It seems like a geological Ian since I last wrote a blog post. An epoch. An age. A bit of a while.
Well, fifteen days.
That's a half a lifetime if you're a housefly.
I suppose keeping a blog must come second to ensuring my children don't do all that diseased starving they seem to go for with just the merest hint of a couple of months neglect.
The point is, I have less time to myself than Big Ben. It takes me about a month to read a paperback at the moment, and I have to pencil in visits to the toilet on the calendar.
The only telly I get to watch these days is children's TV, and like most parents I appear to have absorbed every song and dance routine via some sort of mental osmosis, where information goes from a strong concentration (television) to a very weak one (my brain).
There are certain things my kid likes which I don't actually mind watching as well, such as anything with computer generated trains in it, or Zingzillas which has the universally acknowledged winning combination of monkeys, coconuts and the occasional ukulele.
Then there's the stuff I can't stand. This includes just about anything with the word "green" in the title, or that purports to campaign for the environment with monotonic children prancing woodenly around city parks telling you to recycle and not eat dog poo.
Also, old stuff that used to be stop motion animation but is now all CG. Lay-zee!
Yeah, I'm looking at you Noddy.
And finally there's the stuff I would probably watch instead of most adult telly programmes. Essentially, Timmy Time, which is ace.
I've also got to know who all the children's TV presenters are now. They invariably portray perky, smiley, intensely annoying caricatures designed to appeal to their target audience, and they do it well.
After a while, though, you start to see aspects of their real personalities shine through, like a thundercloud behind the sun.
Er . . .
Anyway, inaccurate meteorological similes notwithstanding, I used to think the hardest part of the job must be pretending to get all excited over the next episode of some hastily cobbled together art programme where a bloke tries to craft a crown out of twigs without making a four-year-old look like Jesus, when in reality you've just split up with your other half, have a tequila hangover and feel grumpier than a hippo with hemorrhoids.
Which, I have on good authority, is pretty bloody grumpy.
They still have to appear upbeat at a moments notice (TV presenters, not anally challenged hippos).
But then I remembered, parents do that all the time.
"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy"
"You know bananas?"
"They are yellow!"
"And do you know something else about bananas?"
"What's that son?"
"They are yellow!"
So, presumably, anyone with a child could be a kids TV presenter. And why wouldn't you want to? It looks like great fun.
It'd be even better if you could do it partially drunk.
"Hi Kids! Know what time it is? Yay! Ooh."
Shake head.Close eyes, then force them back open.
"See that . . . pretty colours, jus' there? No there . . ."
Swipe at rainbow midges in front of face.
"S'nice, is that. S'ver' nice . . . ver', ver' nice . . . zzz . . ."
Prod from director.
"WHOA! Greeeaaat! That's a lovely show, that is, that . . . er . . . "
Squint at autocue.
"And now, it's time!"
Nod sagely; scratch chin and then look at hand.
"Oh, for . . . er . . . cartoons yay!"
Sit down on floor and stare at camera.
"Why can't I see them? Quentin! Why can't I see the cartoons?"
Put hand to ear, listen intently.
"Oh, right. Sorry kids! My mistake. It's not cartoon time yet. Let's go over to my good friend Cokey the Clown! Yay! Look at his funny white nose!"
I'd watch it.