This week I was the victim of another terrorist attack in London, which made none of the headlines, and I was asked to start the Tree-Athlon in Battersea Park on Saturday morning. This is a five-kilometre run to raise money to plant trees all over London and make it look more like the Bahamas, and less like a Poundshop car park.
A few days earlier I had agreed to go on LBC radio at nine o’clock in the morning and be interviewed by someone on the phone regarding the run. I was in bed. They said: “Shazia, you will be on after the news.” I said: “OK, thanks”, and as I waited to go on I lay in bed listening to the bleak news. Someone had been murdered, the banks were in trouble, and fat children are on the rise. Then the presenter came on. “Hello Shazia, what’s all this you’re doing for trees? How far do they have to run? And where will you be planting the trees? And while I’ve got you on the line, you may have just heard the news there. Some young Asian boys have just been arrested for terrorism. What do you think of that? What do you think of terrorism? What can we do about it?”
It’s like asking the Archbishop of Canterbury if he enjoys anal sex.
I said: “Look, I just tell jokes. I don’t know anything about terrorism.” “But what do you think can be done about it?” he asked. “I don’t know. I thought I was here to talk about trees.” A few awkward silences later, and with me remaining patient and polite, the conversation came to its natural conclusion. But one of these days I’m going to say: “Are you black? Could you tell me what you think about Lenny Henry, reggae and smoking weed? Are you white? Can you tell me why you can’t dance, why you keep apologising and why you spend half your life on a sunbed?”
I only wanted to support the trees of London. I didn’t realise that every time I open my mouth, I’m expected to represent my entire race, and explain why young boys want to blow themselves up rather than work at PC World. I would have thought that was obvious.
I really feel for Obama. If he wins he’s going to have to be amazing. Anything less will mean he has let down every single black person in the entire universe. I just hope he doesn’t get asked to go on LBC to talk about trees.
A few days ago I went to my bank. The woman in the queue ahead of me shouted very loudly to the cashier: “Lehman Brothers has gone bust; I don’t know what the fuss is about. It’s got nothing to do with us!”
On Saturday night I was walking through Soho and realised the credit crunch has affected some of us worse than expected. It was crammed with girls wearing one piece of dental floss and shoes with heels resembling knitting needles. I came out of my gig and stood on the streets watching. I accost drunk people, it’s the best way of extracting information. I turn into Detective Sergeant Bergerac. I said to one girl, who could only stand up when supported by a postbox: “You’d never think there was a credit crisis would you?” She said: “Well, I’m really lucky. My husband’s loaded, so I don’t have to work, so it don’t affect me. Do you work?” she asked. “Yes, every night,” I replied. “I admire that. I really think that’s something.” Admiration for people who work? Next, we’ll be giving people awards for washing themselves.
I felt a bit stupid. It seems the only way to beat the recession is to marry a rich man. And the only way to get a man is to wear an elastic band. So either my jumpers, tracksuits and socks go into the skip or it’s time I filed for bankruptcy. Never mind, if it comes to the worst I could always palm myself off as an international consultant on terrorism, or get a job with the Metropolitan Police. I’ve heard they’ve got a couple of vacancies.