The Thing Is with Steve Canavan - October 6, 2016

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As you may recall Mrs Canavan is pregnant and I’m worried because - I’ll be honest here - I don’t really like babies.

At family gatherings, when a relation who’s recently given birth wanders into the room with a new-born in her arms, everyone will jump from their seats, form a kind of rugby-scrum around them, and says things like ‘aw, isn’t she beautiful or ‘my, he’s a real cutie isn’t he’.

They don’t even speak normally, adopting a strange tone of voice and using language only heard when communicating with a baby.

‘Ah b-b-b-b-b-b-b,’ someone will babble incoherently.

Then another bystander will add, ‘Coochie coochie coo’, a phrase that, unless I missed some vital part of a school English lesson many years ago, means absolutely nothing.

While all this is going on, I sit in the corner and continue watching the footie on TV, perhaps turning up the volume a little to make a point.

I think the problem I have with babies is that they’re just not very interesting.

As far as I can tell they spend the first six months of their life either defecating wildly into their nappies or crying - or doing both at the same time.

There is not really much to like about them. They don’t tell gags, they can’t juggle, and not once have I seen a baby help out with family chores, such as wash a car or put the bin out.

The size of them frightens me too, for they look so small and fragile and, well, breakable.

It is the reason I have never in my life held a baby.

Whenever a friend asks if I want to hold their child, I’ll politely decline and say I’m suffering from an outbreak of shingles.

What worries me is that I’ll drop it.

I’ve always been terrible at holding on to things. I rarely go a week, for instance, without accidentally smashing a dinner-plate.

Mrs Canavan’s parents bought us a very expensive set of 12 as a wedding present from a pricey shop in Manchester and over the last nine months I have – and this is absolutely true - dropped five of them.

‘What was that crashing noise?’ Mrs Canavan will shout from upstairs on an almost weekly basis. ‘Oh nothing,’ I’ll say, while racing to grab the dustpan and brush and to sweep away the million pieces of shattered china scattered across the kitchen floor before she comes down to investigate.

I must add, before you think I’m a terrible person, that I do like children a lot when they get to an age of about 12 months, when they start sleeping more than three hours a night and begin to form a personality and character.

Thus what I’m thinking of doing after she’s given birth, is moving away for year, possibly taking a holiday or two in, say, Australia and South America, and then returning when the child reaches an age that I consider more acceptable. I’ve not run this plan past Mrs Canavan yet but I can’t think of any reason why she’d be against the idea.

I shall definitely be there for the actual birth though. I know some men don’t like the idea of being in the delivery room but I believe it’s crucial to do one’s bit.

I’m planning to take my guitar and, at the moment when Mrs Canavan is in most suffering, to sing her a gentle, soothing ballad I’ve penned called Stop Complaining (You’re Only Having A Baby).

It starts: ‘When giving birth women don’t half complain; you should try getting kicked on the shin playing football now that’s real pain.’

She’ll love it.

Dedication... that’s what I need I suppose

I cannot let this week pass without offering my congratulations to four Norwegian chefs who have broken the world record for the largest sushi mosaic.

It measured 608 feet (smashing the previous Japanese-held record by 150 feet) and included more than 1,600kg of salmon, rice, vinegar, cucumber and chives.

The best bit of all is that the mosaic was constructed at a football ground and the whole thing was served to fans at a match later that evening.

Beats a cold chicken Balti pie at half-time.

As regular readers will know, I am fascinated by the Guinness Book of Records and always amazed by the lengths some people will go to set a record.

A young couple in Bangkok, for instance, recently broke the record for longest kiss by locking their mouths together for – get this – 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds. Astonishing. They must have had to use Lypsyl for months afterwards.

Another recent favourite of mine is a Chinese chap called Gao Bingguo, who broke the record for most bees on a human body. As Mr Bingguo sat on a chair in a pair of underpants (presumably because there are certain places you really don’t want to get stung in), 30 hives – that’s one million bees - were poured over his head. He was stung more than 200 times from head to toe but, remarkably, managed to continue smoking a cigarette throughout the whole thing.

The fella may be insane but what a great anecdote to tell at a dinner-party.