Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Nocturnal Richie.

Going to a show on Lionel Richie’s All Night Long Tour sounds like one hell of a commitment.

I’m very fond of the ex-frontman of The Commodores (who played no part in the design or manufacture of the 80s computer). He’s a great singer / songwriter and seems a good sport. While there’s no doubt to his capabilities as a showman, I still wouldn’t want to sit through an eight-hour set. That would test even his biggest fan’s patience.

I could have misunderstood the title. Perhaps he's squeezed his entire tour schedule into just one night. He’d be exhausted by the travelling alone. Think of the carbon footprint.

I watched ‘An Audience with Lionel Richie’ on ITV a few years back. The celebrities in the crowd were so low-grade, I almost expected to see myself sat amongst them. Lionel Richie doesn’t know who Eamonn Holmes is (lucky him); nor does he have a working knowledge of the cast of Coronation Street. Still, it was worth watching, if only for the brief cutaway to Moira Stuart getting into it.

Monday, 29 September 2014

As Thick as a Thief.

I have a confession to make. I committed a crime fifteen years ago, which has played on my mind ever since. Owning up to it today maybe be my only chance of freeing myself from the guilt. So here goes: 

I stole a sun visor belonging to the lead singer of the rock band ‘A’ at a gig in The Square in Harlow in 1999.

It was a stupid thing to do. I knew that even then. My only excuse was I was egged on by my band mates. What can I say? I used to hang around with shifty people. It’s par for the course with growing up in Stevenage.

‘A’ are a Suffolk-based punk band (which isn’t an oxymoron). Their songs often have a humorous edge, which appealed greatly to my old band Big Day Out, as ours did too. We also liked their headgear; something that became painfully apparent, one fateful night in Essex.

Back then, we wore flamboyant – or stupid – outfits. We picked up most of our clothing from the women’s section of charity shops. For some inexplicable reason we thought floral blouses were a good look. It must have been something to do with teenage hormones. 

BDO in 1999. Hardened, poorly-dressed criminals.
We’d also often wear hats. Which is why, when A’s singer Jason Perry took his visor off briefly during their set, we sneaked it away like cuntish magpies.

When he noticed it was missing, things got frighteningly tense. Perry was understandably furious. He kept shouting at the audience, threatening to stop playing if he didn’t get it back. He was so aggressive, we didn’t know what to do. It soon went past the point of owning up.

I feel awful about it even now. It was a stupid, nasty thing to do. I’d apologise in person, if I didn’t think he’d rip my head off. If you read this, Jason, I’m sorry. I was an idiot. I also owe you a job lot of hats. P.S. Your song Old Folks was brutal but excellent.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Follow You, Follow Me.

While having 518 Twitter followers is reasonably modest, imagine us all walking down the street.

It would be a pedestrian nightmare that would rouse police interest. I’d look like a latter-day Pied Piper, with fewer pedophilic leanings. I say "fewer", when I of course mean "no". Or "none". The English language is confusing.  

I probably wouldn't be able to be assimilated by a mountain, though I'm happy to give it a whirl. I'd run at it and hope for the best. 

Picture all 519 of us - I’ve included myself - at a pelican crossing. We’d never get across in the allotted time. Also, who would press the button? I wouldn't do it; I don’t want to be responsible for everyone else. Unless we took out public liability insurance, but I’m not going to fund it.

What it we went for a meal in a Harvester? They’d never seat us. It would take an eon for the staff to ask us all if we'd ever been before, and then we’d decimate the salad cart. It’s not the right venue for such a big group.

Corralling a 500-strong swarm would be a full-time job. I'd also feel like Jesus. Let’s keep things online for now. Ask me again in a few weeks and I may feel different.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Circled by Celebs.

I have an alarming habit of passing famous people on the street. 

It happens often enough for me to worry I’m an unwitting stalker. If I found a copy of The Catcher in the Rye in my house, I’d check in to my local police station, offering myself up for voluntary arrest. Either that, or get a job writing the Mirror’s 3am column. They’re not fussy. They'd accept stories in potato print.

It started when I saw Frank Carson in the mid-90s, drinking a can of lager on a Stevenage park bench. That opened up the floodgates. Now the list is endless.

I’ve seen Suggs so many times I've lost count; the most notable being at The Enterprise Pub in Camden, when Madness were rehearsing in the same room after us. They didn’t do their trademark walk as they passed us on the stairs, which made me feel cheated.

