That’s the trouble you see. Have a bit of fun with a publisher’s playful jeu d’esprit, as I did with The Book of Emotions and they send you something else in full expectation of a similar sparkle. This stuff doesn’t write itself, you know and I toil for – ooh (never you mind) – to get the right words, all in the right order and a mood that reflects what the author was trying (sometimes successfully) to say.
Once again, this isn’t, on the face of it, a fit for what I write about, but delve below the surface and there’s a lot about art and creativity here. It’s fair to say that neither book is entirely serious and that’s a good thing. Even creatives are allowed to enjoy themselves once in a while. I am right now, for instance. I’m drawn, for example, to the guide to How To Become An Aesthete, which turns out to be a lot harder than just channelling Fotherington Thomas (oh, Google it, for goodness sake). I also chuckled over a shopping list written on a memo sheet for Paul Zee For Senate: “Draino, Plunger, RCA cables, Peaches, Bath Tub Scrub Brush”. The fact that this was apparently found by David Shrigley, wry observer par excellence, just adds to the fun. What tale of domestic meltdown does this betoken and are the peaches part of a weird cleaning ritual or a welcome source of refreshment after doing unspeakable things to drains? And do the cables mean amplified music is a requisite? And is that to relieve the tedium or cover up noises we really shouldn’t think about? No, we shouldn’t be told; speculation is much more fun – and fun is what this book is all about.
There’s so much here. Games, including Dangerous, situated right next to Cricket (a thing my front teeth wouldn’t dispute), insults, book games. Or you might want to try living like Marcel Proust (who was habitually used, to throw buns to the bears, that live under the stairs*). You’d definitely want to dip into Alice in Wonderland, or hobnob with Myles na Gopaleen**.
I could go on, but this coffee won’t drink itself and there’s something interesting happening outside the window which, as all creatives know, absolutely has to be given your full attention. Anyway, thanks for reading, it’s been real.
* That Clerihew is © me, btw.
** AKA Flan O’Brien, aka Brian O’Nolan
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