Thursday, August 11, 2005

Forget fame, fortune and things

It's nice to be reminded why I don't want to be a celebrity. Spent the best part of two hours tonight being filmed pretending to memorise numbers, cards and so on, while talking about the brain and learning and how generally great it is to have one and do it.

The layout of my flat not being appropriate for the camerawork she wanted to do, we had to drag my desk out into the middle of the room and put my computer up on it (as opposed to on the floor), shine my desk lamp on me (I don't usually use the lamp, it just sits on my desk to look nice) and do everything several times over so as to get different camera angles. And she took exception to my Zoom-Zoom T-Shirt, possibly because of the big holes, and made me wear a shirt and my playing-cards tie. So people will think I sit around the house in a shirt and tie, with my computer on my desk, taking the whole memory thing really, really seriously.

Annoying, the whole thing. I'll try to get out of the follow-up filming she's threatening me with, outside in the park.

This might be my last entry for a few days. Going down to Oxford tomorrow, back on Tuesday. A bit doubtful about my chances now, but we'll see.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bored now

If I was a more assertive person, I'd tell all these interview-happy people pestering me at the moment to collectively bog off. I didn't sound too bad on the Steve Wright show, but I've turned down another interview on Radio 4 tomorrow, and I've still got the Telegraph going to phone me up, followed by the TV people coming round to film me. Which is seriously annoying, not just because it cuts into my cartoon-watching time, but because the director hasn't got a clue what the WMC is all about, meaning that I have to explain everything from first principles. Most people at least have a vague idea what a memory competition involves before they talk to me. I did fill her in on what the binary competition, and others, actually involve, which seemed to disappoint her somewhat, but she still thinks there's something filmworthy there.

And also, they want to film me practicing memorising cards, and I need to be not memorising things right now, so as to keep my brain clear for the weekend. I'll just have to pretend to be training and not really look at the cards.

Still, how cool is this: "Our guests on the show today are Ben Pridmore and Natalie Imbruglia!"

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


And can't think of anything to write, but I've been doing so well at this daily diary thing that I'm not going to stop now.

I was thinking of writing some nonsense, but I'm too tired even for that.

Monday, August 08, 2005


You see, this is why I wouldn't be a very good celebrity. I've spent way too much time today talking with and emailing the radio and TV people - the latter now want to film me talking to the former, which I think is taking things to extremes.

What I need, obviously, is an agent. But the understanding kind who won't mind if I refuse to do any kind of interviews or performances for months on end because I don't feel like it.

In other news, I think I'm really going to work on othello as soon as the WMC is over, and see if I can put in a good performance at the nationals in September. I'd really love to go to Iceland for the world championships, although that would take twice as many disappearing acts from the really good players as last year, since we only get to send three people this time round. Three men, anyway - it seems there'll be women's teams too, although that's not much help to me.

Anyway, enough. I'm going to go and play Sonic the Hedgehog. I know I said I'd practice hour numbers tonight, but I've decided to do it tomorrow. I'll be finished recording the radio thing by 1:00, apparently, and if I can escape the TV people quickly, I might be back here before four, with plenty of time for a bit of last-minute training. I just did a perfect 100 on spoken numbers, which I don't usually manage, so I'm still upbeat about my chances.

One more thought - the TV people want to film me at home on Thursday night. Should I clean the place up a bit, just so as it doesn't look like one of those places you occasionally see in news stories about people living in shocking squalour? Or should I leave it filthy and try to pass it off as loveably eccentric?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Memory stuff

I've had a great weekend's training, and the conclusion is that I'm not at quite the level I was last year, but I'm getting the idea that I might, if everything goes well, be good enough to win, touch wood.

I'm torn between resting my routes from now till Saturday, or getting a bit more practice in after work tomorrow. I think I'll go for the latter option, just because I'm still not completely confident about how much to attempt in the hour numbers (8 234-digit journeys to play it safe, or 9 and hope it goes better than it did on Saturday? 8 won't be enough to match the best results, I suspect, but I think it's the way to go).

I've also altered my new journeys so as to skip two sections that are much too similar to each other, and dredged some more old journeys from the back of my mind where they've been lying unused since last year. So I've now got close to thirty of them, which should be enough. The old ones still work better than the new ones, so I have to decide which disciplines to use them for...

I also have to work tomorrow - it's going to be a busy day, particularly with not being in on Tuesday or Friday, and the radio and TV people both probably going to call at some point. Still, stress always helps me think better.