THE NOD CORNER
Ever since I've become famous, a lot of people's arsked me who my heroes are. Well, not surprisingly, Carl McCoy's at the top of the list. Carl's brilliant. I don't blame 'im for the fact that he keeps calling me "Ned" instead of "Nod" 'cos he's the creative on in the band and he's gotter lot on his mind other than to remember who the likes of me are. But apart from him, all my others are short people who, like me, 'ave made it against the odds. Men like Napoleon. Ronnie Corbett. But most of all, Don Estelle. I really identified wiv that character "Lofty" played in that TV series, "It Ain't Half Hot, Mum". He was bullied, was Don, but like me, 'e shone through on his musical abilities. When the others get at me - like the other day when they painted me brown, hung me upside down by the washing line and super-glued bits of bread all over me so's I'd get pecked by the sparrers - I fink to myself, wot would Don have done in this situation? I've got all 'is records, including the theme to "It Aint Half Hot, Mum" and "Whispering Grass", though Pete - or was it Tony? - got hold of it, scribbled out the word "grass" and replaced it with "arse", the rotten bastards.
Mind you, sometimes, like I say, they can be all right. Take the other day. Carl had left instructions for me, special, to compile a tape of "dark" music to be played just before we came onstage at the Marquee - to include extracts from Carl Orff, Wagner's "Ring Cycle" and culminate in somefink from this album of Gregorian chants that Carl's got. Well, I'd done all the Wagner and stuff, then I realised I was due down at the soundcheck to run through some of me paradiddles like. What was I gonna do? "Don't worry Nod!", said Pete. "We'll finish the tape for you and pass it on to the soundman. We'll take care of it."
"Yeah", added Tony. "You just be sure an' polish up your paradiddles."
So off I went, finking wot nice guys Pete, Paul and Tony were, underneath it all. That night, just before the gig, the tension was rising. The Wagner was booming out on the tape and the dry ice was billowing. Carl was doin' some Zen meditational exercises. Then, as Wagner faded out, we strode onstage, solemnly, like. Plan was, we stand there enigmatically, for a minute or so, while the Gregorian chants played. There was a silence.... Then a horrible familiar out of tune piano, followed by those lyrics I knew by heart: "MEET THE GANG 'COS THE BOYS ARE HERE.... THE BOYS TO ENTERTAIN YOU! WITH MUSIC AND LAUGHTER TO HELP YOU ON YOUR WAY - AND RAISING THE RAFTERS WITH A HEY, HEY, HEY! - WITH SONGS - AND SKETCHES - AND JOKES OLD AND NEW..." Disaster! The audience guffawed. The theme to "It Ain't Half Hot, Mum!" Carl turned round and glowered at me. Then it dawned on me - the lads had stitched me up again! Only, they was glowering at me as well, cool as you like!
"I knew you shouldn't have trusted Nod to make the tape, Carl!", said Paul. "This Don Estelle obsession of his has gone too far. He's made us look complete idiots!" It wasn't fair. But what could I say? Carl stared piercingly at me. "You've let me down, again", he hissed. "Ten press-ups!" And, as I did yet another set of press-ups, wiv Tony jeering that this was "the nearest Nod'll ever get to a shag!", I heard the tape run out... "Land of hope and glory.... SHAADAP!" and the sound of tumbling sitars adding a sort of cruel irony to my own downfall.