Saturday, April 28, 2007

Chicken curry off the bone from chip alley

EVER had an embarrassing moment when you just want the ground to swallow you up and that everything you say seems to make the whole thing worse? I had just such a moment at Wales on Sunday's groundbreaking double leaving do yesterday.
We were saying goodbye to Becks and Rosey, who are both off to the smoke to find fame and fortune on the gold-paved streets of England's capital. The Prince of Darkness delivered a speech extolling the merits of young Becks, who replied in kind by thanking everyone in the building for their help... by name.
Unaccustomed to public speaking as he is, Becks began to sound a bit like the Vicky Pollard character out of Little Britain as time wore on. "Yeh but, no but, yeh but..."
Still, its quite a nerve-wracking thing, public speaking. As I found out when I delivered the eulogy for Rosey.
To be honest, I couldn't have done a better character assassination if I had been handed the best man role at his wedding. Then again, Rosey bought it all on himself - never could a tale of such misdemeanors be so easy to recall. But I won't go into them here... they have already been catalogued in previous blog entries.
From the office it was straight off to a little establishment called Zync on the corner of Mill Lane where, thankfully, they have a number of outside tables to cater for us bell-ringing, unclean-chanting smokers. There was a huge turnout, too, mainly because Rosey and Becks had managed to plaster so many posters of themselves over the walls of Thomson House that those working inside must have felt the redecoration work had begun early. Even the legendary Barry John turned up.
At some stage, many beers in, I encountered Posh and we had a chat. "Hey, I went to that lovely little hotel in Devon with the four-poster bed, very romantic... you know, the one where you and Becks went."
Then Posh came out with an answer that had me reaching vainly for my spade and wishing I could dig a hole deep into the Cardiff concrete. "But I've never been to a hotel in Devon with him," she said, the confusion spreading across her face.
"Oh dear, maybe I got it wrong, perhaps it wasn't you and Becks, perhaps it was another couple..." The crimson colour spreading across my cheeks told her all she needed to know about my deception. Oh, nuts.
Quickly seeking out Becks I told him of my silly indiscretion. Apparently the trip had happened a long time ago, when he was going out with another young lady. I'm sure he talked his way out of it. I can just imagine the confrontation when they got back to Beckingham Palace...
"So Chris want to tell me about this trip to Devon, do you?"
"Yeh but... No but... yeh but..."

Shutts had the mightiest of frights that night. Not only did he find himself surrounded by a bevvy of girls that he spends most of his time dreaming about (Rhian the Western Mail Ed's temporary secretary, Laura Wilby etc) but he was also confronted by someone even taller than him. The fact the bloke was walking around the streets of Cardiff on stilts is neither here nor there.
Having to actually look up at someone was quite disorientating for the big man, and the fact the Stilts bloke kept coming back to engage him in conversation every five minutes turned him into a quivering wreck. Not a pretty sight, all that flesh jiggling about like Wales has suddenly been struck by an earthquake measuring 6 on the richter scale.

Withers, meanwhile, was keen to show off his athletic prowess yesterday. Mid afternoon, and with the speeches imminent, he decided it would be the perfect time to break into full Zippy from Rainbow mode as he predicted how my speech would go. There I was beavering away at the computer, trying to get everything done before the nights frivolities, when from the far corner of the room I hear "... I remember back in 1953..." It's the Wonderful One in full Rippers impression mode.
I felt it was only right that I point out the error of his ways, disrupting a busy newsroom with only 30-odd hours to go to deadline. Rising from my seat I strode towards him, only for our political writer (who incidentally now wants to be referred to as the writer/broadcaster Matt Withers) to leap from his seat and then jump over the desk next to him, printer and all, in an attempt to avoid confrontation.
My God, I don't think Silver Birch, this year's winner of the Grand National, could have cleared Becher's so cleanly. Withers you're an athlete. And a bozo.

On the way home last night I treated myself to something I haven't had in over a year: A chicken curry off the bone with chips from Dirty Dot's in Caroline Street. Wonderful.

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