In the latest of our series of interviews, Graham Bandage talks to Todd Cleethorpes, the third man on the moon.
Graham Bandage: Todd Cleethorpes, thank you for this telephone interview. Now, you were the third man on the moon.
Todd Cleethorpes: Tell me something I don’t know, asshole.
GB: What? Erm, Alan Arkin wrote The Banana Boat Song.
GB: You asked me for a little-known fact.
TC: You’re yanking my chain! The Day-o song?
GB: The very one.
TC: That’s amazing! Hey, Louette, did you know Alan Arkin wrote The Banana Boat Song?
What? Yeah, “Day-o, Daaaaay-o, Daylight come and me want to go home.” So it wasn’t Harry Belafonte?
GB: No. I can’t help feeling we’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent.
TC: Well, you threw me that stick of dynamite. I don’t suppose you know what a tally man is?
GB: No. Anyway, back to your being the third man on the moon…
TB: I always liked that song. Don’t know many other Harry Belafonte songs. Now, Johnny Mathis, he was great. “Look at meee… I’m as helpless as a kitten in a treeeee…..”
GB: Erm, the moon …?
TC: Look, what do you want to know? It’s big, it’s round, it’s made out of rock. It’s the moon, for Chrissake. Do you have any more of those facts? They’re like gold dust.
GB: Or moon dust.
TC: Just shut up about the stinking moon already.
GB: Sorry. Erm, the distance between your wrist and your elbow is the same as the length of your foot.
TC: Yeah, knew that.
GB: It’s just that, well, I really did want to touch on your trip to the moon.
TC: Moon! Moon, moon, moon, moon, moon! That’s all anybody wants to talk about. It was 39 years ago. Get the hell over it.
GB: Maybe just a couple of questions?
TC: One question. Just one. And you’ve bought it with your, frankly sensational, Alan Arkin fact. And then you can crawl back under whatever rock you came from.
GB: Ace! OK, my question is, what’s Neil Armstrong really like?
TC: Do you know what? Do you really want to know what Armstrong is like? Do you? Do you really, huh? Do you?
GB: Erm… yes?
TC: That man is the messiest sonovabitch I ever came across. You wanna know why I went to the moon? To clear up. You have no idea what sort of state he left it in. Coke bottles, Mars bar wrappers..
GB: Mars bar. Were there any Milky Way and Galaxy wrappers as well?
TC: Just shut up. Shut up. Newspapers, cigarette butts. He must have brought them with him! Aldrin was even worse. He dumped a mattress. A freakin’ mattress! Third man on the moon. The THIRD man on the freakin’ moon and I have to tidy up. Didn’t see the earth hanging in an inky black sky carpeted with glittering stars like a beautiful bright blue marble. Wanna know why? Because I had to get chewing gum off my moon boot. I spent four hours on the moon. And three hours of that hoovering.
GB: I see…
TC: No, you asshole, you don’t see. Listen, I fly to the moon – and that’s not easy, let me tell you – just to clear up some other guys’ mess. And who remembers me? Armstrong? Sure. Aldrin? The nearly man. Michael Collins? Everybody remembers him. Sonovabitch didn’t even set foot on the moon. Jim Lovell! JIM LOVELL! Bastard messes up, didn’t even make it to the moon and Tom freakin’ Hanks plays him in a movie! But number three – me – I get no respect. And the gum gets all stuck in the ridges.
GB: Could I just ask one more question?
TC: Depends on whether you have a great fact, because now, RIGHT NOW, I want to rip your stupid head off..
GB: I’ve just remembered one! Hedy Lamarr invented radar.
TC: The actress from the golden age of Hollywood, or the guy out of Blazing Saddles?
GB: The actress. The guy was Hedley Lamaar.
TC: Gosh willikers! Hedy Lamaar. Hey, Louette, Hedy Lamaar invented radar. What? Oh, she knew. All right, one more question.
GB: Have you ever been to Cleethorpes?
GB: Todd Cleethorpes, thank you.