Monday 11 February 2013

Top of The Popes

You can say what you want about The Pope resigning but I am all for anything that showcases verbs like convoke.

Hearing about a Pope resigning is just something you don’t expect. The last Pope to resign was over 25 years ago, or something, when Pope Jeremy Beadle III resigned to follow a path in prank-based TV shows. If Pope Benedictus’ statement moved many to tears today it can only bring back memories of Beadle’s emotional resignation speech where he admitted  ‘ I  have thought about it for ages but had decided to accept LWT’s offer to produce six episodes of Beadles About – with a view to another six episodes if viewing figures are favourable. I have confessed my desires to God and he said I should follow my heart and trick people into thinking that their car has been crushed by a skip and dress up as a policeman. And disguise myself with a fake beard on top of my existing beard.’

Benedictus offered no signs that there was any animosity behind his decision to leave the papacity. However, inevitably, there are already internet rumours that there is more to this than him just being really old and having sore legs. “Him and God have been in other’s pockets for eight years without a break and it’s only natural that the friendship would suffer. This professional divorce may very well save the friendship that both parties value highly,” speculated an unnamed source.

The problem with Popes is they always need to be old to get the respect of all the other old men in power. And old people are fundamentally weak and liable to break easily – like a rusty stepladder. Perhaps the Catholic Church should think about this when appointing their new manager – a post often called the impossible job.

My opinion, for what it is worth, is that they should go a bit left-field and appoint a young Rabbi. It would show great vision – like when Glasgow Rangers signed Maurice Johnstone. It would also mean people would have to stop using the phrase ‘is the Pope a catholic?’ for the time between him getting sworn in and being assassinated by Mel Gibson.

Puleston The Other One

I know they say you should never judge a vicar by standing next to them for a few seconds in a queue to a conversation between a novellist and a screenwriter at an arthouse cinema. And normally I live my life by this maxim.

But as the actor Ian Puleston-Davies walked away from the vicar stood next to me I couldn’t help but think ‘I bet you did bloody meet him.’

The vicar had been stood at the back of the queue at Manchester’s Cornerhouse cinema. I usurped him as the back of the queue – before almost immediately having my crown taken by three girls. Them, as they say, are the breaks. My disappointment was side-stepped by my excitement – charging to the front of my brain, shouting “it’s Ian Puleston-Davies, Phil, it’s only bloody Ian Puleston-Davies!”

You know Ian Puleston-Davies: Owen from Coronation Street. He was also in Hollyoaks (when it was watchable) as well as being in something at The Royal Exchange about bingo! I watched a couple of years ago. As long as you have the same frame of reference as me you know exactly who I am talking about.

IPD walked towards me and said hello to the vicar. The vicar said he was sorry but he didn’t remember meeting him before. IPD said they had definitely met, before saying it was nice to see him and carrying on. The vicar just looked a bit confused.

“That’s a bit different to what you expect – someone from the television letting on to someone who doesn’t know who they are,” I said to the rev (I didn’t put too much emphasis on they when I said it but I feel it deserves italicising here).

“Do you know who he is,then?” he asked me.

“He’s in Coronation Street.”

Then he just said something non-specific about how he would have no idea who someone in Coronation Street was. Which seemed a bit dismissive. It’s not Ian Puleston-Davies’ fault he is in Coronation Street – well it is to some degree – and he didn’t need this vicar to be in a TV show to remember him…I mean no-one is saying you have to be in ITV’s flagship serial drama for someone to remember you.

Which is why I thought maybe the vicar was a bit…which is why I thought Ian Puleston-Davies had remembered the vicar and it was the vicar who was the one in the wrong.

Then I went into the cinema where the Q&A was – I was there for a Q&A with the screenwriter Abi Morgan (As) and Jeanette Winterson (Qs). It was a sell out. No spares left. All tickets gone. No room at the Inn. And indeed there didn’t seem to a spare seat in the house – other than the two next to me. The force of my personality is such that even complete strangers don’t want to sit near me.

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