Ok, first things first. The other day I mentioned somewhere that news of this stupid little bet that arose between Michael and myself at a table in the annexe of the Crown Pub in Cricklewood, had reached as far afield as Bondi Junction, New Mexico and Bloemfontein.
Well you can now add India to the list.
Someone called Susheel sent me a kind email in which he/she mentioned that "I and all of India wish you a whole ton of luck in your bet against Michael." Thanks Susheel, it's somewhat comforting to learn that I've got 1,065,070,607 people rooting for me. Perhaps Brazil and Nigeria can root for Michael to even things up a bit.
Well just to mention that I'm now getting stacks of emails and so apologies if I can't reply to each one or mention each one here, but regretabbly my bionic arm hasn't returned from the dry cleaners yet (they mentioned something about a stubborn vinagrette stain that they're having trouble shifting).
Right to last night. Sir Ian McKellen, a personal hero of mine, and man who is well known as Gandalf, John Profumo and Richard III amongst other characters, was kind enough to meet me in South London.
He's currently treading the boards at the Old Vic (which ironically is how I refer to my dad), where he is appearing in Aladdin.
As Michael was otherwise occuppied last night, in his role of Chief Bottlewasher at the Garrick Theatre, photographer for the evening was Gidz, another friend of mine who I'd roped into coming along to press the button of a camera.
This was unfortunate, since the journey to Waterloo turned out to be one annoying whinge-orama.
"I'm tired, the seatbelt's hurting me, I'm missing Celebrity Big Brother, this car's too hot, I'm bleeding from my eyeball etc etc"
Anyway we arrived in good time and briefly stood around the stage door, watching crew members emerge as one of them mumbled something, possibly derogatory, about autograph hunters, before we were ushered inside and up to Sir Ian's dressing room.
I'm not sure if I was entirely prepared to witness Sir Ian in Widow Twankey costume, but nevertheless he was an absolute star and was incredibly helpful. Not for the first time at one of these meetings, my subject asked me how many handshakes I'd managed so far and there seemed genuine concern about my lack of progress.
This was allayed slightly when I mention that winning the bet entailed only having to meet 100 people out of 500, and not the entire list.
Sir Ian even kindly offered to help me, by suggesting that he might rustle up someone else from the show but I mentioned that alas, no one else involved in the production appeared on my list of 500.
So that was it really. What a top man.
I met Michael later in the evening to upload the photo you see above. I also happened to mention to him that amazingly enough, my website had been shortlisted for an award. "OUR website I think you mean," he replied.
Yes that's true. Michael has indeed put as much work into it as I have.
Whreas I pay for it, manage it, write it and badly design it, Michael has appeared in a photograph on it and so I suppose he deserves equal credit. He's also asked me to mention that he isn't actually a bottlewasher at the Garrick, but rather, a very important member of the Crew and a close personal friend of Edward Fox.