Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

TMI Tuesday: Costello

Look at this sandwich! It’s made of cheese!
Cheese is the best kind of sandwich!
(We do not have toasting facilities.)

Stephen Colbert and Elvis Costello
Two people I don’t know much about.

I have lots to say, but very little time to say it. In the meantime, please make do with this here meme.

A bit of trivia before we start. I actually have the complete works of Elvis Costello. My parents bought me a box set for my birthday once (and, if it wasn’t the complete works, it was damn well near, even including B-sides and the like), despite me not really knowing who he was. A couple of weeks later the box set vanished, and I only found out where it had gone when Elvis Costello songs started appearing on my parents’ mix tapes.

Today’s TMI Tuesday is lifted entirely from questions asked to Costello by Stephen Colbert. I don’t know who Stephen Colbert is either.

1. What is the best sandwich?

Here’s another bit of ILB Trivia: cheese sandwiches are my favourite food.

I will diversify, of course. Cheese and tomato. Cheese and spring onion. Cheese and chives. Cheese and (vegan) ham (alternative). Cheese and egg. My very favourite treat in the world, surpassing even my beloved sherbet lemons, is an honest-to-God cheese toastie.

Harris + Hoole do a really good one, but the sandwich shop just around the corner from us will do basically the same thing at a fraction of the price,

And now I’m hungry. Obviously.

2. Scariest animal?

I like all animals, and I can’t honestly say that I’m scared of any of them.

When I was a very young child, I was scared of spiders, or at least I thought I was. I had a quasi-nightmare once in which I would see a crowd of spiders and shout “SPIDERS!” at them until they ran away. I was once asked why I was scared of them and said, truthfully, that I wasn’t; I was just scared that I might hurt them if I got too close.

I was also terrified by the animatronic dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, even though I like animatronics, I like dinosaurs and I like the Natural History Museum. Again, I was very young at the time.

3. Ever asked someone for an autograph?

Yes. I will admit to being a bit of an autograph hound, or at least I was in my teens and early twenties. I’ve got the members of James several times, plus Mark Lamarr, Skreen from the Cuban Boys, Phillipa Forrester and CJ de Mooi.

My favourite experience of collecting an autograph was from Mel Smith. I was at a West End musical for my 18th birthday and he was in the audience. I asked him for his autograph and explained who I was and why I was there. He signed it with, “Happy 18th, from Mel Smith.”

I also once got one of the Jedwards at the premiere of Keith Lemon: The Film. As the signature was an illegible squiggle, I’ve still no idea which Jedward it was.

4. Favourite action movie?

Despite the fact that I’ll always tell you first that I prefer comedy, fantasy and sci-fi, I do have a lot of love for action as a genre.

Jason Statham vs. a shark. Yes, really.
Sharkboy, sans Lavagirl.

But there’s a lot of crossover there. Sci-fi films have a lot of action in them, usually. Are superhero films action, or are they fantasy or sci-fi themselves? What is Deadpool if not a comedy? Avengers: Endgame has a time travel plot, so is it more sci-fi than action? The live-action Cutie Honey adaptation is fun, but is it just that: fun?

For that matter, where do the Star Wars movies go? There’s plenty of action in them and I could watch all nine over and over again.

In fact, the only movie I can think of which is “just” action that I enjoy the most is the Jason-Statham-versus-shark flick The Meg! And even that’s funny!

5. Favourite rom-com?

My first instinct is to put Four Weddings and a Funeral, because my uncle is in it, but then again, my uncle’s been in a lot of stuff. Anyway, it’s not really my style.

I quite like When Harry Met Sally, Love, Simon and Warm Bodies. But I’m going to go for Muppets Treasure Island. Yes, it’s totally a rom-com. I’ll be taking no further questions.

6. Window or aisle?

These questions don’t give a lot of detail, do they? They may as well be asking whether I prefer the aesthetics of the word “window” or “aisle”.

Assuming that this isn’t the case and that I’m meant to be thinking about seats on public transport, my default answer is probably “window”. Whether I’m gazing dreamily out of a coach window, seeing the only oxbow lakes I’ve ever been aware of while speeding through countryside on a train, or even on a bus to work, I like to see the rest of the world from my little travel bubble.

Last week I took a plane (for the first time in years) to Germany and back. On the return trip I had a window seat. I intended to spend the flight looking down at Germany and France, then the Channel, until I touched down in Stansted. This worked well enough until clouds got in the way.

I’d forgotten about clouds.

7. Favourite scent?

I have a few of these, and some are the classics – fresh bread, newly-cut grass, brewing coffee, that sort of thing. I also like lemon, as I’m a citrus person, and wood smoke, as I’m a camping person! It’s very calming to me!

