November 12th 2020
My day started in the usual way, a couple of coffees, switching on the Chris Moyles Breakfast Show on Radio X, compiling todays to-do list and planning a bike ride for later. Oh, and I have already recorded the one minute video clip that apparently will help persuade people that reading The Diary Of A Locked Down Comedian is something they should drop everything to immediately do.
The only thing I didn’t have planned was what I was going to write about in todays entry.
So I sat on my chair, put my feet up and picked up the book I am thoroughly enjoying…
I love being motivated to write by a single moment, a song, maybe a film or a television show but most of all I like to be inspired by text, a sentence, phrase, or a whole paragraph. That happened just now as I was reading, still reading… Shauns’ book. Shaun, is Shaun Bythell and he is the author of The Diary Of A Bookseller. I can call him Shaun now as I have spent, on and off eight days with him and we are friends. In my head at least.
‘…I ask Laurie to make a note of a few things customers asked her during the day. Her notes read:
“Why is Wigtown called Wigtown?”
“Why is Wigtown a book town?”
“How many bookshops are in Wigtown?”
The last two are asked on average twice daily all year round. After fifteen years, that means I have asked those same questions 9,300 times. It’s hard to muster any enthusiasm when I reply now. Perhaps it’s time to start inventing fresh answers that have absolutely no basis in fact.’
And, yes, I am counting these words towards my daily word count total.
When Dad passed away it was my job the make the calls and spread the news of his untimely death. Dad was a popular man, incredibly funny and very smart. This news shocked everyone I told. Each call included the same question.
“How did he die?”
Like Shaun I quickly became bored with this question and realised that, for certain people, I could just make stuff up. I was chatting to some of the biggest names in British comedy, they would see the funny side of this and as Dad had told me, many times, ‘funny is funny’.
“He was doing a skydive and picked up my sons’ backpack instead of his own!”
“A miscommunication about whose responsibility it was to close the gate to the lions’ enclosure.”
“Turns out he shouldn’t have cut the red wire.”
Everyone laughed and so they should have, these are just attempts at humour in what was a tough time. I knew my Dad would have said something similar, albeit infinitely funnier was he to have found himself in the same position.
I miss my Dad so much and at this time I think I am acting more like him than I have in my entire life. I get up, read, and write. I am loving it. Of course the biggest difference between Dad and I is the fact he made a living out of this writing lark.
I sent a link to this diary to my oldest mate Lew. He read them and sent me a massively supportive text, that is Lew through and through, the single most positive thinking, supportive guy I have ever known, one of his texts ended with the line
‘Dad will be proud of you.’
And do you know what? I think he would be!
Shots of Coffee: 4
Reading: Diaries Of A Bookseller by Shaun Bythall
Listened to: Radio X
YouTube Tip: Axle Rose & the Greatest Stage Entrance Ever
Word Count: Six hundred and twenty one, so far