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Wednesday 15th July 2009

I was on Five Live this afternoon. I had headed up to TV Centre where the show is usually recorded, although no one had told me that in fact the show was coming from Millbank. It didn't matter too much as I was able to link up with the show from a TV Centre studio.
I sat alone listening to Phil Williams, the host talking to fish chef Rick Stein on the headphones and waiting for my turn. I was glad to be alone, because I needed to do a fart and I would have felt embarrassed to do that if Rick Stein and Phil Williams had been there. It would have been a social faux pas. But here in this empty studio I could let out a cheeky, silent guff (I feared the mic might be live) and no one would ever know. Ha ha ha. Herring 1 Universe 0.
Unfortunately just after I had slipped one out the door opened and a woman entered and sat in the chair right beside me. She was there to read the traffic news. If she sensed anything unusual about the atmosphere in the studio she said nothing. I think I had been lucky and it had been a silent and non-violent odourless emission, but it could so easily have been like walking into a swamp with a dead body festering in it. I wondered how often the news, sport and traffic presenters were faced with this situation. Perhaps they are trained to carry on giving out their information regardless of what stenches greet their nostils. It's probably a ten week course they have to go on. I am available to provide stinky farts if such a course exists. I know today I didn't perform to the best of my abilities, but honestly most of the time my emanations are more potent than mustard gas. The travel lady did not acknowledge me and left pretty sharpish, so maybe I had produced a Big Bertha of a fart that explodes some distance away from the gun.
Phil Williams started talking to me without warning, asking if I ever cooked anything. I said I was good with the microwave and Rick Stein groaned. "I do cook a bit of fish in the oven sometimes," I continued, "Wrapped up in tin foil."
"How does that sound?" Phil asked Rick.
"That can work," he expertly replied, "Maybe with a bit of butter..." He carried on giving his expert opinion.
"No, no," I interrupted, "That's not right at all. You need to put in a bit of balsamic vinegar and some tomato pesto. I don't know who you are mate, but you don't know anything about cooking fish."
Luckily Rick Stein seemed to found my impudence amusing and Phil said that he should listen to the fish opinion of a man called Herring. It was a fun start to the interview, although the rest of it was slightly tempered as I tried to discuss the amusing nature of going around with a Hitler moustache, just as the breaking news of the conviction of a bomb wielding Neo-Nazi was coming in.
The news and sports readers came in on the hour and seemed more civil than the traffic lady, but then I hadn't just guffed and hopefully any traces of my previous crime had magically dissipated from this sealed and airless room.
It's interesting to see the newsreaders from the radio as you obviously never know what they look like when you listen at home. Their perfect voices make them sound smooth and sophisticated and almost god-like, but they were just like ordinary people in the flesh. Wearing jeans and trainers and looking like anyone else. Yet when they opened their mouths these mellifluous, but authoritative voices came seeping out like invisible honey.
It wasn't quite a Susan Boyle moment, but you'd never have guessed to look at them.

In other news I paid some cheques into the bank today. You could do it via the cash machine, which magically read the amounts off the cheque (it could read two of the three and asked me to fill in details of the third) and then gave out a receipt with scans of the cheques on it. "What will they think of next?" I said to the young employee who had shown me how it all worked. I am definitely becoming an old man.

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