Talking heads don’t make sense

On New Year’s Eve I visited my lonely bathtub. Tragic, definitely, but I ought to be applauded for admitting it here, and not exaggerating about my involvement in a glamorous orgy at an urban location. (Of course, I am actually being modest – I was indeed involved in one of those events, but am loath to provoke jealousy. Of course. Don’t you know who I am?)

On the way to the bathtub, I caught a few moments of BBC Two’s Grumpy Old New Year programme. Conveniently, this has been shown on several New Year’s Eves since 2007 – even, in 2009, on New Year’s Day, when even rock-stars look at their televisions – so my cunning ruse remains intact, and here I am of course remembering having watched it on the first day of 2009, in the aftermath of some predictably exotic events.

Remember, deceit like this would be in the spirit of New Year’s Eve. There was fury when it was “revealed” that Jamie Oliver’s wife, Jools Holland, records his annual music show in advance. It is only natural that I should be reliving the events of years ago as if they happened on Saturday.

Grumpy Old New Year consists of nationally known broadcasting personalities listing things that annoy them about the annual festivities. Each is a fine example of a first world problem. Teach a man to fish and he will do weak observational comedy about fishing, right?

A recording of comedian, presenter, singer and actor Brian Conley speaking about the fruits of the date palm was being displayed when I was in the same room as the television. (As per usual, I can’t be sure how representative this was of the whole programme.) He was critical of dates, obviously – Brian Conley talking about his favourite fruit would be poor entertainment. Unfortunately, the preferred option is not much better. After mulling it over, he decided that they were similar to damp toilet paper, which did summon the obvious questions about how Brian Conley knows what it’s like to eat damp toilet paper. I had it on good authority that he was all right, but I like dates, and hence right now I taste not the rich, fruity sweetness but the sour taste of betrayal.

Brian Conley didn’t look like the Brian Conley from off of my imagination. I was confused, I realised, because I was expecting the slow left-arm orthodox spin bowler Phil Tufnell. They are in fact different men, with different heads. One characteristic of Brian Conley is that sometimes only one side of his face will be contorted, and I am the same. If I become trapped in a lift with Brian Conley, although I prefer escalators, that shall be a rich source of conversation.

They also had a lot of other people, and Des Lynam. Des Lynam famously invented nylon, which is why “nylon” is almost an anagram of his surname, but not quite. It is at the same time arrogant and modest – he names the synthetic polymer after himself, but then changes some of the letters and their order.

In events reminiscent of the rhinoceros palaver, I have a strange memory of visiting an urban multi-storey car park and there being a cardboard statue of Des Lynam. Was this to frighten the crows, or discourage illegal parking, or both? Research reveals that such items have existed, and were used to advertise plant fertiliser (Miracle-Gro) – it is easy to mix up the garden centre and car park, just as Brian Conley is a bit like Phil Tufnell.

Later, I climbed into the bathtub. It was full of hot, watery soap. We have Boots bubble bath at the moment – they pretentiously call it “Creme Bath”, styled in lowercase sans-serif letters. The bath was brief, and I was asleep by midnight. Although at the time, euphemistically, the real version of me was having the seeds extracted in a cloud of worldly debauchery. I was, uh, pitted.