Alex James: The Great Escape

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The Independent Online

'What? How much? What! How much!? Of course we'll do it." "Ohmygod! Claire! Quick! It's Hello!, they're coming. At last! Cancel breakfast and call the cleaners, quick!"

"I'm not going to wear a dressing gown and I'm not-" "Darling you don't have to, it's fine. You just have to smile gently. Leave it all to me."

"What about Gally's hospital appointment?"

"Cancel it. It can wait. He's just fine isn't he?"

"They want to give him some radioactive milk, so they can measure his kidneys."

"How much are we getting paid for that? I'm sure this is more."

"We're not getting-"

"Just kidding, darling. They want to taste some cheese, too. I'm going to see Crudgie about it. It's getting ridiculous."

"Roger, for goodness' sake, where's the cheese? Would you please make me some cheese right now. This famous cheese of yours doesn't exist. I think we can wing it with this lot if I can get Claire to wear her dressing gown, but the Observer is coming on Thursday and they'll want to see this so-called cheese."

I must say things have been going well since we decided to start making cheese. Apart from not having made any cheese whatsoever, it seems to have been a complete success. Just the idea of cheese, is enough. I had great hopes for the opera, it didn't happen. Betty Boo kind of worked, but still people said, "What about that other band you're in, the really good one?" Now nobody wants to know if Graham's going to join Blur again any more. They just want cheese.

"WE'LL have you both in jeans for this one."

"Ah, I'm afraid I don't have any jeans."

"That's OK, we brought some with us."

"I'd rather not, actually."

"It's just for one shot."

When I gave all my jeans away last week, as it finally sunk in that I am nearly 38, and there are other things to be wearing, all manner of tailored trousers to explore, I had no idea it was going to be an onward struggle. I said, "I don't want to wear jeans!"The stylist looked dismayed. The photographer had me down for a prima donna, now. He'd had his suspicions all along. The make-up guy seemed a little upset and I noticed he was wearing jeans. They were all wearing jeans, in fact. I said I'd wear a dressing gown if they wanted.

"I DON'T want any more photos, I want more chocolate," said Geronimo. The chocolate bribes had been working, but they turned against us. Artie was howling. It's got to be the hardest job in showbusiness, photographing families. This guy was good, though. The monkey noises seemed to be doing the trick, "Ooh-ooh-ooh, ah-ah ah. Cheese!" He said. Indeed.

a.james@independent.co.uk

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