I spotted David Tennant on the Tube, making me terrified of an imminent Cyberman attack. I didn’t fancy being assimilated. I’ve had Boris Johnson cycle past me (stupid hair flapping in the breeze), shared a pavement with Paul Weller (his coolness masking equally stupid hair) and seen Timmy Mallett in a Welcome Break. Paul McCartney called me “man” on two separate occasions; a relief, as I’ve never actually checked.

My local garage is a c-list celebrity hotbed. I’ve seen Frankie Dettori there (flicking through the Racing Post), Pixie Lott and ‘The Bloke From Feeder’. I don’t know his name and chose never to learn it.

The best sighting took place in the Vintage Magazine Shop in Soho. I was in the basement, looking at old copies of Mojo, when I spotted a guy flicking though a pile of movie posters. At first, I thought he was someone I knew. Our eyes met briefly, I nodded and smiled and he did the same back. It was only on walking up the stairs that I realised he was Quentin Tarantino. It was the perfect place to see him. Thank God he didn’t shoot me in the head.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Face in the Crowd.

Eagle-eyed viewers of this Wednesday & Thursday’s editions of Pointless may have spotted the back of my head in the studio audience. If you did, I’d question both your attention span and sanity.

Where's Wally?

This could be the highlight of my career. If nothing else, it proves I know my place. I don’t belong on the stage. I’m more suited to sitting quietly a few yards in front of it, staying out of trouble. It’s a shame it took so long to reach this realisation; if I’d known it fifteen years ago, I could have saved my dad a fortune in drama school fees.

I should have noticed the signs. While I appeared in a number of TV advertising campaigns in the past (one in just a pair of y-fronts), that was nearly ten years ago. These days, I’m much more likely to be found amongst the proles in the crowd than entrusted with the responsibility of addressing them.

It’s like when I went to see Paul McCartney at Maida Vale Studios.

While I'm in excellent company (that's Vanessa Feltz a few heads to my left and Rob Brydon at the opposite side of the frame), I’m still at a safe distance from the entertainment. Were the powers-that-be suggesting I have less pull than an ex-Beatle? Shockingly, this seems to be the case.

Both examples pale in comparison to the biggie: the time I was within spitting distance of the Queen.

That’s definitely one to show the grandkids.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Never More Than Six Foot from an Elvis.

Watching last night’s episode of Eggheads reminded me that often the only prerequisite to being an Elvis impersonator is looking nothing like Elvis.

It was an unlikely source for such a prompt. I never expected a game show that revolves around a stark, unforgivingly competitive format to raise this point. It usually only leaves me pondering whether Barry is a latter-day Ronnie Barker character or Chris is Danny Baker’s dad. While I was surprised that Eggheads brought up the thorny faux-Presley issue, I was pleased that they did it so succinctly. It only took one shot of that four-man line-up to remind me of everything Elvis wasn’t. The guy second from right looks more like Shakin’ Stevens. The one in the middle appears to be doing a poo.

If there’s a subject I'm entitled to an opinion on, it’s this. I’ve spent a large percentage of my life on stage with fake Elvii. Playing him is a thankless task. He’s such an iconic one-of-a-kind it’s almost impossible to get a handle on him. You have to be youthful (which most impersonators aren’t), good-looking, have exceptional stage presence, move with great fluidity and be able to capture that hugely distinctive voice. Few people have the whole package. That’s why he was The King.

For me, playing Buddy Holly was comparatively a walk in the park. All I had to do was learn the lyrics and guitar parts, play them at the right tempo, stick on a pair of horn-rims and I was done. There’s so little footage of Buddy in existence that you’re free to make your own decisions. People are more likely to have seen someone pretending to be Buddy Holly than having ever seen the real thing, hence all that irritating, over-accentuated hiccupping impersonators often do.

The best Elvis impersonation I ever saw was A.J. Dean in Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven. He's a friend though, so I may be biased. A.J. has rock & roll in his DNA (abbreviation-tastic), looks the part both off-stage and on – and above all, doesn’t take it too seriously. People forget Elvis was funny. A.J. gets that. He also isn’t middle-aged, which is a bonus.

