Whilst performing a repetitive menial task today, in exchange for a gratefully received monthly amount of money deposited into my bank account, I thought long and hard about the content of today's blog. After apparently staring into space, while my legs and arms did something to assist the ticking tocks of high street commerce, I believe I had concocted one or two interesting and important subjects which I would now be committing to eternal bloggery. At some point between then and now – it may have been napping on the bus, or snoozing on the sofa – I appear to have forgotten. But the mention of the bus-nap perhaps jogs a little memory. Before my eyes grew heavy and my head lolled repeatedly against the window, I was reading.
Oxfam bookshops tend to be of exceptionally high quality. Bibliophiliac and knowledgeable managers carefully sift out the donated dregs to reveal the near-microscopic flecks of gold, and the book donating public responds by sending interesting and exciting books their way. The Oxfam bookshop in Lancaster used to be excellent, but rumour has it the quality is draining away. Shame. Doesn't bother me much because I don't live in Lancaster anymore. My closest is in Chorlton and fortunately it is excellent (except the science fiction section, which is shit). It reaches into your mind, finds exactly the sort of thing you know you want, or didn't consciously know you wanted until you saw it, and provides it on a shelf.
I went in on Saturday with an interest in fiction written by comedians, and accompanied by my niece. Fresh in her mind was a trip to Manchester Museum -the vivariums, the stuffed wolves (HOWWWWWWWWWWL!), and above all the T-rex skellington- and what did she find in Chorlton's Oxfam bookshop? Maisy goes to the Museum: awesome! She found that, and I found The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie, and The Perfect Fool by Stewart Lee. When I bought my books the bearded hipster behind the counter said "I didn't know Stewart Lee wrote a book". I advertised, "He wrote three. This is his novel, the other two are about comedy. There is a fourth out later this year". "Oh," he responded, absorbing my knowledge.
We gave some pounds to my niece (she's four) to buy her Maisy book. She handed the money over, and I encouraged her to put the pennies change into the charity box. "Say thank you," we told her. "Thank you," she said to the hipster, and then just stared at him. Quickly he grew uncomfortable, moved away slightly by rocking backwards on his heels and leaning back. "Erm..... cheers," he eventually managed. I expected him to say "I didn't know Maisy went to the Museum," and for my niece to say, "Yeah, she went three times. The first and second times she was a baby and toddler respectively. On the third occasion she was a little older and could appreciate it more. Also she didn't get tired so quickly". "Oh," he would respond.
I think that was it. Before I forgot what I was going to write about, I may have intended for today's blog to be about The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie. It feels like a further adventure of Dirk Gently, the detective from Douglas Adams' brilliant books Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. The Gun Seller tells the story of a sort-of PI, general man-for-hire, whose job description is vague at best. He gets muddled up into a difficult and rather odd situation, regaled to the reader with humorous detachment. And I read it on the bus. The blog was going to be about that I think.