When I’m up to date with my podcasts, I tend to listen to BBC Radio 4 on my drive to (or from) work. A bit of news in the morning, sometimes punctuated by my shouting at a guest (normally a politician) who doesn’t share my point of view. Ridiculous really, when you consider the biggest lesson I have ever learned in life…. “don’t get stressed about, or waste energy on, the things you can’t change.” But sometimes it’s quite nice to shout that Iain Duncan Smith is a ***** ******* ****, or that Boris Johnson is a ************ ********** ******!!!!! even though I am fully aware that my angry expletives, echoing around the inside of my steamed up 2003 Nissan Micra, will not encourage millionaires born into families of millionaires start to reflect the viewpoints of us dreamy eyed masses.
Driving home from work, tends to coincide with one of Radio 4’s magazine style programs. A particular favourite of mine being A Good Read. The simple program design requires a couple of guests, plus presenter Harriett Gilbert, to nominate a book each, then they collectively discuss their experience of reading the chosen volumes.
This week’s show (I started writing this on Tuesday, having just listened to it – it’s now Thursday – when WILL I get time to really REALLY write?) featured two public figures I enjoy the aural company of immensely. Stephen Fry chose the classic, A Brave New World by Aldus Huxley, Harriett introduced A Far Cry From Kensington by Muriel Sparks and Alan Davies definitely piqued my interest by championing JM Coetzee’s Boyhood.
Well, it’s now 9pm on Friday, and I’m hoping to squeeze another sentence in before falling asleep. This blog post is becoming a diary of compiling a blog post, when TIME is absent……..
Anyway, Boyhood, it would seem, is a work of fiction, although too coincidental to actually not be a memoir of Coetzee’s own childhood. This led to a discussion about how Davies has repeatedly tried to compile an autobiographical childhood tome. Which, in turn, got me to thinking…
How would I even start to write a memoir of my own childhood?
I suppose, to make it arty, I should write a tale of inner city depravation, of deprivation, of my parents’ swinging ’60s lifestyle and being abandoned to fend for myself on the feral Coventry streets in the ’70s…….
My life didn’t start like that, though, I was definitely born into (and because of) love. My late Granpop always told the tale that, in my first hour of life, I grabbed hold of the sides of the washing up bowl I’d been deposited into and hauled myself upright. Then again, he also swore blind, some years later, that he heard a voice from within our fire place, “hello, I’m the chimney pot man”!
Sure, my battles with, well, EVERYTHING, were already starting long before my teenage years, but it would be wrong to claim toddler misery, it simply didn’t happen like that.
Never mind some self-indulgent trawl through my selective childhood memories, I’ve already got TWO FECKIN’ BOOKS I’ve hardly put a word to in months……… In fact, despite briefly following the wonderful AL Kennedy’s advice, and having the main protagonist of the ‘novel’ (tentative working title – Dogs Who Look Nothing Like Their Owners) actually move into my head in order for them to tell me their WHOLE story, they have been silent for a long time. I think they got bored of waiting!!
I need them back.
So, if you spot them (they may be accompanied by dogs which don’t look like them), could you ask them to reappear in my subconscious at their earliest convenience, please?