Desultory Observations

The Guardian booksblog had an article the other day about bookmarks. As observers of this blog may be aware (or as you can check

on the – surprisingly incomplete – list of books I’m currently reading), Obooki has

a tendency to read many books at once: – if we include short story collections, the figure may be somewhere between 50 and 100; – and naturally, this

necessitates many objects (train tickets, receipts, important letters from my bank) being co-opted into the role of bookmark. – For instance, the

other day I was inclined to vote, for better or for worse, in an election, and so I went on my whistling way; but as I was walking along on what was,

to be fair, a pretty sunny day, I chanced to think that maybe after all I hadn’t filled out that voter registration form – and by the time I got to

the polling station, I was pretty sure I hadn’t; – so I apologised when I got there and said, “I’d like to vote, but I’m pretty sure I’m not on

the register”; – and they checked, and I wasn’t. They said I could complain and I said, “What, about my inability to fill out a form?” (Which,

incidentally, is how Boris Johnson got in). – Anyway, I was revisiting some books this weekend which I hadn’t touched in a while and of course found

the form in one of them, performing its much more vital function.

Another Guardian blog was about Jennings. – I read a lot of Jennings as a schoolboy. (Having

had a Home-Counties, prep school education, I guess it was far more relevant to me than the fantastical and far-fetched Grange Hill – relevance being

relative, after all). But what interested me was that the author was called Anthony Buckeridge. I’d forgotten this – but some euphony in the name

must have remained in my mind, because many years later (and much to the mockery of a friend or two) I called the hero of a novel I was writing at the

time Anthony Butteridge. – Oh, I had a terrible way with names of characters back then; but at least I’d got out of the Dickensian habit of referring

to them as Mr. So-and-So – something I did find difficult to shake off, being a schoolboy at the time and finding it difficult to consider adults in

any different terms.

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