We'll pull your socks up for pounds 50


Related Topics

PERHAPS I should explain why the new announcement on my answering-machine says: 'Hallo, Chelsea Drugs. Please state your requirements after the bleep.'

Some of you have got the wrong end of the stick entirely, though I ought to explain that Terence Blacker, having been engaged to sing 'Tie a Yellow Ribbon' at the Lone Star Restaurant in the Gloucester Road, only wanted some 'Do-Dos' to keep him awake till midnight. For others, it merely confirmed what most of you had already twigged: that as between Mrs Matthews, 95 and in denial, and Simon Holiday, it was no contest as to which should be my partner as a television watchdog.

That said, I reached a decision myself only after Holiday - about whom I've had my doubts since he started sending his latest photographs to women on 12-step programmes like himself - grew tired of being treated abominably by Amy Jenkins, his beloved, and chose instead to be treated by a distinguished counsellor to drunks.

I tried to talk him out of it, of course. Being a naval man myself - accustomed to shipping it green at 90ft and, on manoeuvres, removing my own appendix with an oyster fork - I tend to give short shrift to chaps on programmes, advising them instead to inflate the chest and walk with their toes turned out.

'Pull your socks up,' I said. 'He'll pop you in a clinic and one, in all likelihood, practising the sinister Minnesota Method,' but Holiday would not be told. I'll not see him again, I thought, but he returned, with his tail wagging, after an hour or two.

This was embarrassing, since I'd already told Mrs Matthews to have some photographs taken ('Good news, Holiday's been carted off to a clinic, so you're on the firm after all'), but I blew her out ('As you were. Cancel the photographs, you're off the firm') and asked Holiday what had happened.

'It was brilliant,' he said. 'I had to fill in a 10-page questionnaire, thereafter achieving a record score under Obsessional Characteristics. Then he charged me pounds 50.'

'That's fair. But what treatment did he suggest?'

'He told me to pull my socks up.'

I was thunderstruck, but within seconds realised that here was a second string to our bow. As well as being independent watchdogs we could open a clinic ourselves, relieving the seriously confused of pounds 50 and telling them to pull their socks up - the two enterprises blending perfectly since our patients, once they had been thoroughly disorientated (in accordance with the Minnesota Method) by sensory deprivation techniques acquired by myself while seconded to the SBS, would divulge their secrets (not least the names of the street fiends who'd been supplying them), later enabling us to hold the latter up to ridicule in a prime-time slot.

I know, you think I'm irresponsible, but you're wrong. Winchester, Magdalene and Broadway Lodge, that's my background, so don't tell me about the Minnesota Method (though I stress that I attended the latter institution not as a patient but as a co-dependant, being inveigled, as a 'significant other', on to three-day programmes, in the course of which wild-eyed Christian counsellors told us we were in it up to here; more deeply in it, as it happened, than our various beloveds in their care).

Accordingly, I have altered the announcement on my answering-machine and turned my flat into a clinic, with myself as the hard man, in charge of humiliation, and with Holiday as the soft one, offering our patients a kind word and a cup of tea, after I've broken them into little pieces.

The problem is that Holiday forgets the tea and sympathy and instead hands round his photographs. Never mind. I play my part brilliantly, though Holiday disputes this, confronting our patients with parade-ground insults from the moment they arrive.

'Right]' I bellow, my nose an inch from theirs. 'Are you carrying, by any chance?'

'No]' they squeak, aiming at indignation, but achieving only a rat-like terror.

At which point, Holiday rebukes me. 'You shouldn't do that,' he says.

'No harm in asking,' I say, indeed I've twice got lucky.

Then I have them on their hands and knees, scrubbing the bath and polishing the kitchen floor, after which Holiday offers round his photographs. 'No thanks,' they say, 'we'd rather clean the kitchen floor again' - the most enthusiastic in this regard being a nice young man who, for two hours on Tuesday, crawled around on all fours and then admitted that he was merely an admirer of Root into Europe and had come all the way from Cornwall to get my autograph.

We're coining it, and my flat hasn't looked as good in years. Plus, I have the name of a front-line fiend in Ladbroke Grove whom I'll film next week in fuzzy focus - after I've had lunch, that is, with a prissy type from Conde Nast, who, if you please, wishes me to become restaurant critic on one of their glossy monthlies. Things are looking up.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nicola Sturgeon could have considerable influence over David Cameron in a hung parliament  

General Election 2015: What if Cameron were to end up in hock to the SNP?

Steve Richards
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before