Full gas and phone fraud

The past week has been a strange one of mostly non-blog-worthy stuff. It’s during weeks like this that it feels like the business of running a business gets in the way of the actual business, which in this case is The Cycling Podcast. There was a meeting with the accountants, some travel to book and some plans to make.

On Saturday evening I drove down to Feltham, where Sean Kelly and Rob Hatch were staying before commentating on Paris-Roubaix for Eurosport the following day. I talked to Sean for an episode I’m making for Friends of the Podcast and then we had dinner with Rob – Declan Quigley joined us midway through too – and talked about the following day’s race.

The hotel’s Italian restaurant was only moderately busy but the poor chef behind the pass looked stretched to breaking point. There was a long wait for the starters, and then another delay for the main course. I went for gnocchi with sausage and charred radicchio. Unfortunately, the gnocchi was not good – rubbery and dense like little squash balls and with a watery film clinging to the surface. The radicchio was not so much charred as burnt. But by far the least palatable thing was that there was a very unpleasant waft coming over from a neighbouring table at intervals regular enough to suggest the culprit ought to make an appointment with a bowel specialist. They were rugby fans who had been to the match at Twickenham that afternoon and had possibly spent all day on the booze. While I don’t wish to embarrass or shame the guilty party too much it won’t take a genius to work out that whoever it was going ‘full gas’ in a public dining area supported the team from the West Country.

On Sunday I learned that someone had fraudulently attempted to upgrade my mobile phone contract and order a new handset. Bizarrely, the phone was due to be delivered to my home address, so it clearly wasn’t the work of criminal masterminds. When I explained to the woman in the phone company’s customer service department that I had not requested an upgrade she said that it should have rung alarm bells with whoever took the initial call because, ‘It’s not often someone chooses to swap an iPhone for a Samsung Galaxy.’

The woman said that the phone company’s records showed that someone had rung up on Sunday afternoon claiming to be me. The next step, she said, was that their fraud department would listen to the call and compare the voice to my actual voice in the call I was making now to see if it was the same person. I’m now braced for the revelation that someone has constructed a conversation by splicing up bits of my voice from The Cycling Podcast in the manner of Cassette Boy or that scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off where the teacher visits truanting Ferris’s house and rings the doorbell, which triggers tape recordings of Ferris’s voice.

Perhaps I shouldn't give people any ideas.