Having too much time on one's hands is something many of us can only dream about. And last week I found myself at the loosest of ends as I limbered up for the next stage of my career; a triumphant act two as opposed to that tricky second album. I hope.
I was determined to enjoy a little self indulgence, which is why I decided to tick off the most attainable entry on my bucket list and try my hand at Radio 2’s Popmaster.
If you have ever employed a tradesman then you know that you can forget that boiler service between 10.30am and roughly 10.50am as a large chunk of the nation downs tools while Ken Bruce, the high priest of easy listening, poses the latest instalment of pop brainteasers.
I have tried and failed to get on numerous times over the past decade but last week it was my time to join the Parthenon of armchair music aficionados and wow the United Kingdom with the breadth of my knowledge.
After a nervy wait, I was talked through key ground rules; the main one being that I was going to be live to the nation and I was to mind my language, an instruction guaranteed to strike fear into the heart of anybody who has spent more than half a day in a lively newsroom.
My opponent was Helen, a very pleasant sounding school teacher from Perthshire.
I listened down the phone as she valiantly battled through her questions – quite a few of which I got. Her score was a modest 12 points out of a possible 39 although that made me even more nervous.
After dispensing with the pleasantries, I took a deep breath and took my place in the spotlight and, as it turned out, did rather badly. My score was a miserable nine, although I had my chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, only to mix up the Faces with the Small Faces.
My shame was real and Kindly Ken could barely hide his dismay that a grown man would not know all the hits of The Clash and The Human League.
But still, I have taken delivery of the coveted ‘One Year Out’ T-shirt, even though I got that particular question right.
For once, I think I used my free time wisely.