Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Friday, 28 April 2017
Full of Eastern Promise
Weave's Bounty Bar brought back memories of the Fry's Turkish Delight adverts. You know, the one where a sultry Western woman is lying in a richly carpeted tent waiting to be ravished by an inhumanly handsome young man in pantomime pantaloons, silk turban and split-to-the-navel waistcoat - about as far from a real Turk as you can get. (Can you imagine selling chocolate to Westerners today using the above image?!)
The young man moves close to the woman until he is about an inch from her face, then wordlessly pulls out.... a bar of Fry's Turkish Delight.
I used to know one of the Turkish Delight princes. He was almost as pretty as his wife, who was also a model. She had been on the cover of Vogue, but all he had as a claim to fame was a Fry's Turkish delight advert. I briefly worked with him in the Marley Tiles factory in Cambridge when he was supposed to be resting.
John mentioned the short period of fame he had when his arse starred in a documentary about an injured fighter pilot. I remembered my little brush with celebrity when I was featured in a TV travel program which visited Bath as a destination. I don't think my arse ever got a look-in, but I never actually saw the broadcast - it was made during my long bout of abstinence from TV.
The minor celebrity presenter arrived at my workshop with her producer and a cameraman, then made a quick plan of what would happen when they switched on the camera. Someone shoved a furry ice-lolly under my nose and we were off.
The plan was to start by asking me what sort of people used my services, and I replied 'extremely wealthy ones'. I didn't want any old tourist to turn up thinking they could buy me for the price of a postcard.
The next step was to ask me what I was currently working on, and the camera would point to a bit of stone on the bench. She would then ask if she could have a go with the violent and noisy air-hammer and chisel lying close to hand, and the arrangement was that she would hack harmlessly away at a bit of scrap stone I had put there for the purpose. I did not want her to do any damage on the real job, which was right next to it.
When the camera started rolling we went through this rehearsed routine, but at the last minute she turned the chisel on to the valuable bit of real work and began doing irreparable damage to it by indiscriminately chipping bits of it away.
I was incensed at her lying to me and going against the agreement, so I started shouting at her above the din of the hammer and trying to snatch it away from her talentless, untrained hands. I don't know what the finished film looked like, but it would have been entertaining and noisy, which is all she cared about.
When the program eventually aired, I got phone calls from friends and relatives saying they had seen me, and for the next few weeks all the girls in Waitrose gave me coy little smiles of recognition.
I felt the full weight of responsibility that fame brings with it, but it didn't last long.