Tuesday 30 March 2010

No diet, no sleep - but still Jolley

15st 6lb, 3.0 units. I foolishly made a bet about six weeks ago that I could lose a stone by April Fools’ Day. With just 48 hours to go I have not lost an ounce, and the only way that I could fulfil my promise now would be to go and stick my neck on a railway line and wait for a train to trundle over it.

Luckily it turns out that the person with whom I made my bet has only lost 5lb, and we have agreed to give each other another month to hit our target. God knows I could do with losing the weight, and would feel far better if I did. On the other hand, when you are as depressed and physically sick as I have been for most of the last month, comfort eating has huge appeal. Particularly when it involves chocolate. I also note that I have derived virtually no benefit from hardly touching alcohol for the last few weeks, so I might as well go back to it. Good news for the nation’s wine merchants, if sadly too late to save Threshers.

The Dog, who was named after a Northumbrian village famous for kippers because of his predecessor’s much envied ability to sleep for 23 hours out of 24, has latterly begun suffering from insomnia. Which would be fine but for the fact that he has been in the habit of sleeping on my bed for the last eight years, and now makes rest impossible by spending the night pacing up and down, whingeing softly. A visit to the vet this morning unearthed no obvious clues, so he is to return next week for “tests”. Ker-ching!, as they no doubt said to themselves at the vet’s as soon as I had walked out of earshot.

Last week I read a splendidly entertaining story in the Daily Telegraph about the so-called Jolley Gang of gatecrashers. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I thought it was too good to be true. And it probably was, because when I went to consult the story on the paper’s website to remind myself of a few details before weaving them into a newspaper column of my own, I found that it had been systematically excised. Luckily I had kept a cutting of the original piece, or I would have concluded that it was a hallucination and that I am going even madder even faster than I had always assumed.

Still, there remain on the internet the Daily Mail’s account of the alleged gatecrasher Alan MacDonald choking to death on a canapé at the Dorchester Hotel, and the Evening Standard’s court report on the grotesque-looking Mr Jolley’s fraud conviction. Plus two pieces by Victoria Coren on her father’s memorial service and on recent events. All of which are worth reading for their high entertainment value, whether fact or fiction.

As for my piece, I concluded that I had seen quite enough instances of outrageously greedy behaviour during my years attending British company AGMs, particularly in the food and drink sectors, to make it worth writing anyway. In fact, now I come to think of it, I have a huge fund of hilarious stories about AGM mishaps over the years. I’d love to share some of them with you now, but I think they might just make another column …


Unknown said...

What are you talking about 'recent'? 2008, is that recent? Or did you just jump on this story cos you picked it up 47th hand and decided to 'publish' it on your foetid faeces festooned blog? Are you a real human being or someone made up to look like an arse?

Keith Hann said...

Recent? The link so described is to a piece by Victoria Coren published on 21 March 2010, commenting on the death of Mr MacDonald on 25 February (reported in the Daily Mail on 5 March) and the funeral of Coronation Street actress Maggie Jones in December 2009, as well as her own father's memorial service in 2008.

Forty seventh hand? The really odd thing about this most entertaining story is that a Google search will reveal it to have received almost no media coverage - the links in my short piece today are pretty much the only references to it in the national press. Indeed, this obscurity as well as the strangeness of the tale led some of those commenting on Victoria Coren's articles to suggest that she had made the whole thing up.

I did wonder myself.

In fact, at the time of publication I was not at all sure that I had not been spoofed into writing about a bunch of fictional characters. I have since heard directly from various acquaintances of the late Mr MacDonald, making it clear that this was not the case.

It will no doubt be the paucity of coverage elsewhere which has led you to this thoroughly (and, I dare say, deservedly) obscure blog.

To conclude: a man has died, which is always sad, whatever the circumstances, but apart from that every other detail of this story strikes me as being in the finest traditions of British comedy. It would make an excellent Ealing film.

Why so angry?

And while I may indeed be an arse, I take comfort from the fact that I have not yet been reduced to gatecrashing the funerals and memorial services of total strangers in pursuit of a free drink.

Matthew Steeples said...

Here's an update on this gang's latest activities: http://dasteepsspeaks.blogspot.com/2011/10/crashing-assange.html