Life Imitating (F)Art
When I was in the dentist's waiting room today I crossed my legs and the fabric of my trousers conspired with the plastic seat covering to make a most realistic farting noise.
Everyone looked at me.
I saw two children nudge each other delightedly.
I made a great show of looking down at the plastic seat in the hope that this would make clear the origin of the sound. But people might simply have thought I was looking accusingly at my nether regions.
This situation was a running gag in The Fall and Rise Of Reginald Perrin, when Reggie went to see his boss, CJ, in his office. I thought of saying to the waiting room "I didn't get where I am today by being embarrassed by chairs that make farting noises."
But then I realised that most of them wouldn't have been born when Reggie Perrin was on television. They would simply think I was someone with explosive flatulence who tried to blame it on innocent furniture and had delusions about their status.
So I went back to reading The Guardian.
A lady opposite glared at me over her Daily Mail. She was probably thinking 'bloody Guardian readers......it must be all the muesli and lentil burgers they eat.'
When my name was called, I gingerly uncrossed my legs and stood up extremely slowly like someone with chronic arthritis, in the hope of avoiding a reprise.
The woman next to me offered me a hand. "No, it's all right........", I said, "I'm just....." but thankfully left the words "trying to avoid another fart" unsaid.
Was Ricky Gervais' Extras last night a one hour special, or did it just feel like it because I was waiting impatiently for the Catherine Tate Show?
I don't know which was more foolish: giving Extras a second chance or failing to tape Catherine Tate for repeat viewings. I've been laughing over the nanny from Newcastle sketch and foul-mouthed Nan at the doctor's surgery all day.
When the schedule was announced some people said it was unfair on Catherine Tate to make her follow Ricky Gervais. I now think it's Ricky Gervais who has been eclipsed. Serves him right for throwing his weight around and insisting that Extras went out in the summer on BBC2 instead of on BBC1 in the autumn, which is what the BBC wanted.