“I am a desperate man,” I told comedian Matt Roper, who has been living in my spare room for the last few weeks (with my knowledge).
“I need a blog. You said you have a sore back. What has happened to it?”
“I dunno,” Matt said. “It’s just the way I’ve been sleeping.”
“Or is it the fact you’ve got the weight of the world’s troubles on your shoulders?” I suggested.
“I’m glad you said that,” replied Matt, “because Lewis Schaffer needs to realise he’s not carrying them all on his own.”
“We’ve barely seen each other since you’ve been here,” I said. “Where have you been these last few weeks?”
“John,” said Matt. “This is not an interesting blog. Let’s get Wilfredo out.”
On stage, Matt plays the part of Hispanic singer Wilfredo.
“Nah,” I said.
Matt had been trying to persuade me I should interview him for this blog in character as Wilfredo in my back garden.
“My blog’s about real people,” I had told him. “It would be like Chortle (the comedy industry website) interviewing Alan Partridge instead of Steve Coogan.”
“Does Lewis Schaffer work at Greggs The Baker?” Matt asked me.
“Yes,” I said.
“Does he?” asked Matt. “What does he do there?”
“Of course he doesn’t work in Greggs The Baker,” I said. “Why on earth would he?”
“His Wikipedia entry said he did last time I looked.”
We looked at Lewis Schaffer’s Wikipedia entry.
It had been changed.
“Don’t mention Greggs The Baker in your blog,” said Matt. “Lewis Schaffer will be upset by that.”
“No he won’t,” I said. “He probably wrote it.”
“I’m going to go out for a ciggie,” said Matt.
“Is there’s a picture in it?” I asked.
“John, this isn’t interesting,” said Matt. “We could invent a fake person specifically for your blog,”
“Lewis Schaffer is enough,” I said. “I’ll take a picture of you.”
“Get your garlic grotto in the background,” said Matt.
“Dalek grotto,” said Matt, correcting either me or himself.
I have a Dalek grotto in my back garden.
“How about publicising Wilfredo’s Christmas single?” asked Matt.
“Nah,” I said.
It started to drizzle rain.
“John, I can’t live in this country,” said Matt.
“It’s just so painful. Everything’s expensive. The people are miserable. Everyone’s got this glass-half-empty approach to life.”
“But you’re from the North of England!” I laughed.
“Not as far north as you,” said Matt.
“Scotland isn’t the North of England,” I said.
“Maybe I should move back up North,” mused Matt.
“But,” I pointed out, “if you go too far north, you hit Glasgow, which is never a good idea. Talk about misery.”
“I’ve never been to Glasgow,” said Matt.
“Misery and violence,” I said. “It’s a heady mix. Have you really never been to Glasgow?”
“I was once in a cafe called Leopold’s in Bombay,” replied Matt.
“It’s not the same,” I said.
“I used to spend a lot of winters out there,” said Matt.
“India. I used to sing in clubs in the summer down in Devon. There was good money in it.”
“What sort of stuff?”
“Swing and jazz, all sorts of stuff.”
“Why have you never been to Glasgow?” I asked.
“I did go,” said Matt, “to see Marianne Faithfull in London last Friday night.”
“Oh yes,” I said, “you told me you thought she should be a comedian.”
“She was very very funny,” said Matt. “She had a stick because she had shattered her hip bone. So she sits in a chair on stage with this stick, yelling at all the techies because the lights are too bright. Then she counts – One – Two – Three – and unseats herself grandly from this chair and all the audience applaud and she shouts Imagine! Getting a round of applause just for standing up! I feel like Tommy Cooper! and all the audience applauded.
“I love Tommy Cooper! she says. I AM Tommy Cooper! My kinda guy!”
“So there’s a scoop for your blog,” said Matt. “Marianne Faithfull is a huge Tommy Cooper fan.”
I left Matt outside, smoking in the drizzle.
Inside, there was a message on my computer from someone I know who had better remain nameless.
“I am listening to Lewis Schaffer attempting to interview Stewart Lee on Nunhead American Radio,” it said. “Worth a listen. Total chaos.”
Sometimes I think: Should I continue to write this blog? Does anyone really believe Lewis Schaffer exists?