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Saturday, 23 August 2014

Aye, robot

This week I have mostly been meeting robots.

We were due to chat to Red Dwarf's Kryten, as I mentioned last weekend, in the person of actor Robert Llewellyn, and I'll get to that in a minute. First I have to tell you about Professor Dikcarver, the Harley Street surgeon who plans to use his pet robot to remove several parts of my anatomy that I'd rather like to keep.

So he's sat behind a desk the size of Ayrshire, wearing a suit that even to my uneducated eye looks like it cost more than my last three cars, and he's telling me all about the operation and using a plastic model with lifelike, but not quite life-size, dangly bits, to illustrate which parts I'm going to lose and how much fun it'll be without them, and I got to admit he is impressive. But then I ask about costs and he makes an airy gesture with the back of his hand to wave the grubby topic away from him.

"Speak to my secretary," he says. "I take no interest in money."

I do so and the bottom line is that it's £25,000 in used bills in a large brown envelope as soon as you like, pal. So there's food for thought and I will keep you posted on my fundraising efforts. In the meantime all contributions to Blane Mansions, Killearn will be gratefully received.

But what's so wrong with the NHS, I hear you say, and I'll tell you. You can't get robot-assisted prostate surgery on the National Health in Scotland, only in England. If you're Scottish and want the robot it costs you an arm and a leg. So not only will making love be difficult after the operation, but if you even try to cuddle a woman, you'll fall on your arse.

I know my readers are a knowledgeable crowd, keen for all the facts, so let me give you the skinny on the prostate robots. They are used all over the world nowadays - except for viewers in Scotland - in a range of minimally invasive surgical procedures, most commonly hysterectomies and prostatectomies. Shorter procedures, faster recovery and better outcomes are the benefits. 

The machine is called a da Vinci robot, after the Italian creative genius Leonardo Robot, who invented helicopters and the Mona Lisa. We'll get one in Scotland eventually, maybe even next year, but if you fancy being used as practice by a bunch of macho surgeons with a brand new toy, good luck to you, son.

At this point I should get to the interview with Robert Llewellyn, which took place in a posh café in Cirencester and lasted two hours, during which he and my Glasgow Science Festival colleague got outside a small shitload of pain aux raisins, washed down with girly lattés, while I stuck to manly black coffee.

This led to a discussion about whether Robert is gay. In his youth people kept telling him he was and just hadn't realised it, he says. He was long-haired, pretty and had lots of gay friends that he really liked, because they made him laugh. "The thing is I fancied women," he says. "Mind you my son did once write, 'Gayest dad in the world', in the dirt on my electric car."

More from our entertaining chat will follow soon - and even more at our Three Minute Learning resource, which I won't link to again as we're getting lots of subscribers and I don't want to spend the rest of my life, however short once da Vinci gets his manipulators on my fleshy parts, doing endless admin.

So what about the photo up above showing what it's like after the operation, I hear you say. It seems to suggest that I will not only emerge unscathed and dashingly handsome, but will also be able to suavely dip a smiling woman. I am looking forward to that.

On the few occasions I've tried it in the past it has ended badly. Women can be surprisingly heavy for their size and once you get them into the position in that picture there is no way to get them up again, with a dodgy back like mine. So after a while you just have to drop them on the floor. 

That kind of thing puts a strain on a relationship, I can tell you, especially if the floor is made of concrete, and these experiences have taught me a valuable lesson that I'm going to share with you now, because this blog is educational and not just mindless entertainment.

Women don't bounce.

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