Season’s end approaches here and thoughts turn once again to how to earn enough of an interseason living to keep the bills paid and the cats in expensive foul-smelling biscuits which they ungratefully regurgitate in the very spot where you might want to put a bare foot on walking into the kitchen of a morning.
Most people go for building work, migration to the coast or just straightforward sponging off the state, assuming they’ve done enough work to qualify, but in a burst of creativity I feel I might branch out into new enterprise. The market for babysitting, cleaning and the like is not only saturated but frankly pretty dull, so my cunning plan is to market a mad celebrity diet plan. Come on, it’s working well for Dr Dukan, despite his recent loony proposal to link people’s academic grades to their BMI. Just as well Einstein wasn’t a fatty, or we might never have had the hydrogen bomb. Oh wait ….
The diet will have several unique features making it particularly suitable for mad attention-seeking celebrities. First up, it’s one of these plans where you only get to eat random combinations of weird foods which any normal person would immediately identify as being a bad idea bordering on poisonous. The unique selling point here is that you can choose your own freaky foods and eat them in whatever combination you like, giving you endless material for your next series of interviews for Hello! magazine and whatever appalling breakfast TV shows you can worm your way onto. Oh yes, I spent six weeks eating nothing but pork sausage and pistachio custard, I lost virtually all my body fat and most of what passes for my mind, you can say smugly, while Richard and Judy glaze over on the sofa and the viewers rush off to slit their wrists.
Secondly, it’s dead easy to follow, as it removes all desire to eat anything anyway. Some people might regard this as cheating, but it also boasts a wide range of uncomfortable side effects which again provide more than ample self-obsessive discussion fodder, essential for the insane c-list celebrity about town. None of the side effects involve constipation, bad breath or gout either, which puts it way ahead of Atkins for a start.
From my point of view, the big advantage is that because the dieter selects his or her own mentalist food combinations I don’t have to supply glossy recipe supplements endorsed by irritating TV chefs, who presumably demand a cut of the profits. In fact, the whole thing can probably be typed out on a sheet of A4, though obviously I will doll it up a bit with expensive colored paper. I could even laminate it and charge an extra £50 a go.
The only stumbling block so far is the name, since it’s currently called the My Husband Ran Off With A Child Half His Age Whom He Had Known For Six Weeks Diet, which a) isn’t particularly snappy and b) isn’t going to fit across the top of a page of A4 either. All appropriately zeitgeisty branding suggestions welcome, though be warned that I’m not paying extortionate consultancy fees for meaningless random word combinations with the capital letters in all the wrong places. Be sensible.
Just to give you all an idea and a bit of inspiration I am willing to give readers of this blog an exclusive sneak preview of Week 1. The plan will be to send out subsequent weeks one at a time, allowing the dieter to build up a complete collection and store it in the attractive ring binder provided for that very purpose at the beginning of the course. Just think how good it’s going to look on the shelf next to that cod psychology self-help nonsense you wasted three years collecting.
Days 1-3. Allowed foods: none. You may drink as much tea as you like and you are free to take one bite of anything at all as long as you then throw the rest of it away. This phase is much easier to stick to than it sounds, as everything will taste of cardboard and the mere idea of putting any of it in your mouth will make you nauseous anyway. Forget all that ‘comfort eating’ rubbish – people who claim to do that aren’t even mildly upset.
Day 4. Allowed foods: anything bizarre, unbalanced and preferably bad for you. Fish fingers and fried egg, for example. Or pasta and tomato ketchup. Make your own combinations, the more outlandish the better. Carry on throwing half of it in the bin.
Day 5. Allowed foods: doesn’t matter at this stage since most of it is going to end up in the bin again. Today you should make an effort to pull yourself together and cook something sensible. Make some sort of normal grown-up dinner like sausage casserole or roast chicken. Eat just enough to feed an anorexic mouse and put the rest in the fridge. Leave it there until it goes green and then throw it away.
Day 6. Allowed foods: anything you don’t normally eat, plus some wine. But not (and I cannot stress this too much) NOT too much wine. Trust me, after nearly a week of this you are in no fit state to deal with a hangover – it will wipe you out for three days and make you suicidal. Two glasses consumed while watching old episodes of House MD on the MacBook will have a useful anaesthetic effect. An entire bottle might actually kill you.
Day 7. Allowed foods: any new weird combination (noodles on toast, kipper and ice cream, blue cheese with oatcakes and mango – use your imagination). At this stage though, you can stop chucking most of it out. Come on, it was getting beyond a joke, particularly with the price of kippers being what it is here. Besides, by this point you should be down about three kilos, and unless you started out as a complete porker you’re getting into starvation territory, which is going to foil the best efforts of Richard and Judy’s makeup minions. Pale and interesting is one thing, but downright haggard isn’t a good look.
Just to hold the attention and keep people waiting on tenterhooks for the next diet sheet, I might do occasional specials in between the regular issues. Special Edition #1: how long a human being can survive on a diet of anchovies, toast and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. I can tell you’re looking forward to it already.