Trying hard to save face

I LAUGHED on the outside but deep down it was like a stab through the heart. “Well I think James looks like Mr Blobby,” announced a fellow reporter to the assembled bunch of hacks and wannabe Paxmans on the Evening Star Newsdesk, as we discussed the phenomena of look-alikes.

I LAUGHED on the outside but deep down it was like a stab through the heart.

“Well I think James looks like Mr Blobby,” announced a fellow reporter to the assembled bunch of hacks and wannabe Paxmans on the Evening Star Newsdesk, as we discussed the phenomena of look-alikes.

I smiled and the subject changed but I admit today, dear readers, I was stung to the very core of my being by this exocet missile of an insult.

It was indeed repeated several times and each time my laughter grew thinner until I could barely raise a smile.


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I know I'm a little on the large side-well built in fact-but there's no need to tell me I remind others of a strange pink man with the brain of a pea.

Does my fellow hack not know who I might have been? I was nearly someone!

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But since I have started to get recognised on the streets of Ipswich-partly I'm sure, to do with my increasingly regular appearances on the stage with the Ipswich almost Operatic and desperately Dramatic Society-I have seen people turn to each other and whisper things like:

“There's that fat lad from the star.”

“He looks older in the flesh”

“Is that that self-indulgent nutter from the paper?”

And-and this actually happened during the lederhosen-wearing period of my life,

“Would you go in the paper if you looked like that?”

Obviously these people are impervious to my prodigious talent. My more regular readers will know my genius is unlimited, unlike the ability to whisper of some people.

Of course I rose above these slights until Friday afternoon Mr Blobby incident when I finally snapped.

When the laughter died down, I made a discreet phone call to my 21-year-old-blonde-beauty-therapy-friend Sophie.

“Honey, push has come to shove. I need help,” I emotionally stuttered.

“Ok, come and see me,” she suggested.

Within moments I was at the ANG salon in Woodbridge Road with an emergency confidence-restoring-non-surgical-facelift booked into the diary. Well it's never too early for a nip and a tuck is it?

For those wondering, I declined the surgical option in case the one underneath was uglier than the one I've got.

“Well James what do you think is your best feature?” Sophie enquired.

“Well Sophie,” I replied as I peered into the mirror, “I can play the piano and I once watched a play in French.”

Worried Sophie was going to attach bull-dog clip to the back of my neck I asked her what the procedure involved.

“I'm just going to cleanse tone and moisturize, bring some circulation back to your face and drain your lymph,” she said. Oooh nice.

“So no neck stretching Sellotape then? And can you do something about my double chin?”

“Well…” she paused. “I can try to help I suppose.”

Not a promise that by the end of an hour I would emerge looking more like Jude Law than Mr Blobby, but a step in the right direction.

I laid back on the table and got cosy under the cover. As she was drained my lymph, a process I don't entirely understand, Sophie, who incidentally told me I had a good nose and nice shaped eyebrows, gently reminded me to give up smoking and drink more water.

After an hour of relaxing under her capable guidance her work was done.

“So how do I look?” I enquired.

“Well a bit pinker,” she said, “which is good.”

“As long as it's not as pink as Mr Blobby,” I thought.

Who do you think I look like? Write to me.

It's not too early for a nip and a tuck is it?

“Just a little bit of maintenance,” I told myself.

FUNNY how a lonely day can make a person say “what good is my life?”

Now, my loyal fanbase, it's not often I find myself moody and emotional but there's something the rings true about the words of that great performer Shirley Bassey.

Well, as one never to hide my light under a bushel, I may have mentioned before-and those lucky enough to be regular readers will know-I am not untalented.

Indeed, I can play the piano and, in fact, the church organ, fairly well-at least I tell myself I can.

And just a few days ago, as I found myself enjoying the “heeltaps” - a fantastic word rarely used in newspaper journalism - of a quite decent Bordeaux, I began, though it may surprise my dear readers to know, to feel a little depressed.

I just couldn't go on.

Media intrusion into my private life - I wish I had one-paparazzi constantly at the window of my little Ipswich sitting room - or the lack of it-I had had enough.

And being a wannabe-nearly celebrity was taking its toll. So I sat down and played.

Within no time I was adding up the score and counting the things I'm grateful for in my life-and do you know, my fellow musicians, music is often the best therapy.

A few bars of Shirley followed by a cadenza or two from Elton and I am now, I am happy to say, back to my old self. This is my life, this is me….

TALKING of music, I won the office Eurovision song contest sweepstake on Saturday.

Though far removed from my normal listening of Classic FM, Elkie Brooks and the odd show tune, the Finnish entry-I can't remember their name, came up trumps for me.

Billed as “horror rock” their entry won me a nice little earner of £36. I ain't complaining and I didn't even have to go to Helsinki to collect it-yesterday morning it was waiting for me in a brown envelope on my desk in the Evening Star newsroom.

Now, can anyone help me on a linguistic point? Is it true the Finnish language - notoriously tricky to learn - has a whopping 17 noun declensions?

I can only think of two in English - blonde and blond, but I may be wrong - does anyone know? I need enlightening or I shan't be able to sleep at night. Send me your thoughts.

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