I realise that’s a bit of an off-putting title so I’ll try to make up for it with sparkling content. Actually I really loathe it when people refer to writing that way; it’s not ‘content’, it’s writing. You hear people describing themselves as ‘content-creators’ – why? It sounds like you’re putting toothpaste into a tube, instead of choosing the best words in the best order and making the finest piece of writing of which you are capable. I think Orwell was right; language is sacred (not that he actually put it like that) and that the destruction of language is the last victory of an oppressive state. But who needs Newspeak when you have people voluntarily calling what they write ‘content’?
Anyway, apart from dealing with the aforementioned snot which with depressing predictability has now settled on my lungs, what have I been writing? I’ve not been at it full time this week but have nonetheless managed to come up with a new story featuring Dickens… I’m quite excited about that. And I’m starting to adapt my radio play into a stage play for a competition. The closing date’s July, so I’ll have to get a move on.
In between all this I’ve been listening to old episodes of Mark Steel’s in Town. If you don’t know this, it’s a series where comedian Mark Steel visits a town, spends some time going round and talking to people and then comes up with a half-hour routine which celebrates the absurdities of the place. There’s nowhere else this could happen but Britain. Where else can we laugh at our contradictions? Where else do we have goats running wild (Lynton and Lynmouth) or monkeys roaming the streets or planes crossing the road (Gibraltar) or half-finished bridges (Bedford). He picks up the nuances of the place; its prejudices and politics and without being overtly political (though he is firmly on the left) he pulls off the amazing trick of celebrating the place and bringing people together whilst taking the piss. I think this is a much underestimated series and I urge you to listen. He’s yet to visit Loughborough but I hope he does; I’d love to see what he makes of the sock man and the Carillon.
I’m off now to listen to Alexei Sayle on Desert Island Discs.