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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
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Friday, 26 December 2014

He didn't take long, thank goodness

To the opening of more bottles of champagne than I can recall we played Masks on Christmas Day. For once I was properly prepared for a form of competition, since Masks turned out be a condensed version of my professional life - the posing of logical sets of questions.

The victim holds up a card, unable to identify what's on the other side. The aim is to identify who or what the image is with the minimum number of questions. Only yes/no answers are given.

In my case the smirking Welsh windbag, Huw Edwards, who reads the BBC's News At Ten on telly. Quite soon the atmosphere of conspiracy became apparent from those supplying the answers and I got Fat Huw in fairly quick time.

But I can't say I'm proud.


  1. I hope you recorded the sequence that led to your triumph. Now you should transcribe it so we can enjoy what must surely be the demolition of Huw. I have no idea who he is, but thanks to you he lives in my consciousness.

  2. Is Hew short for something? Is it pronounced "who"?

  3. Stella: I appear to be the only person in the UK who dislikes Huw Edwards with such a slow burning intensity. Most find him too anonymous to bother about. He is the senior news-reader on BBC Television News and has a special talent for uttering appalling events in exactly the same unperturbable (I might also say uninterested) voice as he utters his final wind-up statement "Don't forget there's a first look at the newspapers on twenty-four-hour news."

    As he ages my irritation in him grows, and VR's irritation at my irritation grows even faster. I am forbidden to groan as he appears.

    I have devoted a whole post as to why this should be without entirely satisfying myself I've got to the heart of the matter. Perhaps a hypothetical nightmare is the best method:

    I die firmly believing I lack a jot of charisma or of the slightest intellectual interest to anyone else on the planet. And yet, secretly, I hope against hope this isn't the case. Huw Edwards announces my death and it is my dying recognition that my life has been even worse than I imagined, that I am no more than ashes in the ether. That I have got the obituarist I deserve.

    MikeM: Huw Edwards is Welsh and that's how the Welsh spell Hugh. It's pronounced exactly the same. His Welsh accent has been suppressed but it's still there, however this isn't the reason I dislike him. It is the only positive quality he has. The other is that he's tubby but employs a good tailor.

  4. I had two brothers-in-law, and English one called Hugh and a Welsh one called Huw, for both of whom I harboured mixed feelings - one is no more, one still lives though my sister he espoused does not, I suppose he is still a brother-in-law. Anyway, once a real Welsh person appeared (b-i-l only came from Chepstow and had attempted to shake the dust of it from his feet) and pronounced Huw in the correct Brithonic fashion, which was subtly but utterly different, and completely impossible to imitate.

    In a previous life I used to play that game with Rizla papers stuck to the forehead, which gives a clue to the state in which it is best enjoyed (or possibly can only really be justified). Printing a picture takes it to a new level, but is it worth the outlay of ink and paper when you get the answer so quickly? You could do it with fruit and vegetables, perhaps: 'Am I purple? Do I form the central ingredient to baba ganoush?'

    Enjoy the continuing festivities!

  5. Lucy: Normally I respond to comments pretty quickly but this one has taken two days. The problem was its wandering perfection. I felt that anything I added would convert it from nomad to apartment-dweller. Luckily there are questions I can get a grip on.

    To hell with financial outlay. Daniel, Ysabelle's partner, is keen to show he can fit into our rackety partying The permanent pix he mounted on cardboard gave substance to what would have been an entirely ephemeral occasion, making every question memorable. Bravo, Daniel.

    My second character was Murray Walker. Would you have got him?

    Needless to say I didn't know what baba ganoush was but I had my suspicions. And I was right. Indirect teasing of this sort is possibly the highest form of social interaction. Flattery in my case.

  6. Thanks. I was churlish, for a start you have a lovely souvenir photo of Huw-bach to show for it. Just tell young Daniel he's not fooling anyone upgrading the Rizla game with laserjet printing.

    As Joe did, I pride myself on remembering which foods people like and have an aversion to. I add to this an awareness of which colours they favour and dislike; one male friend I know hates turquoise, because it was his mother's favourite (his wife told me this), another time one rather show-off and ingratiating female acquaintance gave another an amethyst bracelet, and I thought to myself, A really ought to know that B doesn't like anything mauve, which B later confirmed to me unasked. Though I have next to no observational skills as to what clothes they wear otherwise, handknits excepted.

    Mmm, baba ganoush, imam baldi, ratatouille, moussaka...

  7. Oh, and Murray Walker? Nope, no way.

  8. Lucy: Well Daniel fooled me. I normally hate competitive party games, because I'm so bad at them and quickly lose my temper. But on this occasion I was to the manor born and could afford to be condescending.

    Joe never told me that and I think he must have switched off that particular facility on my rare visits to TW. Normally we lunched out, my treat. On one occasion he did provide a gastro lunch starting off with shallots served in toto but so that their outer skin and stalk pulled away like an organic napkin. Very virtuosic. Alas the next course contained the dreaded courgettes which I furtively mashed into oblivion while VR watched on, amused. This was long before blogging when he would have had to work hard to ignore my antipathies.

    As to your Mmm list, I am sufficiently experienced to avoid the latter two dishes together with any styled in the Provencal manner. Having given ten seconds to the consideration of aubergines I find there's a further defect - they look so damn artificial.

    Murray Walker. I would have been surprised if you had. A retired F1 motormouth. But just recently I was faced with a quiz which included photos, etchings and portraits of late 19th/early 20th century literary masters and I did very poorly. Offhand would you recognise Thomas Hardy?

  9. The photo looked familiar and I was searching my memory of actors - a vague Jack Lemmon? But no, of course it was The-Huw-Who-Robbie-hates.
    I sympathise with your irritation, Huw is definitely irritating. But possibly less so off-screen? He has a sort of anonymous bonhomie, the air of someone who would help you out (not YOU perhaps, but me) if I was lost in an unfamiliar city. No? Maybe not.

  10. By the way, nice smiling pic of you next to the unfortunate Huw.

    And a happy New Year to you and yours.

  11. Natalie: "Anonymous bonhomie" is worth plagiarising; keep your eye on Tone Deaf during the new year.

    Let me put your scenario another way round: a man who's proud of knowing all the street names. And very little else.