I HAD an uncomfortable dream the other night, brought about by reading that Peter Capaldi and his wife Elaine Collins were selling their four-bed north London property.
In their kitchen is a framed poster of Malcolm Tucker, Capaldi's fearsome enforcer from In the Loop and The Thick of It. In the dream, for some reason, I had shown up at the flat as a prospective buyer. Tucker answered the door.
"What the **** do you want at this time of day?" he snapped.
Taken aback, I stammered something about wanting to view the house.
He stared at me with mock incredulity. Aeons passed. I could feel myself shrivelling under his penetrating gaze.
"What in the name of God makes you think you could afford the asking-price, sonny?" He looked me up and down, and sneered. "*****!! And where did you get that suit? Discount day at the Barras? Was it the last suit on the rail at a charity shop?"
My blood ran cold. How did he know?
"Come back once you've made an appointment with the estate agent," he snarled. "And get yourself a decent ******* suit next time."
I can't be sure, but I think the slamming of the door masked a parting four-letter insult.
I knocked again, with trepidation.
Tucker opened it furiously. He stepped out, put his face very close to mine, and spoke quietly but with distinct menace.
"Listen very carefully. If you remain on this doorstep for one second longer I'm going to shove that cheap faux-leather briefcase of yours where you'll never see it again."
In time - and don't ask me how I did it - I got access to the property. Very well appointed it was, too. Stylish dining-room with original fireplace. French doors leading to a compact garden.
Tucker, true to form, was Tucker. Insult after stiletto-sharp insult. In the kitchen, he smiled lazily. "Careful under these halogen lights, sonny. Don't want to burn that bald bonce of yours, do we?"
Later, I admired some rather expensive ornaments on a coffee table. "Don't even think about it," he said. "I'll frisk you on the way out."
It all ended badly, as I knew it would. He asked me how much I would offer, and I admitted it was substantially less than his £1.27 million asking-price.
It provoked a torrent of Tucker invective that only ended when, mercifully, I woke up.
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