Immortality

Thursday, March 11th, 2004

So there I was in the bathroom an hour ago, cleaning my teeth, bent forward with blood streaming from my mouth, pooling scarlet in the sink as it drained away down the plughole, the way it always does morning and evening. Only tonight it was joined by a second flow from my finger where a burn had split open, running down the toothbrush handle and mixing with the first lot when it reached the bristles. And I thought again, as I so often do, how incredibly badly designed human beings are. If we built machines this inefficient we'd still be in mediaeval times, riding horses and reading hand-copied books by candlelight.

Instead, I’m currently sitting in bed writing this on the laptop while listening to a Norah Jones CD, the new one, Feels Like Home – very mellow, a good mix of country and blues. I was hoping to post from here too but can't get the new wireless card to connect. Hope this isn't the start of regular problems.

Getting the card was a bit of a performance – made a special journey into central London to go to the one Orange shop that said they had their card in stock – yesterday they said they had two of them. I got there this morning and they said they still had two, but they couldn't sell one to me. They had to take them to Lakeside to swap them for two others, and could sell me one of those when they got back. No, I don't know why either. I said 'no thanks' and went across the road to the Vodafone shop to buy theirs instead.

Which now, of course, isn't working.

I took the opportunity of being in town to meet up with the folks at the Royal Mail for lunch, and it was remarkably like not having been away. My pass was still valid, my door fob still operated the locks, and the same familiar faces were there, although not all at the same desks. Had one of those unnerving 'blogger's moments' when someone who's been reading your journal talks about something in it that you forgot they'd know about (the hospital visit). Serves me right – I should be more aware of it. Hi Kwok – glad you're sticking with it, I like the feeling there's still a connection there.

I did a quick round of 'hellos' – much interest in the screenplay, which makes me feel I have a lot to live up to – and then went off to lunch with my old team. This was like old times, very comfortable, and made me hopeful that things would work out if I was able to return. The best thing was the feeling that I would want to go back – how often do you get that with an old job? They say you can never go back, and I've certainly proved that on a couple of occasions in my career – but maybe this time I never really went away?

Of course, perhaps I'll sell Penny Dreadful, and that will change everything. Any volunteers to be beta readers? It'll be about 60-70 pages in first draft.

On the subject of bloggers getting published, there was a big piece in the Times today about Belle de Jour and her book deal. I don't know if there's a Belle bandwagon or a Belle backlash building up – possibly both simultaneously. There seems to be a real ambivalence about how to deal with her and it showed in today's piece – part praise, part criticism of her attitude to sexual politics. I hope she's not a fake, but even if she is, she's an extraordinarily good writer and it would work as a piece of fiction. On the not-fake side of the argument, it reads like a proper blog, with the right mix of work and personal stuff. On the fake side, she doesn't have the harsh side that I recall from the prostitutes I interviewed or dealt with when I was on the Kilburn Times. Despite this, I'm going to stick my neck out and say I think she's for real – it's just that she's gilt-edging her experiences in her writing.

But don't we all do that? How else is the inefficient human machine to achieve immortality if we don't?

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.