If you managed to stay so far you’ll have read me in my Co-op Salad Days (washed and ready-to-serve), aged 65 and trying my damnedest to ape Hilary Mantel and her use of the Third Person Interior Monologue from start to finish. But it all got too much for me, not the writing but the job, and not the job but the bullying of staff by dreadful supervisors, and then it took them to try it out on me before I moved swiftly and catlike into action and walked out the door, and into a £3000 payoff.
By that time I’d settled properly into the locality and got to know many people. Other projects arose, above all seeing through what turned out to be a 30 month project setting up and waymarking and publishing walks in Silsden parish (which amazingly have been read by people in The Maldives and New Zealand. And in Silsden too.) I have done Silsden some service, and they know it.
Before the paper barred me, I was a btl contributor to the Grauniad, and never failed to send the celebrated Clive James (pbuh) a little message of thanks for his Saturday column and to wish him well for the weekend. Mr James, grievous sick with leukaemia these past six years, has been surprising every bugger and especially himself by regularly waking up to another day of ingesting medicine, receiving care and taking more than a little pleasure in living. I wrote to him to thank him for bringing the group Lake Street Dive to my notice and while at it to thank him sincerely for the laughter, amiable laid-back television chat-show hosting, and the intelligent, thought-provoking and often side-splitting reading he’s given me these many years. (Anyone who could bring Margarita Pracatan to the world stage is worthy of a knighthood).
To my total astonishment he emailed me to thank me for my thanks (this could have gone on for ever like an Evert – Navratilova rally), and was complimentary about my use of words. We’ve exchanged some emails since then, me wishing him a good weekend and preceding this (otherwise it becomes like mailing someone a card every Saturday) with my own “column”, my views on…..whatever. I’m sorry to repeat it, but….to my total astonishment Clive has taken to these pieces of flummery and has increasingly urgently insisted I set up a blog.
I have eventually come to believe him – at least, slightly more so than a week ago – hence “I was just thinking”, my first blog which I presume will either go largely unread or will sweep the Western World like a lettered Desert Storm. I write it genuinely very nervously indeed – nobody has ever complimented me on my writing, certainly not to the extent that Clive has; and he has urged me to believe that what I write is worth sharing. I have to take on trust the opinion of a very intelligent man, himself a magnificent spinner of words, arguments and ideas.
So, dear listeners (pace Neddie Seagoon), I’ll just step through this door and…………