Yes, as several of my readers have noticed, the Daily Mail finally picked up on the man versus monkey memory marvel and ran an article about it today. Channel 5 were supposed to be calling me to get a couple of soundbites to give to them, but either they didn't bother in the end or they didn't manage to catch up with me, so they just used snippets from next Tuesday's documentary. And the Sun ran a similar story by copying what the Mail had written, changing it slightly and passing it off as an original scoop. This is exactly the same thing that they did with an article about me and the world championships last year - I suspect that the Sun no longer employs any actual journalists.
Anyway, this has in turn piqued the interest of Richard and Judy, one of whose minions phoned me this afternoon to say they're thinking of previewing the documentary on next Tuesday's show, and might want me to come on and talk about it. This is interesting, because years ago, when I won the world memory championship, Richard and Judy made noises about wanting to talk to me and then eventually decided against it (possibly bumping me in favour of Aubrey, who was on the show around that time). If they do decide to put me on the show this time round, it will clearly show that losing a rigged contest of short-term memory against a chimpanzee is a much more impressive feat than winning a gruelling three-day memory competition against the rest of the world.
The funny thing is that I find myself making excuses about how I could have done as well as or better than Ayumu in the memory test if I hadn't been doing it for the first time in my life, and if we hadn't been using a flawed program where my hand obscured the numbers because the start button was in the middle of the screen, but when I'm thinking or saying all this, I completely forget that the opponent I'm talking about isn't even human. It's like, say, Daniel Tammet performing some memory feat and claiming that makes him the best in the world - my instinctive reaction is to acknowledge that Ayumu has done something impressive, but assert that I could do the same thing with a bit of work. I'm seeing him as a rival rather than an educated ape, and that really is pretty darn cool.
I look forward to the day when the world memory championship is contested by representatives of multiple species.