My favourite perfume is Flower by Kenzo, although that’s probably bias because the Seamstress used to wear it (she probably still does!). It’s a nice scent nonetheless.

But my very, very favourite scent is new books. I love it, and I especially love it when I’ve bought some to breathe in as well!

8. Least favourite scent?

Cigarette smoke. I genuinely can’t stand it.

The Seamstress (again!) once accepted a cigarette from a friend when offered one, a decision I found difficult to parse since she was, nominally, a non-smoker. Her rationale was that it was difficult to say no to a friend, which I also felt sounded weird – even if it’s a friend, what you’re saying no to is sticking a roll of burning leaves in your mouth, pouring tar into your lungs and dramatically increasing a risk of several interestingly-named deadly diseases.

She didn’t see it this way. It was only years later that I realised that, for a person who spent a lot of her time telling me to be more assertive, this was a moment of weak will from her, for the sake of something she probably didn’t enjoy anyway!

9. Most used app on your phone?

Twitter. I don’t really use my phone for anything else. I keep in contact with people, mostly, through WhatsApp, but Twitter is genuinely the app I’ll open first, even if purely by habit.

Unlike a lot of people, I don’t game on my phone. I’m a console gamer, mostly, and can’t really justify paying even a small amount for a momentary distraction when I could be playing Kirby and the Forgotten Land on my Switch, which is about two metres from the place I usually use my phone!

10. You only get one song to listen to for the rest of your life, what is it?

Wow, this is a long meme.

I genuinely can’t answer this question. I’d get sick of any one song, even one of my favourites, if I had to listen to it over and over again for however long I’ve got to live. I’d probably end up choosing one of my own, if I had to, as long as I didn’t inflict that on anyone else, as being in my presence they’ve probably suffered enough!

Bonus: Describe the rest of your life in five words.

“The rest of your life” already is five words, genius.


  1. Wittie

    Reading your sandwich comment made me even more hungry… Thanks for that. 🙂

  2. TMi Tuesday blog

    Hahaha. Your parents really bought if for themselves. I am an Elvis C fan too.

    1. Cheese and chives does sound good. Any particular type of cheese for that combo? (after reading your answer my mouth is watering)

    2. I’m trying to be kinder to spiders, some eat mosquitos. But the big bulbous ones I just CAN’T! No no no!!!

    3. James…oh that brings back memories. I will have to dig out that album. Yes, I said album, as in vinyl. 😀

    5. lol lol…alrighty then!

    Bonus: You are clever

    Good reading you again.

    • Innocent Loverboy

      1. My go-to cheese is cheddar, but my favourite is Wensleydale… which also works well with chives.

      2. Heh. I’m fairly kind to mosquitoes too; then again, they don’t like how I taste; mosquitoes don’t bite me, so I’m less bothered by that.

      3. James have released all their recent albums on vinyl as well as their classics. There’s been a bit of a resurgence – I don’t have a vinyl record player (I’m not that hipster) – and a lot of bands are doing that. For their most recent release – which came out last year – I went into central London to buy a physical CD. I wouldn’t do that for any other band. I’m seeing them next month, so maybe getting autographs again!

  3. Sweetness

    In approximately the early-mid summer of 1999 I was 17 years old and sitting in my friend Sarah’s bedroom. We were both Extremely Stoned and I think we were listening to Californication on repeat. We were a bong or two in, and Sarah said “do you want a brew” and I said “yes please” because my god I wanted a brew. So Sarah wandered off and I have no idea even now how long she was gone but I definitely rolled and smoked at least one more spliff in that time. Eventually she returned and she did have a brew but she also had the most glorious red-leicester sandwich I’ve ever seen (or have seen since). All I remember is the beautiful layering of WHITE – ORANGE – WHITE. There may or may not have been butter, I don’t recall. It was two slices of bread, a few slabs of cheese. That was it. I think I stared at it for a while as one might stare at a proper biblical angel, and then at some point I gobbled it up. To this day, I haven’t had a better sandwich, and I don’t think I ever will. (I’ve been vegan for ~13 years but I still remember this sandwich fondly.)

    • Innocent Loverboy

      That does sound like a glorious experience. Yesterday, on my way home from work, I noticed the sandwich shop was still open and got myself a toastie. I can’t stop myself.

      I was vegan a few years ago (have been vegetarian for a lot longer); since then, vegan alternatives to cheese have come on in leaps and bounds. I was, however, fairly satisfied with the one I found in the local health food shop. It wasn’t great, but it satisfied my cravings.

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