By The Rivers of Gloucester Road

I have a friend who works at the bar in the Holiday Inn in Gloucester Road. Whenever I see him he regales me with stories of some of the formerly famous guests that come to enjoy one of his sumptuous and creative cocktails. One such tale that absolutely captivated me involved Liz Mitchell, who was the lead female vocalist in Boney M. Apparently, she loves a bit of the strong stuff and at least twice a month is to be found in the hotel bar singing some of her group’s classics. One evening as she was just starting an a cappella rendition of By the Rivers of Babylon, Alex Reid stood up from a previously obscured position and provided musical accompaniment with a harmonica. It was about 1.30am and i’ll have to quote my friend verbatim here and apologise for his propensity for foul language: ‘Mate, there were about 7 people in the bar and they all fucking lost it. I swear, they were up on the tables, speaking in tongues, getting their fucking lils [breasts] out and everything. It was quality. Reidy absolutely smashed it.’ Who is this man? This mysterious musical man?

Alex Reid, former sex slave, bisexual transvestite, MMA fighter, Celebrity Big Brother winner and prodigious harmonica player. A complete blend of the most fascinating contradictions. I am favourably inclined towards Alex. His face, bent out of shape by a negatively slanted MMA win/loss record, reminds me of The Head from Art Attack. A great show with great memories. Resultantly, he wasn’t even on the radar until my creatively inspired cousin Rachael Walshe sent me a message asking that I pitch a show called Beefcakes and Cupcakes, mentioning that it might involve Alex Reid. I took her idea and knocked up an email, before sending it over to Alex Reid’s agent:


I’m enquiring about the availability of Mr Reid for a show I am hoping to put together called Beefcakes vs. Cupcakes. I’m already in contact with Mary Berry’s management, who have expressed their interest in the show and Alex was first on my list of ‘beefcakes’.

Taking a Masterchef style format, the show will involve some of TVs well-known hard men, as they battle each other in the ultimate arena; the kitchen!!

I would be very grateful if you could let me know if this would be something Alex would consider. I look forward to hearing from you.

An hour later, I got this back:

Thank you for you thinking of Alex!

It’s a yes from this end – please send on details!

Best Wishes,


It’s hard to describe the feelings that come with getting a reply from a celebrity’s agent. It’s like you’re visiting an old manor house and are on a guided tour. Lingering at the back of the group, paused by some pictures as the guide explains their significance, you try the handle on one of the side doors leading off the corridor and it opens. That’s the feeling. Something you thought was probably off limits, is shown to no longer be. So when you hear back from one of these agents, especially when taking the piss, you’ve just gotten a small bit of access to a world that is generally presented to the public as being off limits; accessible only through the TV screen or the pages of a glossy magazine. It’s curiously exciting.I left it for almost a month before replying, mainly because I didn’t know where to go with it next. Eventually I put this response together:

Hi Kirsty,

That’s brilliant. Sorry have taken so long to get back to you, I’ve actually been in Lesotho for the last three weeks working on something, and had a nightmare of a time getting internet access.

Regarding the show, I’m still waiting to hear back from Geoff Capes and Mike Lewis (Saracen from Gladiators), but have had a positive response from Steve McFadden and Ricky Grover. I have a meeting next week with an associate at Firecracker and want to pitch this full on. What I’ve asked from the other guys is for each of them to come up with a name for a cake or dessert. So, for example, Ricky sent over ‘Bulla’s Bang On Battenberg’. I want to do a presentation that has a Stats slide. Name, Hometown, Age, Favourite Cake etc. If Alex could come up with anything, that would be ideal, e.g. Alex’s Muscly Meringues.

And bless her, she responded quickly with:

I will be back to you Monday with Reidinator’s Raspberry Roulade and more!

Best wishes,


Ps- Mike is a dear old friend of mine!

‘Mike is a dear old friend of mine’. Errr what?? Would you Adam and Eve it? I purposely picked what I thought was one of the more obscure Gladiators and they were old friends. This twisted celebrity world never fails to surprise me. Kirsty never got back to me and I haven’t chased her up any further. Perhaps Geoff Capes was never destined to bake-off against Phil Mitchell, and who am I to mess with fate?


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