Tuesday 21 November 2006

...And his lovely wife, Misery.

I have just received a cheery email entitled 'Christmas Special!' about some replica watches the sender thinks I might be interested in. And who is this jovial festive watch salesman? Apparently, it's a Mr Ashamed Curse. Well, sorry to disappoint, Mr Curse, but I always do my Christmas shopping with the fine old family firm of Tragedy, Guilt and Woe.

Incidentally, I have an entirely ridiculous pride in the fact that my spam is only ever for watches, stock tips, and poker sites. I like to think this reflects the spammers' high opinion of me. "Well now, Quintessentially, this chap seems like a sucessful yet clean-living type, wouldn't you agree?" "Quite right, Candelabra old man. No cheap viagra or nympho sluts for him! He's a man who needs to know what to invest in, when to invest in it, and how then to re-invest his winnings in a game of skill. Send him the 'respectable young high-flier' set, pronto."

Thursday 16 November 2006

For Sveriges Finska Pingstmission, see Uusi Yhteys. Or, if you prefer, don’t.

I like to work at the British Library, because it has large, serious reading rooms full of large, serious desks, at which large, serious people work seriously, which, on a good day, has the effect of shaming me into working seriously too. Not to mention largely. Whereas in my room, I am surrounded by my bed, my dvd player, and shelves full of some of my favourite books. None of which are large or serious, and all ofwhich are more fun than working. So, I go to the BL. But the reason everyone else goes to the BL is that it is a copyright library, where you can order up practically any book ever written. So the large, serious people aforementioned tend to be surrounded by piles of large, serious books. Looking to my right for instance, someone is poring over ‘The Origins of Marxism’. (I have a feeling that Marx wrote Das Kapital in the British Library, so he doesn't have far to look), whilst to my left we have ‘Figured in Marble’, ‘The World as Sculpture’ and a fierce lady with an expression that says ‘Stop Looking At My Books, Beardie’.

The effect of this is that when I first started coming here, I felt a bit of a fraud for writing away with no books beside me, as if it was clear to everyone that I might as well be writing in a Starbucks, and they all resented me for taking up a large, serious desk for my thin, facetious work. So I started ordering books myself, for camouflage. Unfortunately, this meant that instead of being distracted by some books, I was now distracted by my pick of every book ever written. Suddenly, my work-rate dropped sharply, and my reading-old-James-Thurber-collections-rate shot up. So I instigated plan B - picking a random dry text book from the shelves, rather than ordering up something I might be tempted to read. But when your only alternatives are working or reading a text book, it’s amazing how fascinating the geology of the Scottish oil-fields can suddenly become. Go on, ask me anything about the Scapa Flow. So now I’m on plan C. The book lying open in front of me as I type is the Svensk Tidskriftsforteckning 1990-91 (a vintage year for tidskrifts, as I’m sure you know) and I don’t understand a work of it. Perfect. Except that now, I’m paranoid that as a Curb Your Enthusiasm-esque punishment for my folly, a Swede is going to pass by, notice what I’m reading , utter a glad cry of… whatever one Swede cries when he meets a fellow Swede- and I’m going to be forced either to explain my shameful ruse to the whole reading room, or trust to my ability to improvise Swedish. But until that happens, it seems to be working. Even I can’t spend more than ten minutes reading what appears to be a bibliography in a foreign language, and for the last twenty minutes, I have been diligently writing away.

On this blog entry, though. Not on, you know, any of the four things I absolutely have to complete in the next six weeks. But still, it’s a start.

Thursday 9 November 2006

Bad Names For Twins

  • Catherine and Kathryn
  • Luke and Darth
  • Bob and Not Bob
  • The Indistinguishables
  • Jesus and Judas
  • Samantha and Her Sister
  • Yours and Mine
  • Good Twin and Evil Twin
  • Jane and the Back-Up