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"Strange things are afoot at the Circle K".

Today was an odd day for many reasons.

I went to someone's leaving do at my girlfriend's work. It was nice to see people and go round Manchester with them. We went to a bar called TV21 which was a theme pub. It celebrated classic old TV shows, a bit like The FAB Cafe only bigger and, frankly, nicer. It had a great pinball machine in the corner based on The Simpsons. Being a huge fan of pinball machines as any regular reader will attest I dragged a few of my girlfriend's collegues over and got them involved. I can't help but corrupt others in this respect. We were banging away on the pinball machine, loving it, when suddenly someone said; "oh, Johnny Vegas is outside and the bouncers won't let him in 'cause he's drunk".

Now, I was drunk. And I was playing pinball! But the crowd of people around me were all getting excited and I soon got caught up in it. I'm friends with a bloke called Toby Foster and he knows Johnny Vegas really well so I thought I'd perhaps mention that in conversation. Instead I got caught up in this mad crowd of people who were all having their photos taken with him and pulling at him from every side. It was really surreal. I don't think I've ever been caught up in anything like that.

Then I noticed his face. He looked like he was a mixture of confused, profoundly sad, and gracious. It was really, really strange. His vibe was the oddest I've ever felt. If he'd not have been famous he's the sort of bloke you'd have avoided eye contact with. I didn't know what to make of it. All around him though everyone seemed oblivious to this. They were just excited to be around a famous person.

Now I really am a genuine fan of his stand-up work. I've got his DVD "Who's ready for Ice Cream" which is very odd indeed. There's some good stuff on there, in the extras. But I certainly wasn't the most enthusiastic person in the crowd. I remember whispering to my girlfriend, "let's just leave him alone". So we did. But I can still see the odd expression he had on his face as 30 or so strangers crowded round him in a bar in Manchester.

NM

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