Monday, 28 June 2010

Abi Titmuss's Puppies (of the canine variety)

It was something of a roller-coaster weekend for me although it started in very pleasant manner when my better half (‘The Jackster’), and my good self had lunch with Abi Titmuss on Saturday.

Well I say ‘had lunch with’, we were sat at the adjoining table to Abi outside a leafy boozer in Hampstead. Abi had just been for a walk on the Heath with an extremely cute little dog that turned out to be called ‘Danny’. The poor little fella must have exhausted itself pegging around in the heat of the day and spent part of the time sleeping on my shoe under the table as I tucked into my asparagus and poached egg and lamented what further damage the yolk would be doing to my cholesterol.

Abi, who I might add was an absolute delight, informed us that Danny was a rescue pup and she had just received the results of a gene test to ascertain its background since it was clearly a cross-breed. Apparently the little tyke has no less than 4 different lineages including Yorkshire Terrier, St Bernard, ummm Cocker Spaniel I think, and I can’t remember the other one. So basically somewhere, somehow, a Yorkshire Terrier got frisky with a St Bernard which is something of a neat trick on both of their parts. As a result, Danny is officially more ethnically diverse than Tiger Woods.

Well anyway, enough about Abi Titmuss’s puppy, more to the point I fear that I lost my nerve whilst chatting to her and didn’t mention anything about President Obama, a Union Jack flag, Help for Heroes or her being on a list of ‘500 iconic Britons’ because I didn’t want to harass her mid rocket and celeriac salad. I will, though, use our brief meeting as an opening gambit when I write to her agent Adam in the next few days.

So after the highs of a pleasant lunch at the Wells (pictured above), the lows of a stuttering, stumbling, fumbling performance by Messrs Wazza, Hezza, Bazza, Upzza, Coley, John Terry etc against Germany yesterday afternoon when Fazza Capello seemed at a loss to explain our dramatic loss of form.

For me the tournament is of very little interest now, so whether Brazil thrashes Argentina 5-3 in the most spectacular final ever witnessed or whether Spain scrapes a 1-0 victory over Holland after extra time, Iniesta crashing the winner home on 116 minutes, I personally couldn’t give a flying fig.

Although I might put a little wager on the latter.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Reply - Alex Salmond

....and on the subject of unhealthy diets, I had a letter from a Scotsman today (see below). Neil Hastie, -hastie by both name and nature apparently, since my letter to Alex Salmond was sent out but a mere few days ago- has already replied to inform me that his boss, my target, the First Minister of Scotland will be unable to sign the flag.

According to Mr Hastie:

"...The First Minister receives a great many requests and which puts considerable pressure on his diary. Unfortunately on this occasion, the First Minister will be unable to sign the flag."

I don't wish to sound overly pedantic here but I believe the word 'and' was somewhat redundant in the first sentence.

Anyway very good of him to get back to me, even if it was another 'no'. This 500 Celebrity flag-signing project is proving quite tricky already. Ok so DJ Mike Mendoza and author Jeffrey Archer will be signing the flag in the coming weeks, but Clare Balding, Mike Leigh, David Attenborough, Paul Smith, and Alex Salmond won't be. That's a 28.571% success rate I have so far from those who have answered, which if replicated across the board, should still see me get the 100 messages to send to President Obama.

Well what was slightly disconcerting, however, was that the envelope in which this letter was sent to me included both my first and middle names. I have no idea how they found this information out, nor why the Scottish Government would want to display to me that they could garner such knowledge, possibly by rooting through my bin bags, but I felt momentarily violated.

It passed.

Particularly as they were kind enough to return my s.a.e. to me unused meaning that I save 45p from my next letter.

Right I'm off out to buy lunch for my sweetheart.........So Subway it is.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

President Obama's Cholesterol Level...

.....Must be better than mine.

As of the other day, I am officially not allowed to eat anything enjoyable ever again which basically comprises anything of an animal or anything through an animal (ie excreted from its boob or ovary).

My own personal favourites include salami, whipped cream, pate and fried eggs, which tends to make a bit of a mess on the plate, but all of these are strictly verboten now.

My doctor ordered me to have a cholesterol test the other day and I'm not saying that my cholesterol level is high, but put it this way, when I graze my arm, cream comes out. My reading is 6.8 as I recall, meaning that techincally you could grease a chip-pan with my tears.

Even more terrifying, I have to soon start excercising and I've been told that raising a pint pot to my chubby, buttery lips doesnt count as 'increasing the heartrate'.

