Shazia Mirza’s Weekend Column

Trust is not what it used to be. When I was growing up, I was allowed to trust everyone. Even the “Polo man”, an old guy who used to stand on street corners in Birmingham giving sweets to kids. Nowadays if you did that, you would be labelled “abit simple” or a paedophile.

I really had to trust my manager this week when I went to perform in Liverpool. She told me I would be staying in “Norman’s house”. “Who is Norman?” I asked. “He is a man, who allows comedians to stay in his house, it’s quite normal.”

I got a cab, not knowing where I was going or recognising any landmarks, until I saw a sign for Bootle. I knew the name, as I remembered that to be the shopping centre where James Bulger had been abducted. It’s worrying when you can identify a place only by its murders.

I arrived at Norman’s house, a friendly man with a vast collection of tattoos spreading from his wrist to his neck. He opened the door and said, “Oh, you’re a woman. I wasn’t expecting a woman; I’ve only had men staying here before.” I assured him I wouldn’t paint his house pink, fill his bath with shoes and put candles everywhere. He showed me round and said, “There are no locks on any of the doors, but don’t worry, Iwon’t barge in with amachete.” What a bargain for £25 a night. In the wardrobe there was ared flowered Hawaiian shirt. I immediately felt safe. No one who wears a shirt like that could commit a murder.

Norman turned out to be a lovely man who defied his appearance. He bought me a new bed sheet and made me hot chocolate before going to sleep. I’m sure Fred West never did that for his tenants.

When I’m in Liverpool, I always feellike a vagabond. They have a culture of dressing up all the time. For some girls it’s a career choice, inthe hope they may meet amillionaire footballer at their launderette or local post office. I saw a woman at two in the afternoon putting out the rubbish in high heels, miniskirt, boob tube, false nails and false eyelashes. Ithought, I hope she hasn’t just dressed up to put the bins out. Andif she has, what would she wearfor a night out? A chandelier?

I was booked to fly to Glasgow from Heathrow this week. I missed my flight, as I got carried away cleaning shelves while dancing to Kylie. I said to the woman behind the desk, “Do I really need to check in two hours beforehand, even for Glasgow?” Shesaid, “Especially for Glasgow.”

I arrived at Heathrow Terminal 5, to find an extraordinary amount of people looking as if they were about to perform open-heart surgery – all wearing surgical masks.

My friend’s daughter has swine flu. She says it’s just like normal fluand the media are hyping it up. I think it’s because it’s got afunny name. Ireckon it’ll be cow flu next. In afewyears they’ll be teaching Old McDonald Had A Farm to medical students instead of school children. Can we not have something a bit more exotic? Like penguin flu.

Anyway, having missed my flight I had to sit in a cafe, watching a rotating silver Lamborghini, with a label on its windscreen saying, “You could win this car.” The two men trying to promote the car were also wearing masks – a bit of a difference from two naked models draped coquettishly across the bonnet.

I arrived at Glasgow airport to find Japanese tourists taking photos of the building. One asked me, “Is this where a Scottish man punched asuicide bomber in the face?” I said, “Yes. Nothing interferes with a Scotsman and his holiday.”

It’s amazing how a terrorist attack can increase tourist potential. Imight drive a burning car into my flat and then do guided tours round my garden. I could pose for photos as I take out the bins in my trendy new surgical mask. Terrorism should never be glamorised, but what next? A wax work of Osama bin Laden at Madame Tussauds?