I’ve been busy today. Mostly, I’ve been busy being ill. Oh, I’m excellent at it now: two weeks of illness and I show few signs of getting better. In the shop I’m known as ‘The odd man who buys Ribena and notepads.’ That’s all I do, buy Ribena and notepads. It’s no life. You should see me in the shop though. You’d like it. I’ve had so little contact with other people over the last couple of weeks that I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to interact with other human beings. I’m no good at it anymore. I go in there, pick up my Ribena and notepads and then completely over-egg my personality when it comes to the exchanging of money and pleasantries. I grin loudly and fizz and crackle and make small talk that makes me appear madder than I actually am. Like I say, it’s no life.
But I’ve not just been busy being ill, I’ve been busy doing other stuff too. Today I began work on my book, a book loosely based upon Pitching the World. This involved putting all of the posts to date into a document and marveling at how I’ve managed to write 90,000 words about not pitching magazines. It’s quite something. What is also quite something is The Great Gatsby, which I’ve been writing out for a feature that I’m working on. All afternoon my words, then Fitzgerald’s. Mine, then his.
His are better, aren’t they? His words. Better. But are they? I have to believe that mine are better than his, better than anyone’s if I’m going to write this book. So, I thought I would put down some extracts from The Great Gatsby and some from the archives of Pitching the World and have what I suppose is a quiz. Or a competition. Or something. Certainly it’s fun. Can you tell who wrote the following: Me or Him? There might be prizes if you can.
1. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction – Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn.
2. That’s what I do with my friends: Fuck them in bins.
3. I have been drunk just twice in my life, and the second time was that afternoon.
4. I desperately want to become Barry Manilow.
5. “Your eyes have gone weird. What’s happened to your eyes? You look mental.”
6. “It’s a bitch. Here’s your money. Go and buy ten more dogs with it.”
7. Somehow, I’ve found myself in a situation where I’m living in an expensive house on top of a hill looking after cats. I don’t know how many. Two? Ten? A number of cats, anyway. And a dog.
8. Never think that anything is either untouched or promising.
9. So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
10. I’ve flapped around and fucked up everything I’ve ever tried and I’m not going to flap around and fuck this up.
How did you get on? I told you it would be fun. I had lots of fun. Answers tomorrow. Or perhaps Wednesday. Who knows? Who cares? You’re probably not even reading this bit and if you are you probably want to stop.
Until tomorrow, then. Or Wednesday. Thank you.
AN UPDATE: It’s Wednesday, so time for answers. You’ve all been waiting for this moment, haven’t you? What do you mean you haven’t? Frankly, I refuse to acknowledge the lack of appetite for the above quiz and will stagger on with the answers regardless. Here goes:
1. Fitzgerald, obviously.
2. Me, obviously.
4. Me. (and it’s true)
And that, thank God, is that. More quizzes tomorrow. In fact, quizzes every hour from now on until people agree that it’s a good idea.