Apparently, Damien Edwards’ Vegas Elvis in Elvis: The Musical was amazing. I never got to see it, but if his Roy Orbison is anything to go by, it would have been spot-on. Similarly, Kludo White does a mean Eddie Cochran

(I’m just bigging up my friends now, really.)

If I ever go on Mastermind, I'll make Elvis Impersonators my specialist subject. With my back-history, I’d probably clean up.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Big Money.

I just paid a cheque into my account that was so big, it was almost at novelty-charity-cheque proportions.

It was about ten inches long and five inches wide (I’m still talking about the cheque). It was the sort of thing you'd pass to Terry Wogan from the midst of a studio audience. Just holding it in the queue made me feel self-conscious. It was large enough for me to put off taking it into the bank for a week, because I didn’t want the cashier to pass comment. I’d hoped to deposit it in a machine, thus avoiding any human interaction, but a quick recce revealed an insufficient slot. I had no choice but to submit my outsized money face-to-face.

The scale of it was the tip of the iceberg. To compound my embarrassment, it was a cheque for £1. Here’s the receipt, to prove it: 

I’m probably the only person on the planet to receive a cheque of equal monetary value to the cost of the paper it’s printed on – and then cash it. I love my life.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Speaking For Myself

At this afternoon's casting, I have to speak with something approaching a Swedish accent. I haven't decided which country to approach it from yet. 

Accents have never been my strong point. We didn't cover it at drama school, which is frustrating, as it's an essential part of being an actor. I've managed to scrape by for the past twelve years with my limited arsenal of RP, cockney, scouse and American, but it's starting to wear thin. Those four examples don't even stand up to scrutiny; stick me in a room with the real thing and I'd stick out like a sore, casually racist thumb.

The best I can hope for today is non-specific central European. I hope there aren't any genuine Swedes in the room, as if there are, I won't be able to look them in the face. I'm referring to a Swedish person, of course, and not the root vegetable; I reckon I could do a convincing impression of one of those.

Monday, 22 September 2014

The Only Ephgrave Visible From Space.

The Google Street View car drove past me today while I was in Stevenage. Trust me to be immortalized in a shit location.

It doesn’t matter what else I achieve in my lifetime, I will only be remembered for this. Anyone planning a route through town will scroll past a flummoxed-looking me. My moment of realisation will be set in stone, enshrined for future generations. Knowing my luck, they won’t sensor my face.

This Google Map image will stand as a misleading tribute. While I grew up in Stevenage, I'm seldom there these days. I visit once and suddenly I’m a landmark.

This will be my Pompeii. It could be worse: I’d rather be photographed at a bus stop than encased in the ash from Vesuvius. Given the choice, that is.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Long Wait for Breakfast.

Today, I went to Café Rouge for breakfast. If my order had taken longer to come out, I risked resembling Norman Bates’ mother*.

It wasn’t as if I’d asked for anything ambitious. I only wanted porridge and a croissant. For some reason, this took fifty minutes. Perhaps they caught the Eurostar to Paris to pick up the pastry and then harvested the oats from scratch.

I wouldn’t have minded if they’d apologised, or kept me in the loop. When I told the waitress how long I’d been waiting, she didn’t flinch. I then asked her for another coffee, which never came. She was the only one capable of easing our transition from wish list to transaction and she didn’t want to do it.

I obviously don’t have enough middle class aspirations to inspire quick Café Rouge service. If I had a son called Barnaby who drank bébéccinos, it would be a completely different story.

*In looks, not attitude.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Who's the Daddy?

Do daddy longlegs adopt a one-per-room policy?

I leave my bathroom window open most evenings, which is an enthralling fact in and of itself. This time of year, every day without fail, I’ll return to find a daddy longlegs flailing about by the opening, unable to work out how to get through it. 

Crane flies* are useless. They’re a species going through an awkward evolutionary stage that can't end well. By rights, they should be extinct, or at least the recipient of an honorary Darwin Award for Shit Insects.

They’re like gangly teenagers uncomfortable in their own skin and desperate to take up less physical space. They’re like me in a nightclub, though I’m bigger, less aerodynamic and have fewer legs. I’ll also buy a round.

Why is there only ever one? Perhaps they’re like spiders: solitary and desperate for supremacy. Or maybe it’s always the same insect. That’s the problem with daddy longlegs: they’re too small to fit an electronic tag to. It's the same with Mark Owen.

