Monday, 28 July 2008
Monday, 21 July 2008
I recently read that an unpublished novel (that he emphatically wanted destroyed) is to be published by his son. Hmmm, a tricky ethical question. I can't think of anything I want more, under normal circumstances, than a new novel by an author I love - especially if I was no longer expecting them to write one. When an author dies, Robertson Davies as a prime example, your first thought (because readers are addicts, and their first thought is always of their addiction) is "Oh no! No more new things to read!" and then, belatedly and guiltily, "How awful for their family, of course..." HOWEVER, and this is a big however, the finest authors are their own harshest critics, and Nabokov more than most; one can only assume if he wanted it destroyed he didn't feel it was of a quality worth publishing. On the other hand, a second-rate Nabokov would still be a million times better than a million other authors at their best. As always, the addiction wins out and, unable to boycott it on principle, I know I'll be the first in the queue to read it. The only consolation is that if it does turn out to be less good than the books published in his lifetime, I can tell myself he knew that would be the case...
Saturday, 19 July 2008
Recently, admittedly under the influence of Day Nurse (the pathetically puny little sister of La Fée Verte) misread the word "price" as "prince"... which resulted in the interesting phrase "What's that got to do with the prince of fish??" - Herewith I give you, ladies and gentlemen, the prince of fish. Not Mr Fishwife, although he quite fancies a trident for posing round the beach bars with on holiday.
Thursday, 17 July 2008
Of course I have developed a nasty cold immediately after returning from a week off. It's one of those ones that yo-yos from your nose to your throat, then back again, so one day you're sneezing wetly all over your distressed colleagues and the next you're hacking away like a faulty cement-mixer. I should point out here that despite my relatively sedentary lifestyle, hatred of exercise, ineptitude for sports and generally unhealthy demeanour (I cite once again the smoking, and the fact that it's only Thursday and I am mildly hungover), I am very rarely ill. It is one of the unexplained joys of my life that not only is this the case, but also that the resolutely fit, healthy, nonsmoking, gym-member Mr Fishwife is a martyr to every sneeze and stomach bug going. Life is a strange and wonderful thing, n'est-ce pas? AAAAAAnyway - so here I am, bunged and raspy, and while I could kid myself I sound throaty and alluring like Lauren Bacall, the truth is I sound more like someone failing to start a chainsaw in a steel wheelie-bin.
Hence the illustration - the wonder that is Night Nurse. Let those boozehound saddos of the Belle Epoque rave about absinthe, the one true path is L’Infirmière Verte. I took a hefty slug last night before going to bed and slept like a hibernating grizzly. Admittedly I still haven't fully woken up yet, and am expecting to do so just before bedtime tonight, thus starting the whole sorry saga off again, but who cares...
Monday, 14 July 2008
Not hugely pale this time, as most of my sun exposure took place in northern France (see sidebar ONE MORE TIME before I take it down with a sigh of regret) and was just a fleeting but celebratory weekend's worth before returning to rainy Blighty. After which I spent a blissful week doing precisely nil, apart from visiting family and reading books* and stuffing my face with the food we had brought back from Rouen**. Am now back at work - and will write something worth reading in a day or two.
* "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson - a housebrick of a Swedish crime thriller but very, very worth reading. Dark, complex, and scary.
"When Will There Be Good News" by Kate Atkinson - one of the perks of working in a bookshop is the availability of proof copies. This is a sequel to her two previous Jackson Brodie novels and worth waiting for.
"Ten-Second Staircase" by Christopher Fowler - I got cross with him a few years ago for rewriting his mad lunatic-genius novel "Darkest Day" (now unavailable) into a rather more ho-hum format to fit the Waterstones-friendly crime series cliché- but this was original, and a goodie.
**walnut bread, garlic sausage, smoked sausage, goat's cheese, ham, duck confit, brief pause while I let belt out a notch or two, Roquefort, purée de marrons, unsalted butter, further brief pause while I lie down.
Thursday, 3 July 2008
1) What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was working for Air France. I had IBS and had failed to connect it to the fact that my job was simultaneously tedious and stressful. I loved my colleagues, I loved (LOVED) the cheap/free air travel, but I was definitely heading for the door.
2) Name 5 things on your to-do list today
Get some dinner stuff in on the way home. Pack. Remember to dig out the automatic cat feeder. Find/pack my passport. Don't forget sun-cream this time!
3) Name 5 things you would do if you became a billionaire
Pay off the mortgages of all my friends/family.
Buy all sites that Tesco's/Sainsbury's would consider developing and rent them cheaply to small local businesses.
Endow a school for affordable hit-men.
Replace everything in my wardrobe with the same thing in cashmere.
Buy Lindisfarne Castle and live in it.
4) Name 5 places you have lived
Montreal, Oxford, Durham, Avignon, London. All, coincidentally, cities on rivers. Couldn't live anywhere dry now.
5) Name 5 of your bad habits
Not knowing that that really WAS one glass too many.
Being a truly crap (lazy, sporadic, uncommunicative) correspondent.
6) name 5 jobs you've had
Hotel maid (Avignon)
Hearing-aid mender (London)
Concorde charter agent (London)
Bookseller (best move I ever made).
7) How did you come up with the title of your blog?
I fel it sums up, in one sentence, the general tone of la vie chez Fishwife.