The greatest miscarriage of justice of the 21st Century so far has at last been overturned. Back in March my nephew had been staying in my house while he did some work experience. As you may recall I accused him of many things, including smashing my favourite mug and then throwing it away to hide his guilt
. He had broken enough stuff already and inexpertly tried to cover up the crime by chucking out the broken glass and denying he had loaded the dishwasher up wrong and broken the mug. His incompetence and mendacity seemed to make him a prime suspect in the disappearance of the "R" mug, not least because no one else was living in the house. I don't think a court in the land would have failed to have him sent to the electric chair for the deed, had mug breakage been a capital crime and if we had every used such a manner of execution in this country. All the evidence pointed to him. I was sure he had done it and like Zola I "J'accuse"d him in a public missive and vowed to take the cost of the broken and missing drinking vessels from his next ten Christmas presents (I give him one pound a year, which I believe is enough to buy him a Sony Walkman and several cassettes to play on it - actually thinking about it, it probably is).
I had searched the house from top to toe (my house has feet) for the mug or for some fragmentary evidence of its murder and disposal, but nothing was discovered and forensics could find no evidence of foul play. I suppose this should have been my first clue that the wrong culprit had been collared. My dumb ass nephew (his ass came bottom in the Cheddar donkey MENSA testing of 2007) is too stupid to have carried out such a perfectly executed crime. His lame argument that he hadn't loaded the dishwasher and his inexpert attempt to hide the broken glass by putting it in the kitchen bin showed how little understanding he had of the repercussions of his action and how little imagination he had in concealing his misdemeanours. But who else could have done it? My girlfriend? No, she is trustworthy and honest and would never let someone else take the rap for something she had done. My cleaner? I mean possibly, but I think she'd have at least apologised for the breakage if she'd been responsible. Could it have been some international cat burglar, who knowing (as I have subsequently discovered) that the cream coloured, blue lettered Heals mugs are now rarer than hen teeth and impossible to get hold of, had broken into my home to steal just that mug and nothing else? I suppose it was possible.
But today I had a sudden brainwave. My mug and glass cupboard is a little bit small for all my mugs and glasses and sometimes, much to my annoyance, my cleaner will put some of my mugs (generally the ones whose handles have broken off) in the plate cupboard below. In fact it was noticing the handleless mug that my nephew had broken next to my bowls that made me consider the line of inquiry that would lead to the R mug's discovery.
Surely she hadn't put one of my good mugs down there? If she had I'd have spotted it in the last month, wouldn't I?
I crouched down and looked at the top shelf, where the mugs usually end up. Of course it wasn't there. My cleaner wasn't stupid enough to do that.
But wait, could she, in some moment of madness, have put my favourite mug on the shelf below? Surely not. But when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth. I might as well have a look.
And sure enough, right at the back of the bottom shelf of my plate and bowl (and occasional broken mug) cupboard was my R mug. Sad, alone, distressed by its month of incarceration, delighted to see me again and be back in my hands, but suspicious and upset that I had abandoned it for so long.
I was happier than I have ever been in my life. It is objects, not people, that make my life complete. And this mug is more important to me than any mere human fashioned as they are from transient flesh and blood and bone. This mug will live on forever, long after we're all dead, provided my nephew doesn't load it up wrong in the dishwasher again.
The perpetrator had not been my nephew, wanking in the attic and knocking his tea to the ground with his wildly gesticulating wrist, but the cleaner in the kitchen. As in all crimes it was the (closest I had to) the butler that did it.
Although of course the possibility remained that my nephew had actually put the mug in there. Surely my cleaner didn't have that dumb an ass. But then again what the likelihood of my masturbatory nephew ever having the time to be tidying up in the kitchen. Not when there were still windows he hadn't wanked through.
I apologised for this judicial miscarriage on Podcast 59
, in which we had also, inexplicably been asked by Robert Perkins
(who seems to have now removed everything from his website, no doubt in response to our cruel and inaccurate jibes) to propose "on air" to his girlfriend Jo Hill.