* Another equally inaccurate name. They’re no better at flying than hoisting heavy objects. 

Friday, 19 September 2014

The SNP(roclaimers).

Imagine the awkwardness if one of The Proclaimers voted for Scottish independence and the other one didn’t.

It could be the sort of thing to split the twins in twain. Just because they’re identical doesn’t mean they'll have the same opinion on the strengthening of the Scottish Parliament. That would come from nurture, not nature. Political leanings aren’t formed in the womb.

It would make an interesting social experiment. You could expose Charlie (ginger, glasses) solely to the rousing speeches of the soon-to-be-ex-First-Minister-of-Scotland Alex Salmond, and Craig (ginger, glasses) to David Cameron’s five-head-tinged smug-fests, then observe the results. One thing’s for certain: the tension thrown up would play havoc with their trademark call and response singing.

It might be worth applying the same test on The Krankies. If you can face the whole wife-playing-their-husband's-son thing without being weirded out, that is.

If only they’d swapped ‘YES’ for ‘AYE’ on the voting slips, the referendum results would have been completely different.

A Bit of a Stew.

I'll keep it brief, as it's bloody late. Or early, depending on how you look at it. 

Tonight, our Stewart Lee installment of Mostly Comedy finally came around. It's a gig that was months in the making. We announced it back in February, selling out in less than a week. Then, Stew's availability changed, meaning we had to reschedule wholesale to September. Ever since, barely a day has gone by without a request for tickets. It's easily the most demand we've had since the club began. 

Running a comedy club can be fickle. Last night's London gig was cancelled, despite an excellent line-up headed by Red Dwarf's Norman Lovett. Tonight, we were packed to the rafters. While we cancelled last night, it wasn't an entirely wasted effort. Stewart Lee happened to be doing a set in the main house of the venue, so we bumped into him, managed to getting the awkward meeting-him-for-the-first time bit out of the way. We also overheard Norman chatting to him and praising our gig, so that helped soften the affair. 

Tonight, we had the dubious honour of following Stewart, as he had to get back home. All in all, it went well. I'll fill in more detail tomorrow, when it's not so late. 

The highlight for me was hearing him refer to our club by name during the set, and privately thinking to myself "I thought of that". Sometimes, you just can't predict how life will turn out. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


It’s been ages since I’ve scraped a picture of a meerkat.

There was a time in my life when I did them constantly. It was less of a case of when I was scratching out a meerkat picture than when I wasn't. You couldn't move in my flat for representations of inquisitive upstanding mammals. It was beyond a joke.

Then suddenly, I lost interest. I don’t know what brought about this change of heart. It was probably when they started broadcasting those irritating Simon Greenall-voiced Compare the Market adverts. I can’t see how a free cuddly toy would be the deciding factor in choosing the right car insurance.

Perhaps someone will eventually make a fly-on-the-wall documentary about me and my scoured meerkats. I won’t be satisfied unless Bill Nighy provides the voiceover.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Peace of Mind.

Tonight saw the second week of my second term of meditation classes. That’s two twos, which equals four, but you don’t need me to tell you that. Presumably.

I’m finding the lessons very useful, though I sometimes struggle to get into the right frame of mind. Today’s session was a case in point. Most of the techniques we’re using centre on breathing with awareness: quietly noting your breath as it comes in and out, without forcing it artificially. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s like suddenly becoming aware of your breathing in the dead of the night; no sooner does it enter your mind, than you start to overthink it. This can lead to panic: “What if I forget to do it and asphyxiate?”

(I may be the only person who worries about this. I am, after all, a bit of a dick.)

It also doesn’t help that I do a lot of breathing exercises as part of my job. I’m so used to breathing from my diaphragm that I do it instinctively. Curse my Drama School training. Curse it to Hell and back.

Another small problem I have with the classes is they don’t finish at a strict time. They’re supposed to end at a quarter past eight, but sometimes continue for an extra half an hour or longer. It’s very hard to find inner peace when you know your wife’s waiting outside in her car, constantly checking her watch, wondering if you’ll ever come out.

That’s something no-one tells you when you start a meditation course: being able to drive is a bonus.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Sensory Overload.

My old band Big Day Out used to rehearse in a day centre every Sunday (like most aspiring rock bands, I guess). Whenever we arrived, there was only one thing on our mind, and it wasn’t music. Each week, we’d pray that they'd left their sensory room open by mistake.

