This week I have mostly been reading books…
Actually no, make that ever since we moved into the new place. For various dull reasons that are too complicated to pick through here, the shower in the bathroom doesn’t work. Or rather it does but it has two settings. Off and “hot enough to sear your skin off”. Until the landlord gets around to fixing it I’ve been rediscovering a love of baths, and what better way to pass the time whilst sitting and soaking (or as Mila puts it “breaking the world record for cleaning yourself”) than to read a book.
So I keep buying myself interesting books to flick through, much to the irritation of a certain young lady who buys me novels that she has liked and wants me to read as well (they are next on my list, I promise).
First up was Morning Glory, a book about the history of breakfast television in this country, penned by Ian Jones who I know through the TV Cream website. The problem with reading books written by friends of yours is that you are nervous about applying too many critical faculties to it, for fear of being asked your opinion and only having a lukewarm one to hand. Happily there were no such problems here, I did indeed break several world records for bathing due to the fact that it was impossible to put down.
Next up was Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now by broadcaster Andrew Collins. This was the followup to his autobiographical Where Did It All Go Right which detailed his somewhat idyllic childhood growing up in Northampton. I found the first book a rather difficult read, unsure of exactly why I was interested in why I was interested in the minituae of his childhood life and what he used to eat for tea at the age of 8. Plenty of people whose opionions I respect loved it though so I was motivated to plough on regardless.
The second book was far better, an account of his time at university in the 1980s, studying art at Chelsea. It was all there, moving into halls, making friends, getting the girlies, long summer holidays, painful breakups and graduating into the real world. The kind of book that really does flood you with nostalgia if you have ever been through a similar kind of experience (I have).
Anyway, doing all the reading has made me start hankering for a proper writing project to get my teeth into. Writing a book is on the list of things I want to do before this life is over and for many years I’ve been mulling over possibilities.
For a start there are all the weekly chart columns I’ve written since 1992, most of them faithfully collected for posterity. I’ve stamped many times on people who have wanted to put up archives of them for the simple reason that I’m sure there is a way of exploiting that catalogue for my own ends. Exactly how that would work I don’t know, especially as I’ve always regarded each piece of being very much of the moment, relevant only to the week in which it was published. How on earth do you turn a contemporary account of what was at Number 22 on May 15th 1995 into something that has the correct historical context and which people will want a copy of on their coffee tables?
I did start to put together some sample pages a few years ago but abandoned the project when it became clear I did not have the time to devote to it. Maybe if one of my many employers sacks me I may have the motivation. Not that I want them to of course, please nobody get any bright ideas.