I’ll never look at a pomegranate in the same way again

I’m starting to get a little bit concerned. I’ve only got five episodes of series 5 of the podcast My Dad Wrote A Porno left to listen to and there’s no sign of a Book 6 yet.

Apart from the ones Ricky Gervais did with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington I wasn’t that fussed about podcasts, but I was in the middle of writing the last album so I was trying to go cold turkey on my usual car diet of non stop music and I had become disillusioned with LBC’s constant political preaching.

Then one of my sons pointed me in the direction of the writings of one Rocky Flintstone.

And it turns out I’m only one of 200 million people worldwide to have become transfixed as a horrified Jamie Morton reads from a series of racy novels his father has written under a pseudonym in his shed (because Jamie’s mum won’t let Mr Morton Sr write in the house) about Belinda Blumenthal, executive sales director of Steele’s Pots and Pans, while Jamie’s friends from university, James Cooper and Radio 1’s Alice Levine pull it apart sentence by excruciating sentence.

Since its inception five years ago, the series has become a phenomenon. High profile Belinkers include Michael Sheen, Dame Emma Thompson, Lin Manuel Miranda, Josh Groban, Hayley Atwell, Daisy Ridley, Stephen Mangan, George Ezra, Joe Lycett and Nicholas Hoult, while the trio have toured the world with a stage show in which a “lost chapter” is read for an enthusiastic live audience.

A HBO special was also filmed of a show at London’s Roundhouse, which was broadcast last year.

A tour taking in Australia and the US planned for this year fell foul of the coronavirus pandemic.

The reason for its popularity is that it’s tears run down your legs hilarious, as much for the reactions of the hosts and celebrity guests as the dubious writing style which reveals an at best sketchy knowledge of the female anatomy and florid similes such as “her nipples were like rivets from the famous Titanic.”

It’s certainly not for prudes, but the text, while unashamedly adult, is completely devoid of eroticism, which lets the comedy run riot.

So if you’ve been living in a monastery for the past five years, give it a go.

Big Jack was one of a kind

Jack Charlton

AS a player during a truly golden age of football, Jack Charlton was overshadowed by younger brother Bobby, one of the most iconic figures the game has ever seen.

But the lanky centre half was an intrinsic part of the 1996 World Cup winning team (notwithstanding that he was 30 by then and it was his foul that led to the last minute normal time equaliser by West Germany’s Wolfgang Weber) and played 773 times for Leeds United at a time when Don Revie moulded them into a team that was feared and hated in equal measure.

Charlton’s appearance on the opposition goal line – right in front of the goalkeeper – as Eddie Gray prepared to take a corner would strike terror into defenders and often resulted in a goal simply because he towered over everyone else.

But it was as a manager that he surpassed “our kid”, his direct manner making him as media-friendly as Brian Cough, Derek Dougan or Malcolm Alison.

When taking over at Middlesbrough, he refused to be interviewed for the job – his first in management – instead simply handing them a list of demands which included no interference in team matters. The board went for it and no one regretted their decision.

When he took over as manager of the Republic of Ireland side, he brought the likes of John Aldridge, Mick McCarthy, Gerry Armstrong and Ray Houghton to the international stage and even took the team to the quarter finals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

He was loved by his players, even though most times he would refer to them as “the lad on the right” or “the lad at the back”.

When the team were received at The Vatican, The Pope, himself a former goalkeeper, referred to Jack as “The boss”.

But he would swap it all for a day alone on the river with his fishing rod.

They don’t make them like Big Jack anymore.

Stupid TV quiz answer of the week

The Chase

Q: Asteroid 4238 Audrey is named after which film star?

A Kim Basinger?

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Edward Case

Columnist