OK since I have not an idea in my head, I have decided to write this post backwards. I have begun with some categories, then I put some tags in – and now I shall reconstruct the post from these. Apparently this post is about Tomatoes, the Prime Minister, Charlie-is-so-cool-like, Daniel, bread and Ian Rankin. So, here goes…. working backwards, Ian Rankin is going to be on Start the Week tomorrow (on radio 4). Rankin is entertaining and thoughtful to listen to: more impressively, he writes a book a year, starting in January with press cuttings and ideas he’s garnered throughout the previous year and putting them together to construct a plot and characters. Of course, with the Rebus novels at least, he has a lot already in place – the character of Rebus himself with all his history, his work colleagues and family and, every bit as much a character in its own right, the city of Edinburgh. Other ‘real’ locations may also feature: the Highlands or the coast or even – in one book – London; but there’s a lot already in place, without which the average novelist would need to do an great deal of thinking and preparation. So with that already sorted, he starts constructing the plot in January and by April the book is finished and ready for editing. Astonishing! Now I could do that maybe once in my life, but to keep up that relentless pace year after year is something I know I couldn’t manage.
Another relentless producer of content is the immensely personable Charlie McDonnell. As ‘Charlie-is-so-cool-like’, he produces at least one video a day about whatever happens to be going through his mind. Daniel likes him enormously and signs up and follows – and whatever else you do with a youtube channel. Here he is:
He’s even got Stephen Fry to do a little comment at the end – listen to all of it and you’ll hear him. It’s a great video with some terrific pictures of Saturn – and a tiny shot of Earth in the background, like someone waving at the camera in a celebrity photo. Daniel also has his own youtube channel and used to do lots of vids, though I don’t think he’s done one for a while. Let’s have a look… nope, can’t find him – there’s just some guy in a jeep claiming to be Daniel Ure. Preposterous!
So: bread. What can I say about bread? It is the staff of life, the stuff of life: when I lived in Spain I missed being able to get what I call ‘proper bread’ ie unsliced granary or wholemeal bread – as the main type of loaf they have there is like the French stick only shorter and less tasty. They sell it with a little white belt of paper like a serviette round the middle and in the morning you see lots of people walking around carrying these like umbrellas. They only last the day as they dry out very quickly. If you go to some specialist baker you can get what they call ‘pan integral’ ie wholemeal bread, but it’s a lot of effort. Better just to go with the flow. Peter was looking at Madrid on Google Earth yesterday and for some reason it made me feel very sad and lonely, probably because I lived there before I’d met Mark.
OK, we’re doing well; just tomatoes and the Prime Minister to go. I’d rather not think too much about the PM so I’m going to take a sideways shot and think about what I’d do if I were in that role. Well, first I’d do whatever I could to sort out the bankers – probably get them all to sleep in a homeless shelter for a month and then take lots of money off them: then I’d give that money to Shelter or the Big Issue foundation. After that I’d enshrine in law the right of Home Educators to get on with what they’re doing with minimal supervision, after which I’d reform MP’s allowances and give more money to nurses. Then I would utterly reform the ‘tick-box’ culture that has crept into every area of our society, so that nurses spend more time filling out forms than they do attending to patients, and teachers spend more hours ticking boxes than they do marking homework. That should take care of the first week… after that, I don’t know. So now I just have to work tomatoes in here and then I’m done.
Hmm… tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes….
Oh, well – since I can’t think of anything else I’ll just give the Tomatoes poetry pamphlet another plug. I’ve sold some already! Get yours at next Saturday’s Tomatoes at only £1 each (10p of cover price goes to Tomatoes)