I had an interesting, if slightly varied, day yesterday.
It started with lunch at the Houses of Parliament and ended with a naked radio chat show near London Bridge.
I had lunch at the Palace of Westminster with Fred Finn (Guinness Record holder as the world’s most-travelled person and blogger for Ukraine International Airlines), Grenville Burn (personal assistant to former Labour Chief Whip Lord Foster of Bishop Auckland) and a barrister who had better remain nameless lest it sound like advertising.
Grenville Burn is a former colonel in the Salvation Army, comes from a family of Salvation Army officers and the only person I have ever met whose opening gambit to me over lunch was “Are you a Christian?” and, when I said, “No,” responded, “Why?”
He is also an intriguingly enterprising man who is involved in the Executives Association of Great Britain and the Mikado Experience which, he tells me, was involved in creating over £70 million of new business last year. He ‘teaches’ Networking - at universities, to directors, for companies. He has some fascinating psychological and schmoozing insights in how to get on in business, something he told me he partially learned by being a Christian preacher… and he is involved in an organisation called BestForBusiness which, he tells me, is already bigger than the Institute of Directors. He is a sophisticated and persuasive man who – perhaps fortunately for me – has not yet started selling double-glazing.
More interesting to me than all that, though, was that he frustratingly told me a couple of extraordinary and totally unpublishable true stories plucked, as they say, from tabloid headlines… and he is a skilled close-up magician – rope tricks, dice, you name it – as well as being impressively fast on the creation of magic squares from any numbers. In years past, he might have been burnt at the stake as the possessor of unearthly powers.
There is no easy way to link from Christianity and magic tricks performed in the environs of the Houses of Parliament to exposed male genitalia in a radio studio near London Bridge, so I will not even attempt it.
I wrote a blog last week titled How I talked myself out of comedian Lewis Schaffer’s naked radio show.
It seems I was over-optimistic.
Last night, after a meal with comedian Martin Soan, I ended up at Resonance FM for their lengthily-titled weekly radio show The Voice of Americans with Lewis Schaffer of Nunhead - a man who could and should never be confused with Lord Foster of Bishop Auckland.
When we arrived at the studio, Lewis Schaffer told Martin: “You can’t take your clothes off. They won’t allow it. Sorry. Apparently OfCom rules say you can’t do naked radio.”
“Well, I’m going to take off my clothes anyway,” replied Martin, “because that’s what I’m doing here.”
“That’s the only reason I’ve come!” piped up my eternally-un-named female friend.
“Do I look good?” asked Lewis Schaffer, stroking his black suit.
“Fuck it,” said Martin. “Being naked is really what it’s all about, isn’t it?. I’m taking my clothes off.”
“Well I’ll take my clothes off too,” said Lewis Schaffer.
“Keep your socks on,” advised Martin, taking his clothes off. “You are never naked with your socks on, man. You are never naked with your socks on.”
Martin had had a few drinks with us before arriving at the studio.
“I don’t want to take my clothes off in front of the young women,” said Lewis Schaffer. “I’ll take my shirt off.”
“I’ve got no microphone,” said Martin.
“I’m so fat. I’m so fat,” said Lewis Schaffer, taking his shirt off. “Am I too fat? I’m too fat. Who can love a man with a… Let’s see your penis…”
“You can see my penis any time you want,” said Martin.
“It’s a lovely-sized penis,” said Lewis Schaffer with warmth in his voice.
“I think I can retain some kind of calm and I will not freak out for this announcement,” said the Resonance FM girl who had to introduce the show on air. “I will not freak out for this announcement.”
“Have I got a microphone?” asked Martin.
“Would I look good naked?” asked Lewis Schaffer. “Am I too fat? Yes I am. Do you understand what I am saying? I am too fat.”
“It’s pointless being naked if I haven’t got a microphone,” said Martin.
“No-one will like me naked,” said Lewis Schaffer. “I dress up nicely. I wear a dark suit. That’s what I wear. A dark suit. Do I look good for my age?” He started to put his shirt back on. He looked at Martin. “He’s got a lovely-sized penis. Me? I’ve gained a bit of waistline; it’s not a sexy look.”
“You’ve got one minute,” said the Resonance FM girl.
“This is just a normal Monday night for me,” said Martin. “Being naked.”
“Take a picture of his penis,” Lewis Schaffer told me.
“You’re listening,” said the Resonance FM girl, “to Resonance 104.4 FM. That was Luscombe’s Choice. Coming up next, Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer of Nunhead.”
Then the opening music - God Bless America - swelled up, the show started, I coughed a bit and Martin stayed naked and got passionate about funding cuts for the elderly in Nunead. It will probably turn up as a podcast at some point. What can I say?