I have just been watching the programme of the same name, the first in a series, this one presented by Richard E. Grant, less annoyingly than I feared, and at least it wasn't Hugh Grant, who someone told me was Richard E's brother, which I believed for years, largely because I am insufficiently interested in either to bother finding out the truth.
I kept a diary from the age of twelve until I got my first PC at the age of 30. The owning of a PC changed all that. Ironic really - it should have been the key to more writing. If the truth be told, I was probably the world's crappest diarist in the 1990s, although some of my efforts from the 1980s are immortalised in this blog.
I've actually come to the conclusion that my best diary writing was as an adolescent, because I was actually quite clueless about how to write a diary. I had this vague notion it was important to express an opinion about important things in the news, even though I lacked the maturity or wisdom to work out what was important and what was fluff. But the use of a single sentence to sum up my reaction to, oh, I dunno, the Falklands War or glasnost is hilarious, to me anyway.
When I became more self-aware, or introspective, or analytical, and started to use my diary to analyse my feelings, it became all very tedious.
Pages and pages of pretty much the same mistake being made time and time again. Pick a name, any credible male name, and slot it into a narrative which runs like this
"I have a crush on him, I want to go out with him, this isn't reciprocated, if I keep crushing on him he will learn the error of his ways, I'm going to keep telling people how much I crush on this bloke, they're getting impatient because nothing is happening and it's a non-story".
And I utterly failed to realise - amidst all the self-analysis and emoting that my supposed emotions were false, an illusion.
Reading back over the diary, I am surprised at how entertaining a fairly straight narrative is, how much seeps through the seemingly dry prose. Looking back nearly thirty years it is easy to pinpoint the changes made by technology, and, perhaps in societal attitudes, but, actually, it's amazing how little fundamentally has changed.
I'm trying to get back into writing a paper diary. It has to be paper, which I know is silly, but for me it's important sensually. I've been through phases of writing for an imagined audience, assuming I'll be famous and the world will want to read my teenage diaries. I've also considered using them as a basis for fiction. But it has recently occurred to me that they may actually have a value in being the real - though obviously edited - diaries of a slightly odd 1980s teenager. In all cases a word-processed version would actually be more useful!
Anyone know how I go about getting a publisher for my 80s diaries?
I'm still laughing at my entry in 1982: In Maths we played on the computer. It is most interesting