Why anyone would pick our bumming obsessed podcast (in the very week that the Lenten bumming embargo was lifted) to make a romantic gesture is beyond me. And whilst the real life Richard Herring is a sensitive fellow who loves love and marriage and horses, not so much carriages though, the podcast Richard Herring is a law unto himself (I have no control or responsibility for anything he might say - for that 1 hour, 6 minutes and 36 seconds he is controlled by Beelzebub) and could not possibly resist the opportunity to reject such a charming gesture of love. "This isn't the Shane Ritchie.. Surprise... Show" said the podcast Richard Herring indignantly. I think that's one of the funniest things he's ever said, and that's not being arrogant, because I am not him.
Anyway the desecration of this most sacred affirmation of a beautiful relationship took up a good ten to fifteen minute of the podcast and included incitement to bumming (podcast Richard Herring arguing that she couldn't stop him now if she had accepted his proposal) and all manner of other offence. If Robert and Jo were regular podcast listeners then they would love this barrage of insults and see them as affectionate and wondrous, but what if they weren't, or worse, what if he was but she wasn't? What if I destroyed their relationship there and then? The devilish Richard Herring also told Jo that he was prepared to marry her, sight unseen, if she wanted to give it a go. Which was quite brave of him as he hadn't seen a photo and didn't know anything about her. Who knew what he was getting into?
And what if Jo hadn't wanted to marry Rob and had turned him down the very second I had asked on his behalf and they were now sitting in frosty silence, with him crying, listening to my insane ranting against love and marriage (Sarah Kendall had reminded me the other day when I saw her that when she had questioned my attitude towards love and relationships I had replied "Sex is an act of aggression, between two people who hate each other," which is either very funny or says something very awful about me or both - but I slung it into the mix).You'll have to listen to hear the whole awful wonder of the thing. It seemed very funny at the time, but then it had seemed very funny to Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross at the time when they'd been leaving those phone messages for Andrew Sachs.
Indeed later that night I started to wonder if I had gone a bit too far. We had been having fun with the idea, but whilst the proposal itself was done in a reasonably repsectful manner, what followed was potentially offensive. Though it was funny to take the piss out of someone wanting to use our podcast as a matrimonial aid, perhaps I had lost sight of the fact that they were still actual people, it was a real relationship. Maybe I had genuinely wrecked everything.
By bedtime neither me or Andrew had heard back from Rob. Perhaps he was crying too hard to be able to type coherently. Alternatively it could have gone really well and maybe the couple had been geed on by my sexual suggestions and had been in the throes of passion all night long.
But I went to bed slightly concerned that my lighthearted tomfoolery might have caused offence, or worse.
Not all public declarations of love work out, as this possibly spoof video seems to prove
- I am suspicious of the authenticity though. Although I am fairly sure the commentators and crowd believe it, I suspect that the couple have actually set the whole thing up as a joke. Her reaction doesn't quite seem real and surely she would have known what was going on before she got on court. Wouldn't she just have pretended to go along with it? Would she really have walked away like that, especially after seeming so pleased initially? Who knows. It's still funny though.
But if it's real I would imagine the man has subsequently killed himself or moved to Alaska. Which was just one extra concern as I tried to get to to sleep tonight.
The podcast is incidentally back in the top 25 of the iTunes chart. Keep spreading the word to see if we can get any higher. Practically everything above us is either existing radio shows, hosted by far more famous people than us, so it would be great if as one of the few genuine exclusive podcasts we could challenge these big boys. Or at least maintain this high position. Keep spreading the word to your friends with strong constitutions and if you haven't subscribed yourself yet then get down to iTunes and do it. We're in a bit of a purple patch at the moment (comparatively). Who knows what we'll do or say next? Not me. All that is sure is that soon enough we'll go too far (if we haven't already) and be forced to stop, so make the most of it while it's here and we're not in prison.