Barack presumably has no such problems since yesterday he scoffed an incredibly unhealthy sounding burger with President Medvedev of Russia (who's obviously come a long way since his tennis playing days) as the two attempt to forge out a new, all-improved 'Special Relationship'.

Are we British being sidelined here or what? It's like your best mate and your girlfriend, who don't really know each other going to Brighton for the weekend without inviting you. I mean what is all this?

Pres. O (no doubt cheering on the inside for his table topping football team - well done them), apparently went for a Cheddar Cheeseburger with onion, lettuce, tomato and pickles and an ice tea, the discerning choice for any leader of the free world, whilst his counterpart also had a cheeseburger, although with jalapenos and mushrooms. Medvedev drank a coke.

And they shared some fries.

Aah how sweet.

I would give my right aorta, complete with its sludgy, furry lining, to have a meal like that right now.

PS well done Defoe, more of the same please.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Reply - Paul Smith

Ok so I was wrong about the Algeria game and I suppose a flukey 1-0 victory was a little too much to ask for.

In the normal course of events I would now proceed to sharpen my pen and language and berate the likes of Wayne, Frank and Steve for being lame, figuratively not literally, yet I'm writing to all of them in the coming weeks asking them to scrawl on the flag for both President Barack and Help for Heroes, not.

(Not, of course that they're likely to be reading this website, nor actually is anyone other than work colleague Sam and the ever loyal girlfriend 'Jacko').

Hey sugarlumps!

I digress.

Like Ashley Cole and Linford Christie, the replies are turning up, thick and fast at the moment from the first 30 letters that I sent out a fortnight ago.

Most recently out of the hat, I received a reply from fashion designer and Nottingham's favourite son (possibly after Bryan Clough, D.H.Lawrence, Kenneth Clarke or, erm, Jermaine Jenas) Paul 'Smudger' Smith.

Smithy, after learning of my project and giving it due consideration has decided to pass on this one.

I can't actually confirm that his nickname really is 'Smudger', nor why so many 'Smiths' seem to have that strange middle moniker bestowed upon them, but anyway an email from Nicole Abbott who works at the Smithy HQ in.....wherever it is, I can't actually remember where I wrote to, kindly bothered to get back to me by the medium of email. I quote:

"Dear Jules

Thank you very much for your letter to Paul Smith regarding signing the Union Jack Flags.

We have discussed this with him and although he would love to be able to help unfortunately it won’t be possible on this occasion due to his many other commitments – sorry.

Thank you very much for thinking of him and all the best for the project.

Kind regards

Nicole Abbott"

What a thoughtful and well crafted response. Nicole is a consumate professional. I bet unlike me, she doesn't lie on the couch most nights scratching her armpits and belching whilst listening to Alan Hanson deconstruct the Slovenian back four.

Another update soon.


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Reply - Jeffrey Archer

This time a reply in the affirmative to my request from one of the 500 on the list and from an author….like me….albeit a slightly more prolific, well respected and affluent one than myself.

Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare - a lovely place, great mini-golf course as I recall -or Jeffrey Archer if you prefer, has agreed to sign the Union Jack flag with a message to President Obama.

Ooh, I wonder what he’ll write.

So yes, a kindly lady by the name of Alison, who acts as PA to Jeffrey, sent me a delightful email in which she mentioned, amongst other things that:

“Jeffrey would be happy to add his name to any flag that will be auctioned off for the Help for Heroes charity” (as will one of mine) and so I am in the process of co-ordinating a suitable time and place to meet said peer.

That meeting will be reported on in an exclusive update on this website once it has happened.

Exclusive because no-one else in the media has the slightest clue about what I’m doing...and you are the only person reading this

Monday, 14 June 2010

Reply - David Attenborough

David Attenborough is by far and away my favourite wildlife documentarian and always will be.

You’d never catch him shrieking “Crikey! Look at the fangs on that little fella” or contriving a scene where he got stung on the eye by a hornet for dramatic effect..

Sir David is the model of professionalism. He’s the sort of person I’d have love to have had as a science teacher at school. He’s probably got loads of fascinating things in jars of formaldehyde, but more than that, I reckon his serene and avuncular nature would have made learning about the spectroscopic properties of haemoglobin anything but boring.

David was kind enough to pen me a short note in the response to the letter that I sent him the other day, asking if he’d be able to sign the ‘Jack’ for Barack.

To paraphrase it, and forgive me if this is slightly inaccurate, I’m at work right now and in theory should be telephoning Private Equity Lawyers to try and move them from job to job, but I believe that it said:

“Dear Jules Segal, please forgive me but I will not be available to sign your flag….”

