Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Hello from the stump!…..

My God, little no mark Alfie reporting here from the coal face of democracy – no, not in Basra, Southern Iraq… but Ormskirk, West Lancashire.

Life’s certainly a bit tough when you’re up against the big Party machines…. And you’ve got to hold down a job…… And you’ve had no media training….. And you feel a bit of a pranny swanning round in your big fluffy rosette…… And as you catch the eye of a potential voter – how their face crumples into resignation as another glad handing guy with a message does a bit of quarry cornering.

That wasn’t the worse part of it though. The very worse thing was getting the leaflet out. The leaflet that will define the message to the electorate…..

Should I have a slogan?

‘Vote for me, or I’ll come round and nut yer’

‘Vote for me, coz I’m bloody fab - no I really am’

‘Vote for me – you know you want to' …..

I need a photo. Unfortunately, the only photographer in town is Alfreda (or Box Brownie Brenda as we like to call her). We dig out the ultra cheap, ultra plastic ‘digicol’ camera.

I pose. I explore the environs of the office…. It’s pretty damn uninspiring though. Do I want to be shot against an urban chic background? Or possibly metropolitan tat? Maybe a football manager’s pose – courtesy of a sheepskin coat, a telephone to my ear and a big fat cigar in my hand?

We experiment.

Against some venetian blinds – light and dark stripey.

Fly on the wall, reportage style – pretentious grainy.

Informal and all friendly like – Colin Montgomerie cloney.

We eventually decide a brick wall background will look best – Inspirational or what? The bricks depict stability and order, the mortar - the glue of society binding the whole structure together. Thus creating one strong regular object from many disparate pieces…… (Yawn)

Alfreda lines me up.

She zooms.

I posture.

I’m trying for serious with a bit of humanity, a dollop of gravitas with just a hint of humour.

I’m thinking Brad Pitt and Jonny Depp, with a liberal sprinkling of Orlando Bloom. All cunningly wrapped around a Bill Clinton countenance.

Can I pull it off? (as Bill Clinton once said)….

Alfreda’s on motorised overdrive as she furiously clicks away…

"Oh baby, give me ‘humility"….. "great"….. now four square determination. Love it, just love it"…..

The pics are in the can.

Alfreda assures me she’ll pick out the best one and send it to the printers…..

Fast forward to delivery day.

I get a couple of courtesy copies – the rest, 35,000 have been sent to the Royal Mail for distribution.

I open my leaflet.




What happened to Brad, Jonny, Orlando and Bill?

They’ve been replaced by Harold Shipman, David Bellamy, Rolf Harris and Santa Claus that’s what…

I’ve become jowl-boy meets Jabba the Hutt with a beard and glasses.

Somehow, somehow the picture has put about 4 stone on my boat. My beard looks like something Moses would have been proud of and my eyes have disappeared into 2 slits on my moon shaped smirking face……… Not to worry then – there’s only 35, 000 of the damn things….

Great, great news. Alfie’s ‘plus’ column is off and running. My eldest son has committed his precious vote to his old man. It makes you proud don’t it?

Anyway, I must keep my part of the bargain and return all his back issues of FHM and other ‘art’ mags…..

Tomorrow – I do a ‘Question Time’ style event and one of the candidates gets caught ‘resting his eyes’ Then I do a few radio interviews – and manage to string 4 words together without saying "you know"……… Also – The big, big day is looming, it’s all so exciting! (ish)……..