First question: why blog?
Because writing a book is like cooking a 5-course dinner-party, and really, sometimes, all you want to do is shove a bit of bread and cheese under the grill. It may be – indeed it should be – the most perfectly crafted toasted cheese, with granary bread just the right side of chewy enough to give your jaws a work-out, Cornish Quartz cheddar, a liberal sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper, and be served with cress and tomato on the side. It may be splished and spiced up with Worcester sauce; or before it even meets the bread, the cheese may have been boosted with a little beer or cider – the point is, it’s the kind of thing you can put together on impulse, a small piece of perfection attainable in fifteen spontaneous minutes or so. No tablecloth, no side plates – desire satisfied, guilt-free indulgence experienced, lips smacked, and then on you go with your day. That’s what this blog will be – impulsive and tasty. Tidbits, snacklets and bonne bouche.
But a blog is the saddest thing in the world without readers. Second question : why might you give your time to read this one? What’s going to be on the menu?
Well, there will be plenty musings on food, for a start, because food, like sex, is a thing we have to do, but the gods have so arranged it that we would do it for pleasure anyway. There will be investigations of Zen and the art of slow cooking. There will be philosophical reflections on everything from ice-cream to the perfect pretzel; from soup to nuts.
There will of course be books – the special ones, the ones you never forget; and those still to be cracked open to release their new-book smell. There will be much thinking on the subject of smell, in fact, from that of a Cornish rockpool to that of the first cup of coffee of the day.
There will be cats – mine, yours, and all those in-between. There will be animal life of every description. There will be the shocking manners of Thames waterfowl, and the utter perfidy of wasps. There will be life as a writer, in all its unexpected weirdness, all its paranoias and all its peculiar delights.
There will be big skies and running, and the horrors of being tortured down the gym; there will be TV, and rants about bloody silly adverts on TV, and Tottenham Hotspur (God help me). There will be spirits of place from the Isle of Dogs to the Isle St-Louis. There will be Samuel Pepys. There will be graveyards and echoes and fog.
There will be movies. And museums. And lifting the curtain on what goes on behind the scenes at museums, and what went on behind the scenes in them fifty, or one hundred, or two hundred years ago. There will be the British Library. There will be the buggritts of life, and the manifold buggritts of tech in particular, and of haircuts and bras and all the ills that female flesh is heir to. And there will be meditations on the small and precious joys – new tights fresh out the packet, lying in a hot bath in the dark, eyeliner that stays where you flippin’ well put it, vodka martinis (oh, there will certainly be booze), and new notebooks, just waiting for the pencil.
In other words, the random thoughts of a random redhead. Welcome to the inside of my head.