For some it may be the first time she lets out an involuntary “ooft” when she bends down to adjust the strap on her Mary Jane shoe. For others it might be innocently enquiring what song is playing in the background, only to be acidly informed it has been No 1 for the past 16 weeks, it’s currently being turned into a feature length movie starring Channing Tatum, it’s even got its own dance, you know, and what do you mean you don’t you know how to do the hurdy gurdy gaga dance?
For me this moment – let’s call it a junior/senior moment – came in the kitchen at approximately six minutes past seven last Thursday evening, when I dropped a pot. I did not drop the pot because it was heavy. I did not drop it because I fell. I dropped the pot because somebody had just died in The Archers and I was so shocked I stopped concentrating on what I was doing. Dear God I thought, as I scooped up slices of boiled carrot and shovelled them in the bin. Paul is dead. PAUL IS DEAD. I couldn’t believe it. Poor Lilian. Poor Matt. Poor Paul! Just as quickly, however, my shock was replaced by a new feeling. Dread. If I care about what has happened in The Archers, I realised, then all bets are off. This is it. My youth has deserted me.
For years I have resisted The Archers. I may have slid cosily from Radio 1 to Radio 4 in my early twenties, but I only had to hear the opening bars of that infuriating theme tune for silence to reign supreme. Yet somehow, sneakily, it has wormed its way in to my thirtysomething life, enticing me with its plot lines and bumper editions, daring me to switch off during a particularly crucial scene involving the future of the Bridge Farm dairy herd.
I expect it can’t be long now before I’m buying a pair of those “comfort shoes” Scholl make, and having things like “nice sit downs”. Age shall not wither me, but it might make me go to bed 20 minutes earlier in order to catch Book At Bedtime. It won’t all be bad, and at least I’ll brush up on my knowledge of agricultural affairs in rural England. First though, could someone show me how to do the hurdy gurdy gaga dance?
OH, Tulisa. You silly girl. I don’t watch The X Factor, but years ago I watched a documentary about how Tulisa Contostavlos – the singer who was arrested last week following a tabloid newspaper sting in which she allegedly told a reporter she could supply cocaine – cared for her troubled mother, who has schizoaffective disorder. Contostavlos came across as caring and articulate, a girl with a traumatic and difficult upbringing made good. She may have made mistakes in life, but who hasn’t? The tabloid ruse was nasty and pointless, in a world where there are surely bigger fish to fry. I sincerely hope she doesn’t lose her career because of it.
Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, has slowed down. This week he came second in the 100 metres at the Diamond League in Rome, the first time he has lost a race in three years. Bolt says he no longer has the determination he once had, and that “you have to try to find things to motivate you and to push yourself harder”. Well if it’s motivation he’s after, he could do worse than look to Glasgow, where he will be racing next year at the Commonwealth Games. As many comedians have found to their considerable cost, you let a Glasgow crowd down at your peril. Look forward to seeing you, Mr Bolt.