mature years-had given up their afternoon to listen to my words of wisdom about the behind-the scenes-machinations and characters-behind-the-by-lines of the most exciting evening newspaper this side of the River Gipping.

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Though tempted to discourse in depth on the theme of my little Ipswich sitting room and the world of amateur dramatics, I managed to stay on course discussing the theory of newspaper reporting and the development of the humble fact file while my audience remained enraptured and entranced as I talked about myself and me and things I know about for nearly 40 minutes. Always keen to discuss my favourite subject – me - I was in heaven.

It was not until the questions and answer session, by which time the audience had a full understanding of libel law and the English judicial system and it's relationship with the modern press that the real grilling began.

“Who is the most important person in the newsroom?” One lady asked.

“The editor's PA. She controls the stationery.” I replied without hesitation.

“Is there any rivalry between photographers and reporters?” asked another.

“Only for car parking space.” I countered.

“What makes a good reporter?” asked another.

“Intense vanity, an unswerving interest in the misfortune of others and a liking for village fetes.” I said.

“How old are you?”

“24,” I lied. My throat, by this stage, so dry I thought I heard it cry out for a whiskey and soda.

“How much weight have you lost?

“Eighteen and a half pounds, thank you for asking,” am I being chatted up?

High on the thrill of performance-I'd cracked a few gags and they seemed to like my patter-it was over the orange juice and chocolate digestive afterwards that a thought struck me.

I have decided to seriously consider making a career move into the world of television.

Not that fame and fortune attracts me, indeed far from it, it's just that I think my skills would be best served on the small screen.

My show- An Evening of James Marston with James Marston - will propel me, and only me, into the nation's little sitting rooms.

I shall head off for a screen test when I'm a bit slimmer.

APART from rats, dogs, horses, speed cameras, chavs, old people's homes, losing more hair and being filmed skinny dipping for GMTV I am not afraid of anything, well with the exception of heights.

Which is why I am relieved there is nowhere to bungee jump in Ipswich.

I admit that thought might sound odd, dear reader, but from the Evening Star smoking-room-cum-car-park, gone are the days when you could have an ashtray by your typewriter and emphysema by your fortieth birthday, you can see the brutal effects of the redevelopment of the Ipswich Waterfront.

Tall buildings, sheer drops and cranes.

I remain convinced it is only a matter of time before some enterprising individual decides to offer bungee jumps from way up in the skies above Ipswich.

And if they do, I know that it will be me who has to do the story of being winched up hundreds of feet only to throw myself off my feet tied up with rubber.

Let's hope that particular idea of mine, doesn't happen.

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