The Thing Is with Steve Canavan

Visits to a dermatology specialist and herbal practitioners as a youth had little positive effect
Visits to a dermatology specialist and herbal practitioners as a youth had little positive effect
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I am 41-years-old and yet the other day woke up to discover a spot of quite epic proportions on my chin.

Now I don’t wish to be dramatic but the spot was so red and so large the woman serving me in Sainsbury’s put on a protective mask and called the pharmacist over.

I suffered quite badly with spots when I was younger. I recall in my teenage years staring miserably at my acne-ridden face in the mirror and my dad walking in and saying, cheerily, ‘don’t worry it’s only you that notices them’. Which was very nice of him but a complete lie - at school my nickname was Spotty Steve, so I’m fairly sure a few of my class-mates had noticed.

They were the bane of my teenage years and beyond those damn spots and my mother, bless her, devoted much of her time trying to help cure the problem.

When conventional treatments from the GP had failed (I once spent six months diligently applying a foul-smelling ointment to my cheeks morning and night; at the end of the six months the number of spots on my face had quadrupled and I smelt terrible), she took me to a fella she had read about it in the local paper, who used herbal remedies which he promised could cure anything from mild flatulence to chronic heart disease.

He was called Ivor, wore glasses so large Denis Taylor would have rejected them as over-the-top, and even now, 20 years on, I can picture him saying to my mother, ‘now admittedly there is no actual scientific evidence these pills work and most doctors will tell you not to touch them with a barge-pole, but rest assured they will make a difference madam – that will be £39.99 for eight tablets’.

I spent years taking stuff like this to no avail. My spots clearly liked my face and were determined to remain there, which they did until I was well into my 20s.

On top of that - in what was one of the most depressing episodes of my life - I also, at one point, came down with urticaria, a skin condition which left me covered from head to toe in ugly red blotches. This combined with my acne left me looking like one of those people you see in the papers when a medical experiment in a secret lab in Cambridge goes wrong.

At the height of my problems, I visited a dermatology specialist at a hospital in Manchester. As I walked in the room, he visibly straightened and whispered to his assistant, ‘christ almighty, I’ve never seen anything like that before’, before picking up the camera and taking pictures of me as if I was a rare species that urgently needed documenting.

Anyway, eventually, and mercifully, my skin problems cleared up and at the age of about 30 I became the incredibly good looking chap you see at the top of this page.

However, what annoys me is that occasionally, even though I’m in my fourth decade on this planet and my skin should really have settled down and started behaving itself, I still get the odd spot.

And so it was yesterday morning when I woke to discover this hideous blemish on my chin.

I rushed to Boots the chemist and spent an excessive amount of money on something called a Miracle Blemish Stick which, according to the instructions on the side of the packet, I was meant to rub lightly on the spot to cover it up. It would, the wording assured me, ‘makes blemishes invisible to the human eye’. This claim, I must concede, is absolutely true but only because it covers the spot in a thick yellow substance that looks a bit like a tub of cream left in warm sunlight for a couple of weeks on the kitchen surface. It looked so hideous I wiped it off; the appearance of the actual spot was preferable.

Those folk with beautiful, spot-free skin do not realise how lucky they are.

Right, I must dash, I’m off to see a herbal specialist I’ve heard about for some tablets...

Baby talk? Feel free to give me a good slap

It’s happened. I’ve become one of those people who speaks in a weird child-like voice in public to their baby.

I’ve always previously distrusted those folk. You know the ones I’m talking about, those parents who, in the middle of the queue in Tesco, will say to their child in loud tones things like, ‘upse daisi, who’s been a bad boy then, wobba wubba woo’. In other words they act like imbeciles just because they’ve a child with them.

I vowed I’d never do it, yet there I was purchasing some Felix in Jelly Salmon and Trout flavour for the cat when, Mary, my four-week-old daughter, started whimpering in her pram and I instinctively responded, ‘there there, coochy coo, let’s have no tears for daddy’ in a tone of voice I didn’t even recognise as my own.

No one else in the queue batted an eyelid but rarely have I felt so ashamed of myself. I’d become the type of person I thought I’d never be.

Worse still, when I got home, as I entered the front door I said, ‘let’s see where mummy is’. Mummy. MUMMY. My wife has a name, she isn’t my mummy.

I do believe being a parent is making me go insane. If you hear me speaking in this way in public, feel free to walk over and lightly slap my face.