Charley Boorman: Ireland to Sydney by Any Means

My neighbour has a big garden and one summer a posh hippie was living in it. He spent the first month sleeping in a hole in the ground and the next one suspended from the trees in a hammock made from a potato sack. He was very friendly and enthusiastic and a thoroughly nice chap – and he got on your tits after about five minutes.  I think of him whenever I see the name ‘Charley Boorman’ anywhere in the tv listings. He’s a friendly enough sort, but there’s something about the fanny-faced tiggerish twat that does my fackin’ head in.

This time, Charley has dumped the ‘charismatic and interesting’ one Ewan McGregor and is travelling alone, just him, his producer and a cameraman. The plan is to get from Ireland to Sydney by any means necessary. In practise, this mainly involves travelling using different makes of car, van and motorbike. So if you’re not interested in cars, vans and motorbikes with a few other more comical forms of transport thrown in for the cameras, there’s nothing much else to see. Boorman isn’t known for his chat with the locals, and he doesn’t have Michael Palin’s warmth, charm and spontaneous wit. It’s not as easy as it looks to make these places come alive, particularly when you’re travelling through countries many of us have already been to.

This week, he planted his flag in a little-known part of the world called Venice. Apparantly the preferred method of transport there is something called a ‘gondola.’ Marvelous stuff, these lads have obviously done their homework. And did you know that the Arc de Triomphe is in Paris? I wondered where it was. I’ve been looking for that for ages. There was history too. Stopping off in Georgia, Charley uncovered the shocking revelation that Stalin wasn’t a very nice guy. ‘Stalin’ he informed us solemnly, ‘wasn’t a nice guy at all.’

We all have a friend who’s visited some obscure tribe in the arse-end of nowhere. They usually stay next-door to the witch doctor, or ‘Nutter’ as he’s known in English. Three weeks in, when they’ve gained the respect of the community they are allowed to smear themselves in someone else’s faeces and dance around with their dangly bits slapping about, drinking fermented yurt-juice. The dance is traditionally accompanied by all the children of the village pointing and laughing and then uploading the video onto youtube. The elders of the tribe meanwhile, are usually indoors sipping chilled Pepsi and watching Manchester United. On returning to Blighty, in the re-telling of their tale they can often make the whole experience sound as fascinating as the time that bloke turned up to fix the photocopier. Other folk, conversely, can have you riveted by their latest trip to Lidl.

My neighbour, the one with the garden, is a freelance journalist. The vast wealth he accummulates from this profession means that he usually travels everywhere by personalised coach & horses. Last week, one of the horses broke down and he had to travel by omnibus. He got more interesting stories just talking to people on the no 41 bus than most of us would get in a year travelling round Africa. And the number 41 isn’t a particularly fascinating bus. It goes from Cramond into Princes Street and nothing much happens along the way.

No doubt, if Charley Boorman embarked on this journey he’d go the first three stops by bus, move onto a space hopper for the second leg and conclude his trip by elephant. ‘How marvelous that was’ he’d say, jumping out enthusiastically at one of the locals. ‘Did you know that the 41 goes all the way from Cramond to Princes Street?’

‘Yes, we live here, you bouncy twat!’ the old lady would reply, before smacking him hard in the goolies.

At least this show served one purpose. Having spent an hour with Boorman, I don’t mind him so much now. He doesn’t really have what it takes to carry a show like this, but I think he means well. I’ve just looked him up on Wikipedia and the only two films he’s starred in were made by his father, noted director John Boorman. Combine that with the fact that he’s obviously got this series thanks to his partnership with Ewan McGregor, and you soon realise that all of his big breaks have come from piggybacking on the shoulders of friends and family. Ironically, this is the only means of transport he is yet to employ.

Postscript: Breaking news. The BBC have just released their autumn schedules and for Charley’s next trip he is once again teaming up with Ewan McGregor. This time, it’s a two-man sustained-erection power yomp across the Kalahari desert.  ‘Day 43 … Ewan’s stiffie is wilting somewhat, but mine’s remains proudly aloft. Oh, If only Daddy could see me now … ‘

(If you’re interested in watching this episode, it’s repeated tonight at 11.50 on BBC2)

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5 Responses to “Charley Boorman: Ireland to Sydney by Any Means”

  1. nursemyra Says:

    when’s he due in sydney? or has he been and gone already….

  2. charliemingles Says:

    gone I think, Im afraid nursey.

  3. charliemingles Says:

    I see charley boorman also has a wordpress blog. Yikes!

  4. daveselectricblanket Says:

    Sod Charle Boardman, or even Charlie Mingles, I still haven’t been told if Nurse Myra is a Lesbian! Are you a lesbian?

    But I always found the wrong way thingies self-absorbed and indulgent – a travel show removed of the culture or interest you actually watch a travel show for. Infact, they put in all the bits that are removed in normal shows leaving the boring crap, that’s sometimes used for continuity, instead.

    Very nice blog by the way. You did that clever personal experience thing and it made me aroused.

  5. charliemingles Says:

    sir dave – you should read the nurseys blog. that gives you a pretty good idea of her sexual preferences – anything and everything I think. but the nurse can speak for herself …

    Shes way too much woman for you though.

    or me probably.

    thank the sweet bejazus she lives in sydney. she’d kill me within a week.

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