The Duke - January 7, 2015

FACEBOOK FILTER Having 800 'friends' sounds fine but where are they when Robin's supping a pint in Poulton's The Thatched House? Still... it makes the round that bit cheaper..
FACEBOOK FILTER Having 800 'friends' sounds fine but where are they when Robin's supping a pint in Poulton's The Thatched House? Still... it makes the round that bit cheaper..
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A bit like early spring cleaning but not as tiring, I decided I’d filter out some of my Facebook “friends.”

Well, I’ve accrued more than 800 – which considering the number of occasions I spend drinking on my own in The Thatched House seemed a little excessive.

So I started with “friends” I’d no actual recollection of.

I mean I know my memory is poor, but not having the faintest idea who some people are is a few steps further down the road to premature senility than merely not remembering someone’s name when you bump into them in the supermarket.

That got rid of a few.

Then I decided to start on the people who sent the annoying end of 2014 message: “It’s been a great year, thanks for being part of it.”

Fine if it was a genuine and individual slice of gratitude for what I’d added to their last 12 months on Earth but after the first few dozen (often from the unknown people I’d just unfriended) it dawned that the cheery wish was about 
as much aimed at me personally as the “mind the gap” message at railway stations or “have a nice day” automated response of a McDonald’s staff member.

The trouble is that it would have meant I would have unfriended several family members and quite a few people who may actually be friends in real life rather than just on screen.

But to be honest I’d have preferred a couple of “2014 was a fairly average year but we got through it with a bit of help from those friends around us – such as you!”

Or even the odd “2014 sucked, things can only get better – I’d appreciate any support you can provide in 2015.”

So a few more bit the 

Then I fancied filtering out some of the “friends” who change their profile picture with monotonous regularity.

I stuck a picture on when I first begrudgingly joined Facebook (it was the reward offered by a summer show producer for someone to shoot me which prompted me to join, you may remember. If not, don’t worry I’m still here – touch wood?).

For the record it’s a picture I like – which is rare enough – 
so why swap it?

I hadn’t realised it at the time but although it was a great showcase for the borrowed suit I was wearing for a photo shoot, I’d somehow managed to decapitate 

No one complained but, yes, it left me open to remarks such as “I knew your head was big but didn’t know it wouldn’t fit in the frame at all.”

Anyway it took me ages to discover how to crop it into almost the right shape.

But Facebook can’t cope with things like that so flashed up to the world (or at least the 800+ “friends”) that it was a new picture – even though anyone who bothers to wonder who that bloke on his own in the Thatched is will know 
I’m older and carrying a few more pounds around these days.

Still, it wasn’t as bad as polishing up my status box only to message everyone “Robin Duke got married today.”

Because of that I leave as much as I can alone to avoid anything similar happening again.

Anyway, one of my brothers updates his picture at least twice a week so another great filtering idea bit the dust.

Then I thought I’d maybe just delete everyone whose spelling really annoys me.

And not just the ones who can’t tell their their from their there or where to wear what we once wore, let alone 
informing me we’re going out too/to/two the cinema.

Have I left anyone out 

Stage set for a royal rumpus

Imagine my surprise to discover that a former good showbusiness contact of mine from my days at The Gazette and more recently the co-director of Blackpool’s much publicised year round Illuminasia attraction in the Winter Gardens is about to be the bête noir of the West End?

Jon Conway, who produced umpteen summer season shows at the Grand Theatre and Opera House, as well as masterminding several successful pantomimes in the resort, has now put pen to something far more controversial.

After a couple of weeks of previews Truth, Lies, Diana finally opens at the 275-seat Charing Cross Theatre on Friday night and renews speculation over the affair between disgraced cavalry officer James Hewitt and Princess Diana.

Written by Jon – who also appears in it as a journalist seeking the truth of Diana’s 1997 death – it has already rattled the Daily Mail and Mail On Sunday which have both spent umpteen column centimetres condemning the publicity such subject matter will garner (anyone spot the obvious irony there?).

For his part, Hewitt says he has been misquoted (oh that old chestnut), hasn’t read the script (an oversight) and won’t be going to see the play (surprise?).

As for Jon, I hope there’s more play than panto in a plot involving what is, after all, a real princess.