ROSENGARDWORLD. A WEEKLY COLUMN Number 6- Saturday 4th November 2000

It was a dark and stormy night…actually it wasn’t, but I’ve always wanted to say that. That was the night before I lost my voice. Which was last night. Halloween. I went out trick or treating without my coat.. I KNOW.. it was STOOPID!! But I thought I’d be OK if I drove from house to house. Let the kids walk, its freezing out there.

Lily my daughter was the best dressed witch in Notting Hill, and I wasn’t going to miss it. She was the leader of a coven that after an hour had about 20 little witches a fairy princess and one boy Dracula in it. It is a special feeling for a Dad when you realise for the first time that your 5-year-old daughter is a born leader. O.K. of a large group of witches, but it’s a start!. She was definitely the boss witch, no question about it. She could spot a pumpkin in a window of a house 200 yards away. Shame on those ladies who came to their £2.5million doors with ” I am sorry but we don’t do Halloween.” Young Dracula, in real life a Hugo had the answer for them. Once they had retreated back inside, a long squirt from a canister of Gillette Shaving Foam. YES. The Devil left his mark on the front doors of Holland Park this Halloween. They obviously had no idea who they were messing with.

We’d had an earlier emergency when Lily’s torch, half torch half skull, suddenly went out. I’d raced to the local toy store where the manager operated on it almost immediately. He should be working our local Accident and Emergency department. He looked up at me grimly.” I am sorry but there’s nothing I can do. It’s the bulb. It’s just burnt out.”

“Thank you. I know you did everything you could.” I said.

I prepared myself for a total witch tear tantrum and much running of witch makeup as I sped back in the car to where I had last left them, just. Two along from Ruby Wax’s house. “Oh God please let me get there in time before Lily ends up as a guest on her late night TV dinner party show on BBC2. ” Okay, so you’re a witch right? Got any good spells I can use on men? Pass the pepper shaker.”

“It’s best not to tell her.” the Nanny said when I explained the torch situation.

Nanny knows best Lily never mentioned the torch again.

Anyway back to the lost voice. As I was saying, I woke up this morning and couldn’t talk. You might wonder how a guy living alone discovers he has lost his voice. I got a phone call from a woman actually.

“No it’s not a joke Mummy”. I am always kidding around with funny voices.

“I really have lost my voice mummy.”

“Drink lots of fluids darling and don’t go out. Daddy and I will call you later.” she said.

“I think I am going to live I’ve only lost my voice.. that’s all. I croaked. “I am not going to croak.” I can never resist a double entendre.

(“What is a double entendre a young woman asked me recently ” Can you give me an example?” “Okay I’ll give you one” I replied)

I went in the kitchen and turned on the tap…that’s how we still get our fluids in these parts. Nothing came out. Most of England had too much… people were sailing down to their local shops in little boats on it, and I didn’t have any!? Is that irony or what? I went round every tap in the flat not a drop. I couldn’t believe it. So I haven’t been able to wash, brush my teeth, take a shower or have a drink and I can’t tell anyone because I CAN’T TALK!. Now I know why e mail was invented.

The thought has just occurred to me that there would be mass rejoicing and dancing in the streets if my millions of friends knew I had lost my voice!. OKAY!!. I talk a lot! I know that… (and to be frank, when I say friends, I mean people I know who are more than acquaintances but not friends you know what I mean don’t you.. I am talking about people who wouldn’t drop anything let alone everything to come round RIGHT NOW! With chicken soup and sympathy! let alone drive a 100 miles in a snow storm at 4 in the morning to rescue me from my stranded broken down car!!. Cos that’s MY definition of a CLOSE FRIEND!

(I appear to have a few vacancies right now. Applications in writing to ) And thank you once again Mum and Dad.. for last January’s 200 mile 4am dash and rescue.

But at least I thought I’d be able to watch my new satellite TV and indulge in my favourite drug of choice..THE TV NEWS, CNN, BBC news at 10, ITN at 11, BBC NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL NEWS, NATIONAL NEWS, LOCAL NEWS..WHAT’S GOING ON IN Shepherds Bush news! If its news I want it and I want it now! any news at all from the four corners of the world.

Since I was a kid I have always loved the news, all news, from newspapers, radio, TV I don’t care where I get it from I just love NEWS.. I eat, drink and sleep news. I have a real problem going out with someone who doesn’t read the papers or watch TV news. “But how do you know what’s happening in the world?” I ask in amazement. It is like they have just said they don’t eat food .

“I’m not really interested.” is the usual reply.

“It’s always depressing isn’t it?.”

“WAR! FAMINE! FLOODING ! DEPRESSING? WHAT ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT? I turned on Sky News the message “NO SIGNAL” came up on the screen. I tried CNN..’NO SIGNAL’ MTV/ VH1/NICKLEODEON/DISCOVERY all the same not even German News, Norwegian News, Swedish News. At this point I would have been happy with Vanuatu News!

So here’s the situation so far. I am alone in my flat I have no voice, no water, no TV news Oh! And no food or drink in the house… And One more thing… I hate being alone in the house! I am no good by myself. I am never ever at home, unless I am asleep in bed. I’ve often thought I should be living in one of those Japanese shelf hotel rooms where they slide you in a chest of drawers at night and pull you out in the morning.

I rang Thames Water. Emergency Services. 20 voicemail instructions later I am put through to a human being..

” What’s your problem Sir? “she asked.

“NO WATER!” I shouted silently. “I have lost my voice.” I whispered.

“I am sorry Sir but I can’t hear you, can you speak up ” she said.


“I am sorry Sir, but I still can’t hear you, could you call back on a better line? Thank you.”

She hung up on me. I went into the bathroom all I needed was some lubrication. I squeezed out some toothpaste and tried to swallow it. I rang the Sky TV service line. 10 voicemail instructions later it told me to call another number. I rang the new number I got put through to Donna who was in Scotland. The toothpaste seemed to have helped as she could just about hear me.

“Don’t you worry Mr. Rosengard” she said when I explained my problem “We’ll get you up and going in no time…Have you tried steaming yourself all over with Vic?”

“I don’t want a fitness channel Donna I want News.. Sky news.” She didn’t seem to hear me

“I swear by it myself, its always done the trick for me” she continued.

“Is it the dish Donna?” I asked in desperation.

“Personally I think you’ll get better results with a bowl myself, just put a towel over your head and keep inhaling” Donna replied.

I hung up. If anyone reading this is a TV satellite engineer with a terrific interest in world affairs and just happens to be a qualified plumber, call me right away. I need you now! On second thoughts don’t call …just e mail me and if you have any chicken soup ..try sending it as an attachment.