I’m Alan Partridge and I’m proud to be the new culture editor of ShortList magazine.
Having never read the magazine myself (don’t like public transport), I’m told it’s a chink of light, a fleeting crumb of comfort for the poor fools crammed into our nation’s buses and trains.
And that hit home with me. As a daytime radio broadcaster in East Anglia, I, too, offer hope to the hopeless, joy to the grumpy. It’s a sad fact that the housewives and jobless who form almost 70 per cent of my audience are worryingly prone to alcoholism (housewives) and suicide (jobless) – as are many of you.
If my guest-editing of this magazine can convince even one person to put down the bottle/shotgun, then I’ll have done my job.
(This is also an opportunity to promote my film.)
Partridge on Inferno
With the news that Dan Brown’s Inferno is set for a big-screen adaptation, with Tom Hanks returning as Robert Langdon, our culture editor shares his thoughts on the novel...
There aren’t many novelists whose books compel me to read passages aloud to couples I’ve only just met on holiday, but in Crete four years ago I was like a pool-side Jackanory, holding forth to Brits and Germans alike with page after page of page-turning pages.
The novelist was Dan Brown. The book, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (also a major motion picture) and, as well as being sizzling vac-lit (vacation literature, my phrase), it has basically rewritten European history and all theology ever. It really is the ‘god’s bollocks’.
Inferno, the third of Brown’s masterpieces, again follows Robert Langdon – the fictional professor of symbology that is, not the Robert Langdon who runs DPL Car Audio in Hemsby! Two very different characters, I assure you.
Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon isn’t from Orkney. Nor does he cheat on his wife. Nor does he owe me two grand.
The book’s too complicated to describe, but it’s very excellent.
Dan Brown’s Inferno is out now. The film is due in cinemas December 2015
Pints & Pistachios Pub Review...
Maid’s Head Hotel, Norwich. 20 Tombland, NR3
Sat at the bar one night, I was distracted by a nice daydream and spilled about a gulpful of beer on the bar. I’ll never forget what happened next. The barman turned round and – get this – apologised to me, before wiping up the mess and
topping up my glass. Whether he had poor spatial awareness or was just staggeringly servile, I don’t know. But I repeated the spill three or four times with the same result. When my guest arrived, we retreated to a quiet corner and laughed for ages. And that’s why this is my favourite Norfolk pub.
I, Partridge (Reviewed by me, Alan Partridge)
My memoir, I, Partridge, is my favourite ever book. I’ve had my copy clad in deerskin to match my driving gloves, and that natural touch makes the tome feel like a living, breathing piece of work, although I’m assured the deer was dead when skinned. People say, “But is it any good, Alan?” Well, the book was first printed in hardback – quite a coup for a fledgling writer – and its success was such that it was reprinted again months later as a paperback, with slightly different artwork. Soon after, I was invited to lay down an audiobook – so the book could be enjoyed even by people who hate books.
It was also digitised into an e-book. Why would the publisher go to the trouble of distributing the work in four formats if they didn’t think it was brilliant? Think about it.
To Do List - Date for your diary
St Luke’s Bring and Buy Sale
Every Saturday at St Luke’s Church & Community Centre, 61 Rigbourne Hill, NR34; free; becclesparish.org.uk
You could do worse then head to the weekly Saturday morning bring and buy sale at St Luke’s Church Hall in Beccles. It’s a magnet for people who like to buy chipped crockery, knackered board games and the shoes of dead people.
I tend to go down there whenever I’m a bit short of cash. I fill the boot with tat from my local Mencap store, then sell it for twice what I paid for it. I absolutely rinse them. You’re supposed to give 10 per cent of all your profits to the church’s Africa appeal, but I prefer to give it to my own favourite charity, the National Trust. AP
Alan's Movie Choice
What a film. When I heard Titanic had a budget of $200m, I was instantly hooked as I love expensive films and expensive items in general. Seems I wasn’t alone! With an initial worldwide gross of over $1.84bn, Titanic was the first film to reach the billion-dollar mark. A 3D version earned an additional $343.6m worldwide, pushing Titanic’s worldwide total to a sweet $2.18bn. Haven’t seen it myself but, as I say, what a film. AP
Prince Charles Cinema, 3 Aug, 12.15pm; 20th Century Fox
Health and Fitness
Push it like Partridge: Our culture editor reveals the secret to gaining a much sought after six-pack
A retired headmistress I was briefly dating said I had the BMI and muscle definition of a man five-sixths my age. I’d stood up in my underpants to show off the results of a Sizzling Summer abs workout I’d read in the Daily Mail’s Femail magazine, and while my abdomen wasn’t anything like a six-pack, I enjoyed being able to slap my belly without it making a loud clap. Standing there in the flickering light of a portable TV, letting the former educator look at my body and finish her cigarette, I pledged to remember how good it felt to be fit and strong and promised myself I would develop a workout that could keep me in good shape for ever, and which I could pass on to others.
I never got round to developing that workout. I was distracted trying to get
a towbar fitted to my car for under £150, and forgot all about the day in Celine’s bedroom. If you do want to get in shape, though, try to find some old copies of Femail magazine, because the Sizzling Summer abs workout was in there. It would have been around April or May 2011. Think it was Femail anyway. The gist of it was ‘do lots of sit-ups’.
The thing I focus on most these days is diet. I’ve read that Japanese people live longest and I know some people say you should eat Far Eastern food. But I’m not so sure. For example, order a noodle soup from Wagamamamas and you’re presented with chopsticks and a spoon – and a tactical conundrum. You see,
it’s down to you to regulate your consumption of solids and broth. Too much of the former and you’re left with a puddle of empty soup, too much of the latter and it’s a cold nest of noodles. It took so much of my concentration, I neglected to chat with my guest, Glen. In the end, I thought, “Sod this” and went and bought a Whopper.
Alan ’s Essential Sport Gear
Speedo Competition Nose Clip (left)
Who says water doesn’t burn? Swim through a chlorine-filled pool with your nostrils open and brace yourself for sinus napalm. But this sleek, aquadynamic clip clamps the nostrils firmly shut providing real peace of mind. Comes with reusable case.
Swiggies Wrist Water Bottles (middle)
The biggest advance in hands-free exercise innovation since the fanny pack. Some people think wearing a bottle makes you look stupid, but they’re wrong. It looks superb. Like Julia Bradbury, these are good-looking, lightweight and practical.
Montane Terra Pants (right)
A hardwearing trouser highly recommended by Ben Fogle and Alan Partridge. Both buy theirs from Rathbones in Keswick before heading deep into the Lake District. Ben, in order to hike. Alan, to sit in silence and think.