We only discovered the room by accident. The building was essentially a large square made up of four long corridors meeting at each end, with a courtyard in the middle. These passages had a more than passing resemblance to The Overlook Hotel. We’d wander up and down them in breaks between practising, trying all the doors along the way.

On one memorable occasion, a door that was usually locked swung open to reveal a pitch-black room. After a few moments furtively scrabbling for a light switch, I found a whole bank of them on the wall. I flicked them down to be hit by a sea of colour: all manner of mirror balls, disco lights, bubble machines, psychedelic oil projections, fibre-optic and lava lamps came on at once. It was as if someone had crammed the Summer of Love into an 8x8 foot room. It was like Aladdin’s cave, only better. It was the most exciting moment of my life up to that point.

(I grew up in Stevenage, remember.)

I felt like I was having an acid flashback, without ever taking it. The scene could only be improved by a four-piece rock band in animal costumes, playing I am the Walrus. If opening doors could be like this more often, the world would be a much better place.

We didn’t get much work done that day. We nipped to a nearby McDonald’s for milkshakes, and then decamped to the sensory room for the foreseeable future. It was a cool way to spend the afternoon, man.

Every week after that, we’d check that forbidden door, hoping for the best. It was only unlocked on about three or four occasions in the next eight years. If we’d spent less time fiddling with that handle and more time rehearsing, we might have got a recording contract. Still. I've got no regrets.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

"Nothing Like A Nice Warm Reptile House."

My favourite zoological attraction of all time, after much whittling down, is the Princess Diana Memorial Reptile House.

It opened at Shepreth Wildlife Park less than a month after Diana’s untimely death. There couldn’t be a more fitting tribute. Some might argue that the zoo were keen to latch onto a trend, or were swept up by the nation’s collective grief, but not me. I think it’s what she would have wanted.

If I have one criticism about the Princess Diana Memorial Reptile House, it’s that none of the exhibits bear relation to the name. By rights, it should be chock-a-block with cold-blooded animals recreating key moments in Ms Spencer’s life: a komodo dragon with its head at a jaunty angle à la her Panorama interview; an iguana dressed as Dodi Fayed; a snapping turtle with animatronic eyebrows, kept in a tank with a miniature piano, while 'Candle in the Wind 1997' plays on constant loop. 

Whoever pitched the Princess Diana Memorial Reptile House missed out on a trick.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

The Archer.

My day was going extremely well until I saw Jeffrey Archer.

I’d had a productive morning, putting the finishing touches to redecorating my bathroom. I’d rehung a few pictures, taken out my recycling and cleaned the food bin, which had frightening furry pink mould growing on the inside. I left my flat and skipped into town, content in the knowledge of a lot of jobs well done. Then I turned a corner to see the notorious ex-polititian, -lag and novelist, and my spirits fell. The day had been irreversibly tarnished.

What makes it worse was I knew he was in town for a book signing and had forgotten about it. Every day for the past few weeks, I’ve walked past the posters in the window of my favourite bookshop, promoting his forthcoming visit. They said he'd be autographing copies of his latest novel ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’, which sounded like a thinly-veiled threat. Despite plenty of advance warning, I walked straight into the lion’s den. I must be a glutton for punishment.

Even if I had remembered, it wouldn’t have made much difference. I would still have headed into town the same way. I didn’t expect him to be signing books outside the shop; I thought I'd be protected by at least twelve inches of brickwork.

This wasn’t my first run-in with the infamous author. I once went for afternoon tea at the Orchard Tea Rooms in Grantchester, right next to the Archers’ house (the Old Vicarage of Rupert Brooke's poem). They were having a garden party, with a live band – and we were treated to an impromptu Beatles medley, sung by the Archers themselves, as we tucked into our cream teas. I’ve not listened to Ticket to Ride in the same way since.

Friday, 12 September 2014

In a Lather.

Using Radox’s Uplifting Pink Grapefruit & Basil Soap last night made my hands smell like Um Bongo.

This wasn’t the desired outcome of this chain of events. If anything, I wanted my hands to be odourless. Instead, I wound up smelling like I’d bathed in a niche 1980s kids’ drink, which would be a costly and unhygienic way to clean myself.

I’ve got nothing against Um Bongo, per se. It's all right in its place (presumably the Democratic Republic of the Congo). I’d just sooner not wear it as a musk. Fussy, I know.

