Moyles - now even more mellow and mild
I continue to be stunned by the change in motormouth DJ Chris Moyles. The bragging and laddish self-proclaimed 'saviour of Radio 1' has matured in to a much more thoughtful and considered chap.
Regular readers will know of mine and Chris's run-ins in the past - we know each other from way back and a year or so ago, we didn't see eye to eye at all.
I was cross with him because he'd been dismissive and rude to me when our paths had crossed at some do or other - he pulled a schoolboy face of disgust when I mentioned that Michael and I had our civil partnership.
Meanwhile, he was annoyed that I'd badmouthed him a bit in this column, calling him aggressively heterosexual and homophobic after his ill-advised use of the word 'gay' on air to mean 'rubbish' or 'lame'.
Anyway, we had a chat about it all and cleared the air and we're getting on much better. I greeted him at a book signing he was doing at Waterstone's in his hometown of Leeds - his new one's selling very, very well - and there were queues of fans right around the block.
The shop said this event and the signing that Chris did for his first book have been their most packed appearances ever, which shows just what a big name he is. For the record, he told me that he wrote his latest book 'more or less' by himself, and only brought a ghost writer in for the editing stage. How did he find the time? "Oh, I scribble notes constantly," he says.
We shook hands and he shocked me a bit wrapping his arms around me for a big hug. When it was time for a photo together he pressed his cheek against mine. Chris was staying at the plush hotel Mal Maison - I asked him why he wasn't kipping over at his mum's and he said: "Well, I do sometimes but it depends who's paying."
The night before, he told me, he'd had a drink in the hotel bar with his old friend Ricky from the Kaiser Chiefs, but I got the impression it was quite a quiet one - they weren't painting the town red.
I asked him if he was going to switch on the Leeds Christmas lights like he did the year before last but he said they hadn't asked him - yet. And, bless him, he asked how my civil partnership was going. "Very well!" I assured him.
I've seen a massive, massive change in him. He used to be so rude and aggressive. At the signing, he kissed a transsexual fan on the cheek like he'd thought nothing of it - he'd have never done that in the past.
He used to talk at people. Now he's pleasant, he listens to you, he remembers what you tell him. I wonder if he's reaslised the benefit of being nice?
Did I miss the boat with Richard?
I wish I'd known X-Factor's Richard Wilkinson had such a fantastic voice during the two years he worked for me at my bar, Fibre. If I'd sussed out his showbiz potential I would have arranged for him to sing there every night.
Perhaps I ought to audition all of my bar staff, just in case there's an untapped talent waiting to be discovered?
I love X-Factor, I find it really emotional, hearing people's stories - I often find myself crying in front of the TV. Anyone who's been watching will realise that Richard was kicked out of the solo running, but he'll appear in the final as part of a boy band. Simon Cowell told him that he reminded him of Will Young - which is praise indeed!
Richard was in Fibre the other week and asked me if he could have his old job back, if it doesn't work out at the final. How feet-on-the-ground is that?!
Me in make-up for the first time ever
I'll be appearing in a reality TV show soon - I'll tell you more nearer the time - and I went to London last week for a photoshoot so that the programme makers have nice publicity shots of the participants.
I love to catch the train to London - I hate driving there - but traffic meant I missed my 8am train and didn't manage to board till 9.45am. In the rush to get ready, neither did I remember to bring my selection of outfits, as directed by the film company.
My range was 'jacket on' and 'jacket off' but thankfully they didn't seem to mind too much. By the time I arrived, fashionably late, it was lunchtime and all the other participants had been in for their photos.
I found some of them a bit loud and 'look at me' and didn't bother competing for attention as I happily tucked into the organic berries and posh sandwiches provided at the exclusive South Bank studio furnished with artfully dishevelled old furniture.
Despite having been on TV and invovled in photoshoots quite a few times, I've never been made up before - apart from when my mum's bought me something lovely for Christmas, ho ho! So it was quite amusing being buffed up to look presentable by a make-up artist - though I wasn't quite as orange as my friend Dale Winton.
I liked my new perfect skin tone so much that I kept it in place all the way home on the train. I'm thinking of employing a make-up artist full-time now!
Moyles - now even more mellow and mild