Sunday, 3 April 2011

Jamies Star Academy

Professor David Twinky (right) lets actor Simon Bellow know what he thinks about his iambic pentameter.

Hortence has been complaining lately, as you Flopsies often do (!), that since our wedding I seem to spend more and more time at home, and not out working or enjoying myself. Doesn't she realise that intuitive and erudite restaurant reviews don't just write themselves? Some of us actually have to Google the restaurants we are supposed to be going to, make up our minds about going or not, and then write any old rubbish that comes to mind. We can always fall back on sending expletive rich emails to idiotic sub-editors, safe in the knowledge they will never be leaked to rival newspapers and magazines for the general humorous delight of the British reading public.

Anyway, Horey must have been over the moon when I got a phone call from some totty at Channel 4, asking me if I would be interested in taking part in a new TV show called "Jamie Geezer's Star Academy". I thought it must be one of those celebrity talent spotting shows where you have to show off your hidden talents in singing, dancing and such like. Hortence snorted on hearing my thoughts on this, stating that if they were trying to spot some talent in me they might as well forget heavy duty binoculars and simply plump for making the Hubble Space Telescope look down for a change. I wasn't quite sure what she was on about, but I smiled at her anyway.

I went for a provisional meeting at the Channel 4 offices and was told some of the background to the show. They were going to get a load of idiot children, mostly from dreadful working class areas, and introduce them to top TV personalities like yours truly and see if we could inspire them to show some interest in learning for a change. Amongst the other uber-brains selected to whip up some enthusiasm in these troglodyte like youngsters were Jamie Geezer himself; Professor David Twinky - top TV historian; Shakespearean lovey Simon Bellow; former Olympic athlete, Daley Express; former Government advisor Alastair Grumble; elderly Australian artist/singer/weirdo Rolf Wobble-Board; yours truly; and Kerry Katona. We were informed by the production company that each of us had to share our own specialist subject with the classes and we would be filmed for later broadcast. This seemed fine to me. I was hoping that my inspiring details of how to become a restaurant reviewer with a national newspaper, and which brasserie was the best to visit in the entire W1 area might just connect with some of these lost young lives.

Day one of filming began in controversial fashion. Simon Bellow was taking an English class and took exception to some of the young chaps continuing to play "The Angry Birds" on their i-Phones while he was performing Hamlet's soliloquy. He flounced out of the classroom clutching his Yorick and took quite a bit of persuading back into the room. Professor Twinky then took a history class, and was thoroughly enjoying recreating the atmosphere of a gladiators dressing room at the Colosseum with some very muscular members of the class, when one of the young miscreants jokingly started calling him Professor Shirt-Lifter. Things got a bit heavy and would have got very unpleasant but for the swift intervention of Jamie Geezer and Daley Express. I was on next, and was more than a little nervous about how I would be received by these working class oiks.

I burst into the room, full of joie de vivre, and asked them to clear their minds and try to forget all their previous pre-conceptions on restaurant reviews, food writing and the general fusion food scene in Kensington in 2011. There was a short silence punctuated by a lone voice from under a hoody top who mumbled "Now what?" I turned to the white board behind me, untipped my pen and wrote "Reviewing a Restaurant - Do's and Don't's". I popped the lid back on my pen and lent nonchalantly on my desk at the front of the room. "Any questions, guys?" I asked.

"You is in the wrong room, innit?" Said one lad in a bandanna. I looked at the film crew at the back who simply gave me an encouraging thumbs up sign.

"I don't think so. What makes you say that?" I asked the bandanna boy.

"We got nuffink about no restaurant shit on our timetable, batty boy." He said. Some of the others snorted with laughter.

"It isn't shit - writing a restaurant review is a very difficult business..." The bandanna raised a hand to silence me.

"Yeah, right. Sure it is, blood. But what does dis mean?" He held up his own timetable for my perusal. It simply said "9.30am-10.30am - The Unfair Side of Life - Giles London explains nepotism - when you don't have to worry about getting a job thanks to Daddy." What could they possibly mean? I stormed out of the classroom and confronted the producer in the staff room. He was already deep in discussion with Professor Twinky and Simon Bellow.

"This whole thing is a sham!" Professor Twinky was wittering, as I entered the room. "These yobs don't want to learn - and as for the quality of some of the teachers..." he looked at me and raised his eyebrows dramatically.

"Indeed!" Boomed Simon Bellow. "One feels like Hermes, called to the battlements of Troy, only to be confronted by a dunce in a hat!" Once more he looked to me and I nodded in agreement.

"The elderly poof and the luvvie have a very good point! No wonder all the inbred scum next door hate their boring lessons..." And that's when the fight really started. Channel 4 are delighted by the very high viewing figures for the series, but it was a shame they had to spend so much of the budget rebuilding the school after my lesson.

Still - if I have touched at least one young life, and shown them the mad, intense world of restaurant reviewing, then my work here is done. It will have been worth my sacrifice, and some of the punches I took from Jamie Geezer. And Kerry Katona.

If you want me to review a restaurant near you, ensure you live within 500 yards of the W1 post code and drop me a line at and I shall come and bring some star quality to your local eatery! Bon appetite!

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