Although I am a fan of the advances that mobile technology has brought to the way that we all interact with one another — how we connect with our networks — I do sometimes think that these advances in virtual socialising have come at the expense of certain real skills. The sort that we need in order to survive in the real world. Like — just off the top of my head — walking. That’s just one example: Walking. Most of us use that one every day don’t we? I’d say that — as a species — things would be pretty different if we’d never considered walking to be an important skill to evolve. Worms never bothered, and look at them. They eat soil*.
Around eighteen months ago, my son had discovered that he could escape from his cot. We’d occasionally hear a thud followed by footsteps followed by a door opening followed by ‘Hello.’ On one particular occasion I was lying awake in the early hours of the morning, and I heard what I can only assume was his battle cry (he’d been watching Cars a lot), ‘MCQUEEN!’, followed by the sound of him running across his room and yanking the door open.
It went on for a while, and I used to joke that I would like to hide a camera in his room so I could see how he does it — the McQueen incident had left me with visions of him leaping over the side of the cot like a character from The Beano springing over a fence.
I’ve built up something of a reputation for making a total arse of myself when on trains. There’s something about being on a train that slows my brain down just enough that it’s never quite able to send messages to the rest of me in time to prevent something moronic happening.
For much of the last seven years, I’ve commuted into London on a daily basis on the same train at the same time. I tend to sit in the same seat and usually find myself surrounded by the same people. One man has taken a seat opposite mine most days during this time, meaning that most days over the last seven years I’ve found myself looking at his face. His face that comes with a goatee.
Except on the day that it didn’t. A day that is now remembered as “The Day I Said, ‘Oh you shaved off your little beard,’ To A Complete Stranger And He Said NOTHING BACK TO ME.”
Actually — as it turns out — no it isn’t money because the absolute arses at the magazine in question didn’t ever bother to pay me (despite running with the interview). I was going through some old bits the other day and found the full transcript of the conversation I had with Tim (the previously-published interview was much shorter) and so I thought it might be nice to put the whole thing here. Sadly, I didn’t record the preamble to this chat where (1) I told Tim he had beautiful eyes (he really does) and (2) he told me the ideal temperature of coffee. It was truly fascinating stuff and would almost certainly have won me an award. I’m just sorry that I didn’t catch it. Anyway…
Most people that know me are aware that I’m in the process of writing a book. I’ve completed the first couple of drafts and it’s currently with beta readers who will tell me all of the many, many places where I’ve gone wrong.
I’ve been thinking of it as my debut book, but I recently realised that there is actually already a book on my shelf bearing the text ‘by Matthew Waldram’. Truth be told, I had completely forgotten about it until recently and now I present it to you in all its finely illustrated glory.
For as long as I can remember I’ve only actually wanted to do two things with my life — be a writer or be a stand-up comedian.
I gave up on the latter some time ago. It was the realisation that I’m not very good at telling jokes that convinced me to give up on that particular ambition. I gather an inability to tell jokes is something of a disadvantage if you want to be a stand-up comedian. ‘You can’t be a stand-up comedian if you can’t tell jokes, Matt. You can’t be a stand-up comedian if you’re not funny.’
I’m also not funny.
Some years ago, I interviewed Larry Kenney. You probably don’t know that name, but if you’re of a certain age — or have seen an advert for Skittles within the last decade — you’d definitely know the voice. Larry was, for many years, the voice of Lion-O in the classic Kids’ television series Thundercats.
For a long time he was also the voice of my answerphone greeting…