I am determined to wage war against a certain type of person, who in recent times has become even more vocal and commonplace than ever before. Who do I speak of you may ask? Well, I would categorise them, to use a modern term, as those amongst us who are determined to share - way-too-much personal information. Have these folk no shame? I don’t talk of illegal stuff, more’s the pity - just small intimate details that have me cringing with embarrassment. For instance, recently in a national newspaper - columnist and radio presenter Vanessa Feltz declared that not only did she never envisage retirement, but apparently she was still as keen as mustard to have sex with her much younger partner as much as possible. I confess, I had to read that bit about sex a couple of times, because it could have been a misprint or something and since then I have hidden away that edition of the paper so as not to attract prying eyes. You can’t be too careful can you? Anyway, nobody nowadays seems to want to draw a discreet veil over any private activity they might be indulging in. From dopey pop starlets charting their best and worst lovers. By-the-way, good luck with explaining that away to your kids when they eventually come along! Then there are those ludicrous dieting tips from unhinged celebrities who would have us all eat nothing but fresh placenta and tofu until they think of something even more stupid.
Increasingly, I am finding myself resenting almost anyone lumbering me with either their views on life, love and the universe - or the angst that they are suffering from doing something extremely naff in full view of the Daily Mail. Indeed, no Sunday interview in a broadsheet paper is complete nowadays without a weepy confession about something or another. But why this sudden fashion for slightly needy self-flagellation? Perhaps that wasn’t quite the term I was groping for - but onward and upwards! Anyway, I’m sure you know what I mean and equally I hope that you share my desire for a little bit of discretion on occasions. Show-business people are by definition attention-seekers, so whenever they appear in print or on a television interview sofa somewhere they just can’t help themselves can they? Dear Lord, you name it and they will confess to anything as long as they get themselves mentioned on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, by that lovely man Piers Morgan. Do you know, I long for the day when a politician doesn’t try to insinuate himself into the public’s affections by admitting to something trivial to gain favour with us, when we are all pretty sure that he is a total and complete b****** most of the time.
Do you know I have always had a sneaking admiration for the old fashioned value that says - “Never complain, never explain.” But alas, that adage has long since lost favour in the welter of choreographed blubbing and hand-wringing that accompanies almost any media interview nowadays. I long for the day when anyone - a prince of the crown - a politician - an actor - a rock star - anyone, answers a seemingly impertinent question along the following lines “Mind your own business.” It won’t happen of course, because these interviews are carefully stage-managed with interviewer and interviewee and their agents deciding what will be said way in advance of the interview. It gives an impression of immediacy and vulnerability but nothing could be further from the truth. As someone who for almost all of his adult years has been a victim of a low embarrassment threshold, I quite like it when I don’t have to hear or bear witness to anything - you know, a bit shocking.
So if you have something even mildly disagreeable to confess to, please leave me out will you? This is because I will refuse to be either shocked or non-plussed by your revelation as I know that you have been practicing diligently for over a fortnight. I think the expression my old mum would use went something like this - “Least said, the soonest mended,” which might well be my watchword in the future when someone hove’s-into-view determined on telling me something unpleasant about themselves. “Too much information,” can also be about self-delusion particularly when a certain type of man is involved. It is often said that there is nothing more tedious in life than hearing about someone else’s sex life; particularly if the person telling you about it is quite obviously lying. Where do you stand on lying? There are not many people who will rebuff a sexual braggart with the words “Neither did I” - but it is worth waiting for I assure you. More difficult to fathom, is the person who goes ‘the other way’ as it were and competes for your sympathy, rather like modern film stars and the like who get paid squillions for pretending to be somebody else for a while, whilst hinting that his job is akin to that of a brain surgeon. I find the best way to deal with these negative people is to agree with them. “I’m so hopeless at my job Frank,” - yes I heard that as well, time to move on perhaps. And while I’m at it what’s all this business about - “A friend in need, is a friend indeed,” no they’re not, not if they make a habit of it anyway. So there we are then, unless you are a celebrity, and even then it isn’t guaranteed, nobody really wants to know the real and unvarnished truth about you and whatever you’ve been up to - apart from your partner, wife, husband, or significant other and even then maybe not.