Being a guest on television shows is always a curious affair. I was on two last week, and they were very peculiar beasts. The first was in Dublin, where I appeared on a show in which four people sit behind a desk and supposedly riff about "stuff". In return for talking about whatever you happen to be promoting, you are expected to join in amusing banter about the other subjects being discussed. I had the National Ploughing Festival and MasterChef Ireland. I didn't have too much to add to the conversation but it was nevertheless quite gripping. A contestant who had just been eliminated from MasterChef Ireland was in the audience and seemed to be undergoing something akin to a nervous breakdown as he went through his decision to make a complicated dish and not the simpler one he had originally planned.
The conversation eventually managed to move on, and we entered into discussion with a man who was the Irish wellington boot-throwing record-holder. I found this more interesting, but only marginally. The secret to throwing Wellington boots is, apparently, to crumple them up before you throw them. Half way through the show, the chef Jean-Christophe Novelli joined us and there was more talk of cooking while women of a certain age in the audience wolf-whistled. At the end of the show, the woman next to me offered cupcakes to the whole audience, and I slipped away into the Dublin night for a restorative pint or 10 of the black stuff.
Two days later, I was in London about to appear on Loose Women, a terrifying daytime TV show in which women grumble about getting old, men, and soap operas that I don't watch. I had to sit in a fake "green room" and wave vacuously at the camera every time the women drew breath and announced that I was soon coming on. The guest before me was an actor who played a gay man on Coronation Street. When he went on it turned out that he had just had a second child in real life and so was not gay. Then they showed a photograph of him and his screen partner plus the mother of their children. I was very confused.
Then it was time for me to join the loose women. They all started firing questions at me and I didn't know which way to look. I'd look left and then right and my neck started to hurt. We were talking about how all men wanted Gary Barlow's haircut and how Simon Cowell had got aides to make some computer-generated images of himself with new hairstyles as he was jealous of Gary Barlow.
I was now even more confused, so I decided to concentrate on Carol Vorderman who appeared to be nominally in charge. This was a mistake because Lorraine Chase asked me a question and I didn't understand what she said. I started to hallucinate – I was on Countdown, naked, with Lorraine Chase and Carol Vorderman chanting: "The wa'er in Majo'orca don't taste like what it oug'ta." On a screen in front of me was a photo of Geri Halliwell hanging upside down doing some weird yoga thing and saying, "Are you flexible, Dom?" I need a rest … a long rest.