In the letting agency, just finished paying my rent to the testy Chinese lady.
ME: Before I go, can I ask a small favour?
HER: What kind of favour?
ME: It’s quite an unusual request.
ME: Could you tell me the name of one of my flatmates?
HER: Why you not know your flatmate name?
ME: Long story. His name should be on the next page of that folder you’ve got in front of you. He moved in five weeks ago. I just need his name.
HER: You knock on his door. “Hello, I Kevin.” Shake hand. He tell you name. Why you not know he name?
ME: We did that on the day he moved in. Shook hands, swapped names, bit of chit-chat. But by the end of the conversation I realised his name had gone in one ear and out the other. I’m pretty certain he can’t remember my name either. The word “Kevin” has never passed his lips in my presence.
HER: Why you not ask again?
ME: I thought it would be funny to psych him out. Make him blink first.
ME: Shits and giggles. I thought I could get an anecdote or two out of it.
HER: Can’t tell you. Confidential.
ME: Confidential? Come off it, I live with the guy. It’s been over a month and now it’s just embarrassing. Today I had to have a detailed conversation about him with another flatmate – whose name I do know – without referring to him by name once. It was painful.
HER: What she call him?
ME: Hmm. Good point. Now you mention it, she didn’t use his name either.
HER: You sure he real?
ME: Turn the page in that folder in front of you and you can tell me.
HER: Confidential. You have to ask yourself.
ME: Come on… please?
HER: Why you no want to ask him yourself?
ME: Maybe it’s a British thing.
HER: What you mean by that?
ME: Oh, um, nothing… I mean, I didn’t mean to say that you… I didn’t mean…
So the BBC kicked her into a weekend breakfast slot, doomed with an audience of hungover teenagers who listen to her for four seconds before hurling their radio alarm clocks across the bedroom, and replaced her with something called Greg James.
What is a Greg James?
It’s a cookie-cutter local radio DJ with the wavering cadence of a bullied kid trying to joke his way out of a thoroughly deserved beating before a turd slides out the bottom of his trouser leg.
If it’s possible to audibly smirk pain, I think he’s managed it.
It’s been months since he ousted Bowman, and the man has yet to develop any clearly discernible personality traits.
I’m not asking him to be John Peel. But he could at least earn himself an adjective. Even Pat Sharp was “mulleted”.
Sorry Greg, but being a whelpish 24 is no excuse for being such an empty vessel. I was already a fully-formed wanker when I was 24. Similarly, Lily Allen is 24.
Hell, the Spice Girls in their heyday were mere teenagers, and even they could muster up at least one identifying characteristic each, even if one of those was “ginger”.
What the hell would Greg James’ Spice Girl name be? What would he be called if he was a dwarf?
The guy needs to build character.
Greg, start taking heroin. Truckloads of the stuff. Indecently assault a 15-year-old or something. Accidentally kill somebody. Become the DJ with the faraway voice of the genuinely haunted.
Anything but this vacuous mannequin who seems to have been created in a lab solely for the purpose of introducing Chico at a village fete before dissolving into a viscous, unpleasant puddle.
— NB – There’s every chance that I’m actually talking about Scott Mills here. It’s only recently I realised he and Greg James are two separate people and I’m still not entirely certain I can tell one from the other.