“Double, double toil and trouble”
By Chris Ashley, writer and broadcaster Once upon a time I was a Walker. No! not a Texas ranger (that was Chuck Norris '93-'01) - an escort for unattached ladies not looking for a relationship, but need to be seen at social soirées on a chaps arm. Those recently divorced – widowed – a philandering husband – or maybe of a closeted Sapphic persuasion.
For the gig, ideally you need to be Clooney handsome, which obviously I'm not, and Biggins gay (ditto) although in a certain light, apparently I do look a touch lavender. My services were scarcely required, in fact, my one and only tryst was with Jane Rossington, from the original Crossroads – and boy, oh boy, for 24 years didn't she suffer? Married a bigamist – then a druggie then an alkie – had a nipper with her stepbrother (where's Jeremy Kyle when you need him – there's a sentence I'd never thought I'd type) but she didn't appear to dally with Benny, unless you know any different.
Talking of which, I saw Paul Henry, who played Benny, on a quiz show the other week it was 'Pointless Celebrities' - an apt description of the show. I suppose if you have fruitless time on your hands an argument could be made if the so called 'Celebs' were recognisable today, but you find yourself thinking, 'My God, he/she's still alive, or who?' I don't know where Paul/Benny takes his hols, but it's not here in our neck of the woods. He made David Dickinson look like Casper the friendly ghost, if he stood in front of our garden shed he'd disappear.
Look, it's only right to point out why an attractive intelligent woman like Jane would need a chaperone. We were both involved in a worthy, but a deadly dull 'do'hence it was a covenant of convenience whereby neither of our respective partners would have to unwillingly schlep sullenly along wishing they were several postcodes away.
Some chaps carry themselves with a certain suave ' Je ne sais quoi' which is French for ' Am I not a smug git? I don't possess the necessary vibe, vividly demonstrated at a radio awards shindig in London attended by such luminaries as Rod and Penny Stewart - the paparazzi were going bonkers.
“Rod give us a wave Penny give us a flash.”
As I traipsed in, one of the 'clicking clodhoppers' bellowed, “Relax, it's nobody.” Therefore, as a nonentity, being asked to sign a scrap of paper by a total stranger was extremely weird. “Who do you think I am?” I asked. “Come on Dave, don't be standoffish.” Dave! Dave? It felt like a conversation between Rodders and Trigger. “Look chum, you're confusing me with someone else, my name is Crispin Ashley” “Oh! Gone all hoity toity après ski have we Dave? Eddie Waring wouldn't be this poncey.” Then it dawned, he mistook me for David Vine from 'It's A Knockout/Ski Sunday etc' – morbidly, this happened three months after he died - didn't realise I looked that knackered.
Delusionally, years back I thought I had more than a passing resemblance to Robert Mitchum because we both had a lazy eye, although with the Bobster it was known as sexy bedroom eyes, with me it was just plain boss eyed. Unaware I looked like Marty Feldman's love child; it was down to my first girlfriend as a 12 year old to gently point out the eyeball anomaly. “It seems like one eye's looking at the mantelpiece, while the others looking up the chimney.”
Thank you Susan for graphically painting pictures with words thus physiologically scarring me for life. Mind you, she finished up marrying my best mate Barry which didn't end well as this phone call he answered revealed. “Hello? Oh hello Mother. Well you know, soso. Yes, Susan is playing up again. Yes, Mother you did tell me Susan was not a nice person, in fact a harridan. I know Mother, you told me not to marry Susan at any cost unless I wanted to spend the rest of my life with a screeching fishwife. What? You want to have a word with the she-devil? Just a moment – Susan, your Mother's on the phone.” Any marital mischief from you always welcome; email@example.com SPONSORED BY www.rightmoveinsurance.com LA MARINA-QUESADA-LA ZENIA FOR ALL YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS. Now open our new large La Marina office next to the Post Office just down from The Chippy.