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Monday 22nd December 2003

I find the last couple of weeks of the year a bit depressing, as one is inevitably forced to take stock of one's life. One usually discovers that a lot of the stock has been shop-lifted and then some of the stock at the back has been damaged by flooding. All of the stock is getting closer to (or has already past) its sell by date.
Perhaps I should just get rid of all the stock and get some new stock in. But what's the point? I'll only ruin that stock too. This is why I mustn't be allowed to have nice things.
Better just to try and make the most of the stock I've been given. And maybe put some electronic tags on some of the nicer things so they can't so easily be pilferred.

Browsing through book shops for Christmas presents (I ended up buying things for myself and no-one else) I am forced to concede that "Talking Cock" (pretty much my only professional work of the year) has failed to capture the public imagination. I've had a few lovely emails from people who've enjoyed it, and these mean a lot to me, but practically no reviews (as far as I know) in any major publications, and no massive presence in the shops. It rarely makes it on to those front tables or recommended shelves and when it does it is usually because my mum has put it there -(she's clearly forgiven me for nearly braining her).
But my mum is just one woman. One old, Bobby Robson faced woman. She can only do so much. And she's got another Christmas dinner to prepare. I could maybe help with the washing up afterwards, but I'm expecting Futurama series 4 in my stocking and it would be rude not to watch it and show my parents I appreciated their generosity. Anyway, the book shops are closed on Christmas Day, so she wouldn't be able to move any copies forward anyway.

I put six month's hard work into the book and it is, naturally, a little dispiriting to acknowledge that it is likely to join the rest of my work in relative obscurity (whilst taking on disproportionate significance to a handful of strange and obsessive lunatics. But hey, you're MY strange and obsessive lunatics and I love you all - as long as you keep your distance. I'd prefer a handful of strange and obsessive lunatics to two in my bushes - I tried so hard to make that work. It doesn't. But you've got to admire me for trying. Providing you're a strange and obsessive lunatic. That's your job).
I can take solace that a laminated copy of my work is buried under my house and will doubtless be considered an amazing find by the alien archaeologists of the future. But I suspect that if the archaeologists of the present are patient they will be able to unearth several hundred unlaminated copies in their local bargain bookshop come April. And they will only need their trowels if it has become buried beneath a mountain of David Beckham autobiographies.

I mean it could be worse. I have written a book and it's been published and I've been paid for it. This is amazing and I don't want to look like I'm ungrateful or don't appreciate how lucky I am. I'd just like people to be reading my book, even if they think it's shit.
I read the other day that the new toll section of the M6 has a layer of pulped books underneath the tarmac (it helps with absorbency or something). I wonder if there are any copies of the Fist of Fun annual down there.

So on my way back from the shops tonight I was feeling similarly self-indulgently sorry for myself. I passed two dishevelled gentlemen who looked, at a glance, as if they'd been going through some hard times, but were maybe attempting to smarten themselves up and straighten themselves out a bit. The only snatch of their conversation that I heard was one of them sadly commenting, "It was Special Brew for breakfast; Special Brew for lunch."
The pain in his voice was palpable.

That put things in perspective a bit. I felt guilty for internally whinging about my extremely fortunate life.

We can all try again in the New Year.

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