How television is a bit like blogging … maybe

Stephen Fry writes in the first volume of his autobiography:

The thing about television is that you do it once and then forget about it, while some obsessed fans will watch programmes over and over again and end up knowing the scripts better than you ever did, even at the time of recording.

I don’t have any obsessed fans (if I do, they are very quiet ones) and I’ve never done TV. But what Fry writes about isn’t entirely dissimilar to my experience of blogging.

The moment I hit ‘publish’ the preceding x-hundred number of words are dead to me, making anyone who follows up face to face on what I’ve written something of a curiosity.

That in itself is a bit mean, I know. I shouldn’t be so ungrateful. But I wonder whether the process of jettisoning that creative effort at the point of publishing is an attempt at self-preservation. A way of stopping myself getting too wrapped up in my own words by immediately cutting it loose.

Holiday reading

This isn’t the only holiday reading related post I’ll be making over the next few days. But it is the first.

Take a look at this. If there’s one thing which gets me all excited about the prospect of going on holiday it’s seeing this when I get home.

The latest edition of BBC Music Magazine – my monthly subscription (yes, I pay for it – others at work get it for free) – wrapped in plastic, delivered by our lovely postlady earlier in the day.

It, along with History Today, Attitude Magazine and my partly-read copy of BBC History Magazine represent my present-day comics. I may possibly add to this pile by purchasing National Geographic at the airport on flight day. I’m not sure yet. I’m that wild.

I’m resisting the temptation to unwrap it. That treat will be reserved for the first few hours in the plane.

Can’t wait.

Books: Kane & Abel (Jeffrey Archer)

Books: Filling the gaping hole, originally uploaded by Thoroughly Good.

Kane and Abel is the first book I’ve finished reading this year. This is something I’m quite proud of. Normally I’d have been distracted by something or other before I’d finished what ever it is I’m attempting to read. Not so on this ocassion. I actually finished the book ten days after I received it as a birthday present. That’s quite an achievement, let me tell you.

More of an achievement than the book itself, I might add. It might have been a bestseller for Archer – soon after it’s release it became the Number One on the New York Times bestseller list – but reading it now I find it difficult to understand exactly how.

At times the plot was breathtakingly unlikely, with coiincidences falling onto the page with increasing regularity. The first time Kane meets Abel is one of the most striking I recall. By half way through I was beginning to get really annoyed with them.

Maybe the surprises in the tale had been lessened because I remember the key points in the plot from the TV mini-series, but still there were moments which left me squirming as I read it to and from work. Jeffrey Archer may be successful at his novel-writing but the man can’t write sex scenes to save his life. Frankly, he’d have been better off bullet-pointing everything.

That said, it is a page-turner and one guaranteed to deliver a modicum of self-satisfaction if, like me, you’re looking for a sense of achievement. And, if I’m being fair there was a point when I was getting angry with Abel for being such an idiot to harbour such bitterness and resentment for so long. Was it really the author’s reliance on the unlikely to propel the novel or are there really those people around who are that blinkered? I hope for the former as much as I fear it could be the latter.

Reading the damn thing did do what I hoped it would. It’s helped get me into the reading thing ahead of a holiday when I’m hoping I’ll read even more. The fact that when I read Kane and Abel I often found myself sheepishly retrieving the book from my bag like I was sitting on public transport preparing to finger my way through some hard-core pornography, is open to interpretation. I’m happy to admit I’m a snob.

Books: Filling the gaping hole

Kane and Abel , originally uploaded by Thoroughly Good.

Painfully aware as I am that the Proms season is rapidly coming to an end, my attention has turned to finding things to occupy the time left when those nightly concerts come to an end. As I’m also feeling quite chuffed that I’ve got to the end of an 8 week period and remained committed to the cause without flinching both in terms of listening and writing, I figured I needed a similar challenge to sink my teeth into.

Reading the odd book seemed like the best route to take. After all, if my mind has been broadened listening to music I would otherwise dismiss at a moments notice, could I achieve the same reading books?

It’s hardly earth shattering stuff, is it? Reading. Everyone does it.

I have a bit of a problem with reading, however. I’ve lost count of the number of books I’ve started only to get distracted mid-way through. The book is cast-aside. Suddenly the appeal it had is lost. The book is abandoned. The TV gets switched on.

I don’t normally have the problem when I’m holiday. In fact, I’ll power through two or three books on holiday and return from my trip filled with a smug sense of self-satisfaction, accompanied with a new resolve to get reading more. I can never manage to keep it up.

In recent weeks however, I’ve noticed a change. Ahead of my 12 day holiday to Turkey later this month, I’ve embarked on a bit of pre-holiday training. All this really means is indulging in a bit of pre-holiday activities like going out for meals, going to the cinema, shopping, packing bags or this year – as it seems – getting some reading in early.

Here’s the shocker, however. I figured I’d set the bar low. Baby steps first of all. What I’m after here is that sense of achievement before I go on holiday. I want to have read a book before I go on holiday so that I can capitalise on it when I’m sunning myself by the pool.

How far did I set the bar? All the way down as low as Jeffery Archer’s Kane and Abel.

I know. Awful isn’t it. Me having a degree qualification as well .. in the arts (just to make things even worse).

So, should be you be interested in tracking my progress, then be sure to come back to the Books category on the Thoroughly Good Blog.