This week I’d had a day off between podcasts at least and I wasn’t feeling too knackered, but on arriving at the theatre I realised I’d left my question book on the dining room table at home. All my meticulous research gone…. Then I realised I could just get my wife to photograph the relevant pages and email them to me. I’d genuinely been wondering about booking a cab. The modern world is great.
Two fabulous guests tonight in the shape of Rachel Parris and Charlie Brooker.. Rachel shot to worldwide frame just after her last appearance on RHLSTP two years ago (no need to thank me Rachel) and Charlie’s career has also been going pretty well since he was on seven and a half years ago (again, you’re welcome). Both guests talked about the unexpected consequences of fame, some serious and some funny. I had been wondering if Charlie would have changed in the last three quarters of a decade since I’d seen him (though he had seen the back of my head at the live Bing show I went to last summer) and hoped he’d be like Rik in the Young Ones when he became rich with his hair all puffed up and his personality changed. But perhaps thankfully he was exactly the same as always - hilarious, inappropriate and charmingly rude.
I pitched Rachel my new podcast idea of an interview about regrets. I’d been thinking of a couple of romantic regrets from my distant past (missed opportunities due to my own shyness or stupidity rather than disastrous relationships) which just showed up my cowardly loneliness and it struck me that that might be a good way to explore someone’s life. Not only because of the many ways you could interpret what a romantic (or really any kind of) regret would be, but also because it would show up foolishness and poignancy. The thing I’d remembered was very minor, a brief infatuation with a woman who worked in Sainsburys in the 1990s who I think was interested in me too, but who I was just too shy to ask out for a drink. I was hopelessly lonely at the time and yet still too awkward to just take a chance and risk being rebuffed. So my regret is not really about the person involved as we had merely had a brief flirtation and she was moving away anyway so it would never have led to anything, but about not grasping my life by the throat. I did a little bit better in my late 30s in terms of realising that life was for living, but I am angry with my mid-twenties self for being such a dick. Though also glad that my life has taken the course it has, which would certainly have gone differently were it not for that decade of social inertia due to all my self-doubt.
Rachel had a different take on the idea, regretting being wrapped up in a guy who was no good for her throughout university. But it did feel like a fecund area for discussion.
Ah man, it was a great night and a packed and excited crowd. This may be my social life as well as my job, but it’s such a fucking joy. I do not regret doing RHLSTP.
Maybe one day I will.