Introducing The Eye’s brilliant new columnist Steve Tucker. Steve has written for the South Wales Echo, Western Mail and Wales on Sunday. His first volume of poetry ‘Royal Wedding Souvenir’ is about to be published.
There was a time when Steve was a cool name, a go-getter’s name. It was a name that summoned up images of derring-do, and offered a glimpse of some bright, glittering future.
But not anymore.
Sure it was ubiquitous back in the day, in the 1970s if a teacher said ‘Steve’ five kids put their hands up, a bit like Kanye or Prosecco today. Back then there was Steve McQueen, that epitome of Hollywood panache, even Wales’ own Steve Strange, who one day draped himself in his mum’s net curtains, put a light shade on his head and accidentally invented the New Romantic movement.
This is not something to be celebrated, however, as it actually led to Spandau Ballet having a career.
Now, sadly, the name Steve has become more hip replacement than hip. Suddenly Steve is the name of the bloke urging you to pay for your own funeral during the ad break in Countdown.
By the way, since when did I have to foot the bill for my own funeral? Surely that is the one day you deserve a free ride?
Anyway, Steves are now being used to tempt people to change their utilities supplier. They are hanging out with Hannah Gordon and getting excited by the prospect of a free Parker pen for taking out extra life insurance.
Steves are being flung out of electric armchairs because they are too decrepit to stand, proudly riding starlifts and sitting in strange baths with a weird door in them because basically, well, we are all past it.
We are, whisper it, middle aged.
Now, there are various ways to tell you have become middle aged. For example, one starts getting excited about half an hour before Pointless starts. If you accidentally tune into Radio 1 it sounds like someone screaming in Serbo-Croat whilst an industrial angle-grinder goes off in the background, and if you see Justin Bieber’s face you want to punch it, although this desire can occur at any age.
I was musing on all this the other day whilst having a biopsy on my prostate. I’ll spare you the gory details, just suffice it to say Dr Frankenstein would probably have balked at carrying one out for fear of it being too intrusive.
The University of Wales Heath Hospital’s urology department is a cool place to hang out, particularly if you like strange people putting things up your bum.
Don’t get me wrong, the staff are fantastic despite the fact that, under the present government, they are paid in colostomy bags and signed photos of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s money.
How did I end up in such an undignified position? Well, it seems one thing that does improve with age is your desire to want a pee at inopportune moments. 4am? No problem. Let’s get up and wee.
Walking your daughter down the aisle at her wedding? Ditto. Helping carry out strategic diplomatic talks between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un? Excuse me gents and don’t do anything stupid while I’m away. I mean, things got so bad that when someone mentioned recently that The Shape of Water had earned 13 Oscar nominations…well…you get the picture.
So it was I found myself lying on my side while it felt like a bloke inserted the Complete Works of Shakespeare up my back passage. Funnily enough the bloke doing this, whose name strangely has slipped my mind, looked a lot like an ageing Morrissey. An ageing Morrissey being exactly how Morrissey looks now in case you are in any doubt.
Now, being a massive Smiths’ fan and not adverse to some experimentation in my youth, I had at times fantasised about Morrissey doing something like this to me, but this was hardly the time or the place and, anyway, I was pretty sure this guy didn’t write Girlfriend in a Coma.
On the musical front actually, whilst I clenched my teeth and tried to think of nicer things, (like Boris Johnson falling down a mine shaft) The Best of The Doors was playing on a hidden CD player.
I’ve always worshipped The Doors. When they played I always felt a sense of liberation, a communion with Jim Morrison’s anarchic spirit, but now every time I hear Riders on the Storm my sphincter tightens and tears spring to my eyes.
The results of my probing, I am glad to say, showed no signs of anything worrying in that area of my body.
But I urge you, I implore you even, hug a Steve today, love a Steve today. We may be unhip, we may try to talk you into taking a coach holiday in the Ruhr Valley, we may disappear for a wee 10 times during an episode of Blue Planet, but enjoy us while you can. You see, we Steves are not going to be around forever.
Now excuse me please, nature calls. Again.