Published Sunday Independent 6th Nov 2016
I think this week I win the prize for most random phone call of the week. Yes, we all get the PFI and the “have you been in an accident” calls but this one was a little more personal but still completely out of the blue. I was happily walking my doggie along the beach when my mobile rings and it’s a mobile number I don’t recognise. I answer with a cautious “ hello” whereupon my random caller explains the nature of her call. She had been googling TV presenters - already I can feel myself on alert for a nutter phone call- and decided to call me to ask for some advice on how to get into TV! Now over the years I have had lots of people ask me that million dollar question but usually face to face after chatting for a few minutes or via e-mail but never over the phone with no prior warning at all! I was at first a little taken aback but as she explained a bit more about herself and what she had done thus far to start her career I could tell that this was a young lady that had guts, wanted to get on in her chosen career and decided that this was one way of doing just that. I had to admire her determination and effort, it’s not something I think I would’ve done at her age. After a short discussion it was clear she was doing all the right things to get onto the right path and all it was going to take now was time and patience. Of course anyone can get on the TV if they are prepared to be outrageous enough but if you want longevity and an actual career rather than “famous for five minutes” then it is worth taking the proper paths and joining apprenticeship schemes and that old age job of making tea and knocking on enough doors until someone hears you.
Other though are content for the five minutes of fame and this week saw one of those most saddening news events in our area for a while which brought out plenty of those types that are happy for their five minutes. The devastating fire at the Royal Clarence Hotel was shocking and a great loss to the city and people of Exeter. Not only a marvellous piece of history but a place of tranquility that you could escape to in an otherwise bustling city. A landmark obliterated in one night.
Of course there was lots of media attention that attracted plenty of people wanting to have their say. One such person was a man that was one of the first to see the fire and had to escape the burning building. That, of course, must have been terrifying but when interviewed a couple of days later he did himself no favours by criticising and exaggerating the length of time it took for the fire engines to arrive. Those firefighters, many of them now part-time firemen, risked their lives to combat that fire. Thankfully everyone was safely removed from the building but the firefighters had to go back in to check and then put the fire out. They did everything humanly possible and to be criticised by a man, who said he had “lost everything” when referring to his mobile phone and laptop but both he and his wife were safe, must have been galling to everyone else involved. These days, of course, everyone has an opinion on everything and we must share it either via social media or the TV but be careful what you say because this man, although he may have genuinely felt and thought these things, was torn to shreds by the comments of others.
Being famous has its rewards I’m sure, mainly money and the opportunity to do lots of extraordinary things, none of which I know anything about, but as they say be careful what you wish for because everything you say and do will be watched, shared and opinionated on by countless others.
Now my jokes are famous in their own right for simply being terrible, I must not let my public down now…...A husband and wife had been married for 60 years and had no
secrets except for one: The woman kept in her closet a shoe box that
she forbade her husband from ever opening. But when she was on her deathbed—and with her blessing—he opened the box and found a
crocheted doll and £95,000 in cash.
“My mother told me that the secret to a happy marriage was to never
argue,” she explained. “Instead, I should keep quiet and crochet a doll every time I was angry with you.”
Her husband was touched. Only one doll was in the box—that meant she’d been angry with him only once in 60 years. “But what about all this money?” he asked.
“Oh,” she said, “that’s the money
I made from selling the dolls.”