And you wrote and wrote and wrote. Hundreds of letters, requesting and, in some cases demanding, attendance at the Palace of Wisdom, my party tonight, at the New Connaught Rooms. I felt like God, sat on the kitchen floor, choosing the winners. So I upped the number of tickets for readers, because I like to think of myself as God the Good Bloke, and there were some really deserving cases. But hey - forget them, let's get straight to the winning wackos!
Here is Albert from Dorset: "I'm only 18 year [sic] of age and I still hold a romantic vision of a ruby-studded, star-dusted road of excess, glistening like a sweaty king. And all the ditches have en suite bathrooms and are ermine lined. I think I need this view deflated, so please invite me."
Mr Miller said he and his wife "are straight to an acute and pathalogical extent and therefore regularly shocked beyond belief by your column, which we read (on medical advice and under strict supervision) only in order to cure excessive conventionality. That being the case we wish to progress to a further cathartic stage in our treatment, drastic though this step may be."
Regular readers will be familiar with the Sharkey motto: Don't Bother Me With Facts, I Want Gossip. Doubtless, Kate had this in mind when she wrote: "I met and fell hopelessly in love with Michael VerMeulen a week before he died. Your column, and other nice clippings, lie in a pink carrier bag with the silk lingerie he bought me on our first date."
Mmmm, that's gossip and brown-nosing. I like it.
Pagan (really, she insists) wrote saying: "I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I woo men with my sensuous and god-like trombone playing, I translate ethnic slurs for Bosnian refugees, I can hurl tennis racquets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I am a ruthless bookie. I don't perspire. Children trust me."
Chris, the cultural attache for Oldham, wanted to initiate a cultural exchange programme by attending my party. Then he wrote again to say he had fallen under a train, but not to worry, he would still be out of hospital in time. The next day I received another letter from Chris, announcing that for 23 long years he had searched in vain for the meaning of life. And then he had died. "Ironically," he continued, "it is in death that I found purpose. I had my body cast in the most tasteful shade of puce stone and I am currently employed as a party decoration. I think I would be the perfect icon to worship in the Palace of Wisdom."
Chris is arranging my expenses-paid tour of Oldham's finest massage parlours even as you read this.
Then there was the letter from Zhoozh. Many of you said your image was "in need of a zhoozh" (about 150 at the last count), but only one actually claimed to be a Zhoozh. "I'm 19, half Persian, half Burmese," wrote Zhoozh, "and I'm stuck in the office of my boyfriend's lab. He's kind of nerdy in a way but he can also be very funny sometimes."
Throwaway name. Mad boffin boyfriend. Feline pedigree and a breathtaking liar to boot. Bonus points. Another winner.
Oh, you're saying, he's only interested in bits of fluff. Well, Denise had my number from the off. "To look at me you'd think I was a fat, ugly, old trollop, but this is just a very thick veneer. I'm sure you waded through yards of dross from stunning nubile models, invite them all. Saves money on decorations. If I am invited, I plan to wear my bright fuchsia kaftan. My mum bought it for me in a charity shop." Another fin-de-siecle heroine, another winner.
Michelle begged to be rescued from Nottingham, promising to "sit in the corner, talk to no one and just enjoy the evening without letting my simply frightful regional accent be heard." Nick from Glasgow sent a feeble poem comparing me to Don Juan ("if you had a moustache"). Derek from Crystal Palace compared my writing to "the sandy excretions a worm traces on the beach". And Hilary from Arundel wrote "I would like to come to your party because I am 59 and I would like to see your eyes." Bold, or what?
Cutest of all was the miniature perfume bottle from Leicestershire, with a label saying read me. Inside, a tiny scroll, quoting from Alice in Wonderland. Drawn on the reverse, a leggy chick in a nurse's outfit, throwing her arms up and shouting, "Dear Alix, please give me the key so I can stroll in the garden among the beautiful flowers. Love, Eva the Diva."
"That's a winner, Daddy!" squealed Phoebe, peering over my shoulder.
"Oh, alright then," I muttered. Honestly, the things a man will do to please his eight-year-old daughterReuse content