I should have read the label more carefully before I bought it. I've only got myself to blame. I was just enticed in by the promise of an uplifting experience. I like a soap that boosts my mood.

(I sometimes use Ribena for eyewash.)

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Paint it Blue.

I spent the morning washing my bathroom walls, which isn’t a euphemism.

I wasn't confused, if that's what you're thinking. I didn’t do it instead of cleaning myself. That came first. The reason for wiping my walls (also not a euphemism) is I’m about to redecorate.

It’s something I’ve meant to do for ages. Finally, I’ve got around to it. I’m unreasonably excited at the prospect. For too long, my bathroom’s been my secret shame. I hate it when people go in there. It will be nice to replace this sinking feeling* with pride.

It should also be quite therapeutic. I love painting. I know the job won’t be straightforward, as there are a lot of pipes to negotiate, but it will be satisfying knowing I did it myself. It might even make me feel like a man for once. Perhaps that's a little too ambitious.

*No pun intended.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


Since renting an office above a salon, I've learnt that hairdressers love to swear and smoke.

They do both almost constantly. Every day is one long, cuss-ridden fag break. If you charted their weekly cigarette-lighting / scissor-wielding ratio, the former statistic would come out on top. If the women in the shop below keep smoking at this rate, they’ll wind up cutting hair from inside an iron lung. Which would be very cumbersome.

That’s not to say all stylists are the same. I used to live above a barbershop. While the owner smoked the occasional rollup, he wouldn't do it to excess. He’d also carefully tailor his language to suit his customers.

This could be a generational thing. He was in his sixties, while the staff below are in their early twenties. He also worked alone, so long breaks wouldn’t have been cost-efficient.

I worry about their health. Smoking so much when so young can’t be good. Cutting down would help me too. It would ease my RSI from always opening and closing my office window.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Money, Money, Money

I have a debt no-one wants to lay claim to.

One of the downsides to being self-employed is a fluctuating income. Earnings can differ hugely from one year to the next, or even from week to week. The best - and worst - aspect of this is you never quite know what’s around the corner financially. Things can change, for good or for bad, at any moment.

Like many others in my situation, this often leads to taking out a loan or a credit card, to act as a buffer when times are hard. If things don’t pick up, or take a downward turn, you end up behind on your payments.

This is what happened to me. I’m not massively in arrears, but it’s enough to be unable to settle at the moment. For quite some time, I was tied to a repayment plan I couldn’t maintain and felt unable to express this to my creditors. Then, thanks to excellent free advice from the debt charity Step Change, I’m currently in the process of sorting a timetable that will keep the banks happy without leaving me penniless.

Or at least I would, if I could find out who is holding my account. I’ve spent all morning on the phone to various banks and recovery agencies, trying to find out who’s handling it. Nobody seems to know. Here I am, desperately trying to pay it off, yet no-one wants my money.

Hopefully, a job will come in soon that will turn my situation around. It would only take the one. If I’d got any of the countless adverts I’ve been penciled for in the past twelve months, I’d be back on my feet. Sometimes, being an actor is bullshit. 

If you’re having financial difficulties, visit www.stepchange.org. They’re excellent.

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Royal Baby Bandwagon.

The most irritating byproduct of Kate Middleton expecting another baby is the shameless promotional tie-in.

It was the same the first time around. No sooner was her pregnancy announced, or Prince George born, than scores of companies leapt on the bandwagon. Marketing consultants across the UK rubbed their hands together with glee at the prospect of not having to burn brain cells thinking of an imaginative way to promote their product. They only had to stick the words ‘ROYAL BABY’ at the top of their press release for their work to be done.

My favourite examples are the ones that don’t even attempt to assimilate the story. Take this email I received last year, from the rail company London Midland:

That subject must have taken milliseconds to come up with. Why did they feel the need to make the connection? People will still travel by train, regardless of a change to the line of royal succession. News of an 8% discount was enough of a reason to warrant the mail out.

Today, news broke of baby number two, to much the same affect. A quick search of the royal baby hashtag on Twitter brings out a string of thinly-veiled adverts from the likes of River Island, Pizza Express, Moonpig and more. Anyone would think a woman had ever been impregnated before.

Before long, some smart alec will write a blog about it too. Oh shit.