‘Company, villainous company, hath been the spoil of me.’

Laurence Inman has body-image issues but, in his quest for the Thin Man, he might have found the answer with a new invention.

The sight of all those bronzed, lithe, tight, lean muscles doing impossibly twisty things over the last few weeks has made up my mind.

I must get body back. The body I had in 1972. The one that caused women to drop their shopping and gape after me in the street. The terror of every outside left in the South Manchester Junior League. (Yes, even the psychopathic one who played for Wythenshaw Boys.)

I haven’t smoked a fag or of drink partaken for two decades. My only health-enemy now is weight.

I have no idea how this happened. I don’t eat vast amounts. I exercise regularly. What’s especially mystifying and irritating is that when I did eat enough for five I was so thin I made Twiggy look like Johnny Vegas. I was the man who, in 1969, ate a whole Chicken Byriani at The Plaza on Upper Brook Street, Manchester.

Ah, The Plaza! Only students dared enter its famed portals. The CB, easily big enough for two, or even three, cost 3/6d. That’s 18p in new money. All male students made it their ambition to eat a whole one alone. I was the person who managed it. Not only that, I was so drunk I forgot the curry sauce and drank it straight down immediately afterwards.

For three years I lived on chips, fry-ups, Marston’s Pedigree and roll-ups. And at the end of it I was still a sleek ten stones. These days, if I eat one packet of crisps which weighs a gram, I put on thirty pounds. That’s true.

Just as I stopped seeing the point of smoking and drinking, I now find over-consumption of food slightly distasteful. I can’t do restaurants any more. I can’t stand sitting around waiting for the next plate of ponced-up crap-to-be, having to endure the sight of other people scoffing, gobbling and shrieking.

So I’m starting my final diet. This is for life. I invented it myself and it has an inestimable advantage over all the others: it’s free. For one of a Brummie persuasion, that’s the clincher.

I call it The Wind In The Willows Diet.

There are seven elements to it, which you can eat when, where and how you like. They are:








I’m starting off on the vegetarian option, so my daily regimen is this:

Breakfast: water

Lunch: mud

Dinner: weeds

You do that for a week, then reverse the order. And so on.

If you don’t lose five stones in the first year then I’m a quail’s egg poached in a delicate rose-petal sauce.

Bon appetit!