Saturday, October 06, 2007

Hey, wait a minute, I've stopped being famous!

Apart from the Channel 5 photo shoot, I've got nothing lined up or likely to be lined up in terms of memory publicity. Does this mean I'm settling back into comfortable obscurity again? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Tell you what, let's call it a bit of breathing space to write my book and then decide if I want to try to publicise it.

Anyway, it's my birthday next Sunday! Thirty-one years old! Who'da thunk it? I'm going to think of some more new-year-of-my-life resolutions and see if I can achieve them this time. I'm not having the party till a fortnight afterwards, so perhaps I'll spend the day in quiet reflection wailing and lamenting my old age, screaming curses at the gods and attempting to hypnotise myself into believing I'm still a young vigorous twenty-something. Or maybe I'll go out drinking. We'll have to see.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Losing track of time

What with going to London yesterday, I spent the whole day thinking it was Saturday. On the train ride home I repeatedly caught myself wondering what had happened in the football and looking forward to watching the highlights. Which is particularly silly, since most of this weekend's games are on Sunday anyway. But it's carried over into today, and I'm still feeling like it's Sunday night right now.

Of course, my life is a succession of Saturdays and Sundays at the moment, so it doesn't make much difference, but it's still nice to know that there's another weekend starting tomorrow, right after this one. I really need to get a job, though - a couple of interesting prospects in the pipeline, we'll have to see what develops.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Humans 1, Chimps 0

Yes, I succeeded in performing a memory test similar but not identical to the one that the Japanese chimps do. Which is good, because they'd also tried it on the average man on the street in Hammersmith, and apparently the general public struggled with it. So I defended the intellectual honour of the human race there. And a bit earlier on in Soho I recited pi to a thousand places for Tiger Aspect productions, which was fun. I'd insisted on doing that, just because I wanted a change from the inevitable pack of cards I always do for these people (I also did a pack of cards for Blink, the TV company with the monkeys*). And I think I got it right, too, after a bit of revision on the train journey from Derby.

And speaking of memory, if you send a company an email about a job, mention the memory stuff in it, and forget to attach your CV, that's probably not a good move, is it?

Also, check out Gaby Kappus's website for a very cool picture of me!

*Monkeys aren't chimps, and vice versa, I'm well aware of that. But I think 'monkeys' sounds funnier in a blog post.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


So, down to London tomorrow for two different TV thingies, one of which involves monkeys. It was nearly three things - Channel 5 emailed today to say they want to do a photo shoot promoting the famous documentary, and I suggested tomorrow since I'll be in London anyway. But apparently that's too short notice. Presumably it takes a lot of planning, working out how to make me look attractive, intelligent or stupid, depending what slant the documentary is trying to take. Also, I forgot to ask if they're still going to call it "Brain Men". If they do, I'm going to decry it loudly in public and attempt to drag them through every court in the land, because that's a really rubbish title. For one thing, there's already a documentary about memory-related stuff called "Brain Man" - it's the American title of that one about Daniel Tammett that's called "The Boy With The Incredible Brain" or something equally silly in Britain. For another thing, "Brain Men" just sucks. It's okay making a reference to "Rain Man" in a documentary about a guy who goes around proclaiming that he's a savant, but it doesn't work for something that's rather further removed from the whole freaks-of-nature kind of angle. Hopefully. Unless they cut out all the bits where we demonstrate that memory techniques are something that any old idiot can do.

Still, it's probably a good thing that we're not doing photo shoots tomorrow, because I haven't got any trousers. I was basically down to my last good pair of trousers, the black ones, but the zip's gone and I need to get it fixed in order to go out and not get arrested. So I've been wearing my cords for the last couple of days, because they're almost acceptable except for a smallish hole that people can't see unless they limbo-dance underneath my spread legs. And I doubt that's likely to happen to me any time soon. But you never know what angles the Channel 5 people might want to photograph me from.

Maybe I'll get some new trousers tomorrow. They have clothes shops in London, right?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I'm watching a particularly dull football game tonight, and it seems to have drained my brain of anything fun or exciting to talk about. I have had a sort of job offer that made me giggle, but I don't really want to write about it now in case it's genuine and they're reading my blog (see, I'm paranoid about that kind of thing now). So this is just going to be one of those blog posts where I apologise for not saying anything in my blog post and leave it at that. Sorry!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Áth Cliath

In Dublin's fair city, and so on. The TV people flew me out there with Ryanair, which is the first time I've done that. It's actually a perfectly okay airline, and I'll have to fly on the cheap with them again. The plane was delayed, but only by an hour or so, and I had plenty of time to hang out with Charlie and watch Ireland be comprehensively outclassed by Argentina in the rugby, before being driven out to Blanchardstown and the Draoicht Theatre, to film The Panel.

I found out talking to the various staff of the Panel that it was originally an Australian show, and their Irish counterparts bought the format from them. Since the show consists of five people sitting around a desk and making jokes about the news, I don't see that they needed to spend money on it, but then I don't work in TV. I also got to sit around the green room with the very cool James Cromwell. Having read the website's blurb about him, I'd concluded that I'd never heard of him before, and it was only this morning that I re-read it, even the sentence I'd skipped previously, and realised I'd been hanging out with Zefram Cochrane! For crying out loud! How did I not realise that at the time?

Anyway, the show was quite groovy, and the makeup artist recognised me and thought she'd made me up before, only for it to turn out that she'd seen me on This Morning, and actually remembered me! But it wasn't one of my greatest performances. I've never done TV in front of a live audience before, unless you count Caldeirão do Huck in Brazil. But the audience there, consisting of scantily-clad young women, were there to jump up and down excitedly regardless of what was happening in front of them. I've never played to an audience who react to the people on stage before. And when I said something that was supposed to be funny (I can't remember what it was, and I'm sure it wasn't funny at all, but that's not the point) and got just a couple of scattered chuckles, it made me a bit over-conscious of their presence, and I spent the rest of the interview glancing at the crowd of shadowy watchers and trying to make them laugh at me properly.

But I did memorise a pack of cards and generally give the impression of being good at memorising a pack of cards, so what more could I want? Well, actually, I'll answer that - both on the show and talking before, nobody wanted to ask me anything not related to memory. Whereas with James Cromwell, everyone immediately started asking him about his political views and opinions on the state of the world. I'd like to be asked that kind of thing from time to time. Not so much because I want to convert people to my political viewpoint, or even because I want the world to know it - it would just be nice if people wanted to know that I've got one. So my new ambition is to do a TV show where someone asks me a non-memory question! That way I will be able to proudly say that I'm not just a bit of two-minute filler, but a Real Celebrity Guest!

(Probably not going to happen, is it?)