This week I fell victim to an awful moral quandary, by which I mean that I committed a grave sin. You will recall, no doubt, that last week I returned Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries to the audio bookshop. I also returned The Children Act, by Ian McEwan. But—reader, it was not my fault!—the audio files remained on my device. I do not know why! I plotted no subterfuge! I took no illicit steps!
Yet I was in this position whereby I had received a refund, yet still had the product. The classic cake and eat it—I felt just as our sober and sensible negotiators, David Davis and Boris Johnson, will indubitably feel in March of 2019. ‘That can’t be,’ I thought. Curiosity took a hold of me. I tried a little listen. Just to check, you know. I, honestly, thought that the DRM would kick in. It did not. So I listened, just to the start, because I thought I would like to hear a bit. Just a bit.
But I could not stop. Diary, I listened to almost the whole thing already and I don’t know what to do. Well, okay, I know I should just buy it. I should retrospectively correct my criminal behaviour. However, in Scotland at least, this is not a legal defence. So if one is in for a penny, may as well one stay in for a pound?…
It was very hard to resist continuing to thieve Ian McEwan’s work, especially after the torrid hours I spent trying to get into The Luminaries. I was hooked within the first paragraph. Fiona is a high court judge who is experiencing relationship problems with her husband of many years; this story forms a backdrop to several decisions she has to make, often dealing with religious issues—the education of Jewish girls, and whether to blood transfuse a teenaged Jehovah’s Witness against his will. The issues are real; they raise difficult moral issues. It is an engaging read and I will be sorry when it is over.
I also made some good progress with the autograph man, which is developing in unexpected directions. I took a while getting in to this—I think I’ve finished three novels since I started it—but I never at any point considered abandoning. And, you may have picked up, I am a ruthless abandoner.
In real life, I went to Thai Siam on Friday which was superb and went to Tony macaroni on Sunday, which was good and also fantastic value. I was going to go cycling on Sunday but my cycle friend was ill and anyway I was at a party until almost 1 on Saturday and that’s not very good prep. Instead, I managed a decent 90 minute turbo session and a walk in the sunshine in Kelvingrove park.
While at Thai Siam I boringly regaled my company by talking about how I wished I had a subscription to The Economist but I am too cheap to buy one. Then, as if my telephone heard me, later that evening Facebook showed me an advert for Glasgow libraries, of which I am an appreciative member, which informed me of the libraries e-magazine service. I signed up for this and now have full access to the economist in PDF form. I am amazed by this generosity and urge my fellow library members of the world to investigate whether you too have been blessed with such a great gift.
The biggest non-me news this week was that we invoked article 50 and it was revealed that Michael Flynn, the short lived Trump security adviser, was paid $45,000 by Russia Today. Also Adrian Mole turned 50. Would I be an unpublished author without his inspiration? Who can say. I’d certainly not be a better unpublished writer. I made further progress towards cementing my status as an unpublished writer this week by being rejected by 404ink for their F-word edition, which I felt a little sad about. I am waiting to hear back from New Writing Scotland—I understand that the editorial meeting is today!—but I am braced for rejection. I think I’m just going to start submitting the novel to agents as a still completely unpublished writer.
However, as my driving instructor used to say to me on the many occasions on which I failed my driving test, you only need to not get rejected once and then you are published forever. Unless you have your licence taken off you for incompetent driving. This gives me some hope, I think. Today, new music is released by Goldfrapp and Melody’s Echo Chamber, and this is exciting news even if I never sell more novels than Dan Brown.