I certainly forgive Sir David. He was kind enough to not only write a note, but to put it in an envelope (albeit the self-addressed envelope that I have included with all of the missives to the 500) and to post it in a letterbox..

What a thoroughly nice guy.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Green Fingers

What with this brown ‘British’ slurry covering a vast area of ‘American’ sea in the Gulf of Mexico (the slick now reckoned to cover an area larger than Luxembourg….and presumably containing more interesting life-forms), it seems abundantly clear to me that we drew our opening match of the World Cup 1-1 with the USA on purpose.

I would like to advance the theory that in the spirit of getting the relationship back on track and in order to thaw out the frosty blanket that has lately been throttling the genteel accord that used to exist prior to ‘slick-gate’, Robert Green was instructed to tip the ball into his own net, Ledley King was instructed to pull a groin and Emile Heskey was instructed not to score.

The latter was achieved with the minimum of fuss.

And the middle one for that matter.

I have been ensured by Fabio Capello, in a late night conversation that I had with him just moments ago, that normal service will be resumed next Friday night and England will eke out a glorious and deserved 1-0 win against Algeria, Wayne Rooney scoring on 89 minutes with a shot that will be deflected in off Frank Lampard’s buttocks.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Reply - Mike Leigh

I climbed the 219 steps at Belsize Park tube station today, not because the lift was broken but because my doctor told me yesterday morning that the 30 minutes of vigourous excercise that I ought to be doing four times a week wouldn't include ambling around a golf course, stretching for a jar of peanut butter from the cupboard, or onanism.

I received an email today, from Helen, who I believe is an adjutant to the acclaimed writer and director Mike Leigh, scribe of such gilded works as Abigail's Party, Secrets and Lies and Life is Sweet..

In fact Helen sent me the email during the South Africa v Mexico match, the opening game of the World Cup, so perhaps she's not a football fan....or indeed, perhaps the noise of the vuvuzela is too much for her to bear. She wouldn't be alone in that.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, sadly Mike does not want to take part in this project for as Helen wrote:

"Thank you for your invitation to Mike Leigh who does not want to take part in this project.
Best Wishes"

Well never mind, a reply at least and I don't begrudge Mike ducking out of this one. He was kind enough to meet me on another foray several years ago (see category 'h' in the right hand column), so as far as I'm concerned, he's done his bit.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Oil Stand By You

A potentially divisive cloud on the horizon right now for Anglo-Yank relations, and an issue which, although not likely to tip it into an all-out, nuke-firing fracas, seems to be adding extra strain to the general bonhomie of our two nations, much like a bulging gut pressing against the elasticated waistband of a pair of Kappa tracksuit bottoms.

But enough about my own weight-gain problems, it seems that BP CEO Tony Hayward is in a spot of bother and will certainly have to come up with some slick manouvres if he doesn’t want to find himself tarred and feathered and run out of Dodge. Tarred and feathered, in fact, like much of the aquatic wildlife in Louisiana right now. I saw a photograph of a black slimy pelican the other day. Pelicans aren’t meant to be black and slimy. It made me sad.

President Obama has been lambasting British Petroleum left, right and centre in response. Tough on oil spills, tough on the causes of oil spills, although whether this is largely a knee-jerk reaction to the chorus of disapproving voices back at home, bemoaning his handling of the affair and his apparent inability to project anger, is unclear.

It seems that he is damned either way, a vast swathe of American’s, even the renowned political commentator and blacksploitation filmmaker Spike Lee, have been speaking out about the President’s lack of fighting talk, Lee wishing that Obama would ‘go off’ on BP about the spill. US comedian Bill Maher, on the other hand suggested that Obama should go into the meetings with BP executives and lift his shirt to reveal a gun in his waistband.

On the flipside, when Barack does get nasty, emphasizing the word ‘British’ of British Petroleum in his speeches and spitting it out as if it was a cardamom pod hidden in a mouthful of pilau rice, everyone on this side of the Atlantic sits up, takes notice and berates the poor man. Boris Johnson, for example (who happens to be on my list of 500, so maybe I can question him on the subject if/when I meet him) recently stated:

“The best thing now is not to get into too much name-calling and buck-passing, and attempt to damage the reputation of a great British company, but to work together to sort it out,”

So whether B.O. should get nasty with BP or should cut them some slack, is open to anyone’s interpretation. I suppose his primary duty is to the interests of his nation and countrymen, but whatever one’s views on the subject happen to be, it seems that this is one story that is going to run and run.

….Much like the oil, sadly.