Tuesday, July 26, 2005

You ARE The Weakest Link. Goodbye.

It’s the end of Day 2 of my new job and I don’t mind saying I’m absolutely shattered – I don’t mind saying it but I DO mind feeling it. Bad enough getting up at 7am on a Monday but then they expected me to go through the exact same rigmarole today. And tomorrow. And the next day. And so on.

So now it’s 8pm and I’m ready for my bed. Too tired to type something original so here’s a cut and paste job from today's Daily Record column. Night, night.

Many of the great fiascos, blunders and misadventures throughout history have been explained away with the same lamentable excuse.

Why did I want to make a fifth ‘Rocky’ film?” Sylvester Stallone might ponder. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.”

I have to admit that my own murky past is not without incidents where an initial flash of genius turned out to be less than inspirational. Like the time I decided to go to a Halloween party dressed in a toga. With no pockets to secure any bus money, I had to stagger down Edinburgh’s Lothian Road at 3am on a Sunday morning just as the nightclubs were ejecting their drunken clientele on to the streets. Unsurprisingly, I ran a gauntlet of abuse and ridicule for my attire, probably because I’d neglected to accessorise the ensemble properly with leather sandals and a headband of olive leaves.

But my litany of seemingly-good-ideas was complete recently when I found myself in an Edinburgh hotel room at 9.30 on a Wednesday morning singing to a bunch of people I’d never met before.

For a rational explanation of this scenario (although I’m not sure there is one) we have to rewind nine months to a time when I was “between jobs” and a sucker for daytime television. My sister and I were engrossed in an enthralling episode of “The Weakest Link” and at the end of the show the announcer said the BBC were looking for contestants for future programmes. My recollection of the exact conversation that followed may be jaded somewhat by the second bottle of red wine we were consuming at the time but I think I said something like

Hey tharra peesh a pish tha’ show. I could do tha’. And Anne whashername? She’s a total babe.” (Maybe it was the three bottles of wine.)

Sure enough, a telephone call from a chatty BBC researcher a few weeks ago confirmed I had, in fact, submitted an application and was now being invited along to a local audition with nine other hopefuls.

All the prospective contestants had to gather in the lobby of an Edinburgh hotel to await the start of proceedings. Conversation was polite but brief as everyone eyed up the competition like characters in an Agatha Christie novel, each wondering who harboured a dark secret or previous experience on “Countdown” or Blankety Blank”.

The audition began smoothly enough when our gorgeous researcher Natasha told us we had one minute to stand up and introduce ourselves. Hi, I’m Neil. I’m 41 and single. I like golf and.. eh.. music and did I mention I’m single?” Natasha stifled a yawn and continued shuffling her papers.

A three minute written general knowledge test followed and then it was time to play a round of the quiz itself. Natasha, now effortlessly adopting the persona of Anne Robinson, fired off the questions in rapid succession. As my turn approached I was primed and ready.

Neil. Who did Margaret Thatcher replace as… The rest of the question was a blur as my heartbeat went into overdrive and I squeaked out my answer in a voice I was sure only dogs could hear.


“No I’m sorry. It was James Callaghan.”

Shocked and deflated I spent the rest of the round willing the other contestants to screw up badly. Thankfully, we all ganged up and voted off a lovely woman called Barbara and then had to suffer “Anne’s” backlash.

“So Neil. It says in your application that you used to sing in a band. Would you like to give us all a wee song this morning?”

I can’t print my precise response (it rhymed with chuckin’ bell) but before I knew it I was staring at my shoes and warbling some old Billy Joel song in a key way beyond my limited range. When it was over, I shuffled out of the room cursing my sister and her infernal red wine collection and vowed never to have a good idea ever again.

And with news that “Rocky VI” and “Rambo IV” are currently in pre-production, I wish that Sly Stallone would feel exactly the same way.


At 27/7/05 5:35 am, Blogger carl said...

Isn't it amazing what a little red wine will do and how much trouble it can get a person into? Hee, hee, hee.

At 27/7/05 11:40 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So did you get the gig, or what? Or is that in next week's column? I'm on the edge of my seat here. Spill the beans, bro.


At 6/8/05 1:58 pm, Blogger DC said...


At least you didn't have to try and tell any jokes !



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