By a weird coincidence, this next Blog is ALSO about Danny Baker. Yesterday, on his national radio show, he read out an email from me. You may be aware that Danny’s Radio 5 show asks listeners to relate stories based on his quirky suggestions e.g. ‘can anyone pronounce the longest word in James Joyce’s novel Finnegan’s Wake’ or ‘bizarre worries’ based on the fact that Danny got a porridge oat lodged in his eye and wondered if it would expand in size as it usually does on contact with liquid? It didn’t, actually. One of his weirder questions last week was ‘have you a story of sports equipment catching fire?’ Sure enough, someone rang in to talk about his pals setting a ball on fire so they could have a kickabout in the dark. Yesterday, Danny’s sidekick Lynsey read out my anecdote. In one way, my story was even better than the ball on fire one as this was purely accidental – and very funny. Here is the full transcript of my story:
‘As a youth, I remember a game where because it was a cold day, our goalkeeper was wearing tracksuit bottoms. A few minutes into the game, said goalie had to lunge at the incoming ball and dive dramatically, hitting the ground and rolling over. The next thing we knew, he was jumping up and down and then running around in a circle like a man possessed. Was he vainly celebrating his wonderful save? No, his tracksuit bottoms were aflame. He had forgotten to take his box of matches out of his pocket. The friction caused by him hitting the ground set the whole box alight. Did the players rush towards him to douse this conflagration? We couldn’t. Virtually everyone to a man was lying on the ground helpless with laughter. Eventually, after a few vigorous slaps on his fiery loins, our goalkeeper managed to extinguish the flames and he retired hurt, slightly burnt.’
At Lynsey’s mention of the goalie’s nether regions being ablaze, Danny said simply ‘wow’ adding ‘it’s always worth asking these questions’. To have a story related on the finest radio show on air (next to I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue) was a proud and precious moment.