As I walk to the train station, I send the following tweet: “Just off to an incredibly inconvenient location to judge a cress-growing competition.”
I’ve had to spend the day looking at 102 photographs of generally quite poor cress. I’ve had to come up with my top 10 favourite photographs of cress. I’m not sure I’ve ever really looked at cress before.
A light rain joins the brisk wind and I pull my collar tight around me. It’ll take me an hour to get to the cress place.
I’ll have to change trains. I’m only doing it because the man who helped deliver my baby asked me to.
Responses to the tweet meander in, but I stop in my tracks and roll my eyes as I read one in particular.
“I’m doing it from home,” it reads. “You should get a computer.”
My heart sinks. Rats! It’s Bainbridge! My old enemy! “Well look what the cat dragged in,” I say, shaking my head, as the rain starts to pepper my glasses. “Gary Bainbridge.”
Gary Bainbridge is a humorous columnist on a paper in the north-west. All he does is write about little things that happen to him. People actually pay him for it. It’s an absolute joke.
Look again at what he said and you’ll get the measure of the man.
“I’m doing it from home,” he begins, arrogantly dropping into the conversation that he, too, is judging this cress-growing competition, but from the comfort of his perfectly dry desk or sofa, probably with a G&T and a small bowl of pecans, while I am forced to walk through the rain then travel nine miles by train on a travelcard that will never be reimbursed.
Then: “You should get a computer.” Oh, I should get a computer, should I? He is pushing my buttons by implying I have no buttons to push. I’ve never even met the man and this is the kind of thing he says to me. It’s unbelievable.
“Oh, why have they asked Bainbridge to judge this too?” I think. “Why not Richard Littlejohn? Or that bloke who writes the showbiz column in that free paper that’s just stuff like, ‘Katy Perry says she likes films’?”
And before I know it, he’s written to me again. He just can’t leave it alone. What’s the matter with him? It’s like some kind of illness.
“I file my column tomorrow,” he says, probably smirking in that way he probably does. “Cress will be DEAD as a subject before you pick up a pen.”
Yeah? Well, joke’s on you, grandad.
I don’t use a pen. I use a word processor. But curses, he’s right. By the time I’m on my way home, he’ll have told the whole damn world about cress. Well. Liverpool.
But the fact remains: in a matter of hours, Bainbridge will be right back out there, pounding the streets, working his contacts, handing damp fivers to cab drivers and saying “maybe this will refresh your memory…” as he starts the hunt for a fresh new story.
“Gary Bainbridge,” I sigh. “Always one step ahead.” And with that, I am suddenly filled with a grim determination. This joker’s not going to beat me. Cress isn’t his. Cress is one of the world’s fastest-growing edible herbs. Cress belongs to everybody!
Now it’s my turn to smirk. So cress as a subject is dead, is it? Well…
“Prepare thyself for the Cressurrection!” I reply, tapping out the words with great speed, but checking the spelling of ‘resurrection’ two or three times just to make sure.
As I step off the slow, packed train an hour and four minutes later I am still laughing about my brilliant comeback. I bet he smashed his computer up when he read it. He didn’t even have the balls to ‘favourite’ it. That tells me all I need to know about this clown. Finally, I make it to the judges’ meeting place.
At a small table in the corner sit an anaesthetist, a lawyer, a showbusiness agent and a Welsh musician. Two people are having red wine, one’s having a Coke and the other’s ordered a pot of tea. On a small laptop are 102 pictures of cress. Inwardly, I laugh. Bainbridge is missing out on quite the evening. More fool him for not making the two-and-a-half hour train journey from Liverpool then 16 stops on the Tube.
Les Dennis has entered some cress. Hollywood actor Minnie Driver has entered some cress, too. I get out the copious cress-based notes I made that afternoon. “So Gary Bainbridge didn’t make it, then…” I say, making
a mock-sad face to hide a sneer, hoping to ignite a revolution.
“No,” someone says, in a way that makes me think the revolution isn’t coming. “But we may as well start with him. Let’s get Gary’s votes…” And it is then that I realise there is a way I could make it so that Gary Bainbridge never works with cress again…
To be continued…
Revealed: the name of the big vehicles in a bus station
Lee Gough was on a bus recently and was heading towards the bus station.
But what the hell happens at a bus station?! What awaits? Well, luckily, the local council has erected signs telling you exactly what to expect. Meanwhile the train station just gets a logo.
A slice of heaven can turn sour
I was away in the US recently, and was only too pleased to order the very spiciest medium-sized pizza I could find. I found it very hard indeed to explain this receipt to my wife when she found it, though.