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Monday 12th March 2018

5585/18605

I don’t think that I can even begin to describe what it was like to be hit by the force of nature that is Brian Blessed tonight, but suffice to say that I have never experienced anything remotely like this and neither had the 400 people lucky enough to get a ticket to witness this maelstrom. The show began with the biggest round of applause and ended with a standing ovation and despite me managing to say one thing that got the longest and loudest laugh that I can recall hearing during the entire run of the podcast, I predictably barely got a word in and the ones I did utter were largely ignored.
What an extraordinary man he is. You will have to wait a month or so for the podcast but if you are disappointed by this then nothing can please you.
Delightfully the monologue was continuous from the moment Brian arrived to the second he left. You will be able to catch a bit of it on the secret channel if you’re a badger of a dripster, but most of it was just for me. And for next week’s guest Pippa Evans. We found out about dead bodies up Everest, how filthy mountaineers are, the effect on short term memory of high altitude and how Brian’s brain has somehow become young as a result of his hardy constitution and his brain has an autocue inside it. THIS WASN’T EVEN ON THE PODCAST, so imagine what was.
It was a tough act to follow, but Pippa has the grace and the brains to do so brilliantly. We were all a little shell-shocked and had to work our way through what we’d just seen, but my God I was glad to have been there.
Brian had clearly loved it too. He thanked me for being such an amazing interviewer, which seemed like it could have been a joke, given how little I’d done, but he saw how I had given him the space (as if I’d had a choice) and allowed him to make me his stooge. I was still flattered to be spoken of in such high terms. Sometimes the job is about not interrupting. He signed my book, but had forgotten my name and tried to pull off the “Remind me how you spell your name again” and then having to given an unconvincing, “Oh just the regular way then,” when I told him. But I didn’t mind. I was mainly glad he was still alive. He had put in so much effort and the crowd had geed him on to do more when I knew he really wanted to come off and was looking a bit exhausted.
Man alive, so glad to have captured this genie in a bottle.
I was staying over in London tonight as I have a couple of bits of filming and would have had to leave the house at 8.20am to get there and it didn’t seem worth the struggle to go to Hertfordshire when I’d more or less have to turn round and come back into town.
I’d booked a reasonable looking hotel very close to the first studio I was recording in. As I arrived at reception a middle-aged man was asking about parking. Could he park on the red lines outside the barrier? No, he’d get towed. He said he wasn’t a guest at the hotel but was meeting a friend here and was only staying for a couple of hours. The receptionist said that hotel policy was to not allow non-guests to park there after midnight, but he was clearly going to be helpful. “Do you know what room your friend is in?” No.
“What is their last name?” 
I don’t know.
That seemed like an odd response, which I was trying to process. it looked like this man was trying to sneak into the car park of this hotel on the A40 under false pretences, but I couldn’t see why. The receptionist didn’t pick him up on this. Surely he’d be told to sling his hook.
But then the lift door opened and the man’s friend was there and said “Oh hello.” She was a very glamorous woman about half his age and suddenly I understood what was happening. 
I don’t care about people using escorts. It was just funny that it was so brazen and blatant and that the man outed himself because he was reluctant to pay for parking, when he didn’t seem so reluctant to pay for other things.The parking cost him £10. That’s as much as I know.
And I suppose the receptionist wasn’t surprised about a man not knowing the surname of his friend, because maybe this had happened before.
I use hotels for something even more shameful. To sleep peacefully whilst my wife has to look after both kids. Annoying I still woke at 6am.

The interview I did with James O Brien for Joe is now up here.


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