I forgot to mention one thing about the van.
I REVERSED IT INTO MY DRIVE. First time. No messing.
Using my wing mirrors and everything.
It was exceptionally disappointing to find that nobody was watching. I was going to rush inside to get everybody, then pull out into the road and repeat the procedure. But I thought this might be pushing it a bit, and summoning everybody just to watch me knock over the gatepost would make me look foolish.
As every bloke knows, doing a good bit of parking is the best feeling in the world. Better even than when you’re in a pub, you ask the barman for a half and he gives you three-quarters in your pint glass.
Look. Get this. Let me go off at a tangent.
I used to go up to Edinburgh every year. For the festival. The showcase for the world’s best live acts. I’ve seen, at close hand, the cream, the pinnacle, the absolute DBs of human entertainment endeavour.
The glory days of Lee and Herring, then Stewart Lee’s intense solo ‘sex with a pig’ period, and Richard Herring’s superb ‘Christ on a Bike’.
The League of Gentlemen’s first stage shows. Their families were in the audience to see what the kids had been up to. Dave Gorman’s routines were totally new, fresh and original.
Johnny Vegas (alternately heroic and terrible) and Emo Philips (desperately, heart-breakingly disappointing). The was-quite-good-in-its-original-format Garth Marenghi.
Take my word for it. I know good entertainment when I see it. I’m not easily impressed. (Even by all those comedy names I’ve just sadly dropped and who I’m in thrall to like some stupid teenage girl). (Although I would not sleep with them after the shows, even if I was quite drunk and they begged me really really hard).
In all those years, let me tell you what the best thing I ever saw was. The event that sticks in my memory and I still look back on with awe.
We were standing, queuing for a show. And a bloke drove up, spotted an incredibly tight parking place on the other side of the road, and in one movement swerved across, hit reverse and backed in at a rate of knots.
It was the most perfect bit of parallel parking I’d ever seen. It was so perfect that – get this – people in the street broke into a spontaneous round of applause.
That’s how good it was.
So forget your synchronised diving shit. Forget, even, your four by one hundred metres.
Parking is where it’s at. It’s the future.