It is about eleven on Christmas Eve Eve. I am in Asda buying snacks and pop to mix with the spirits we have at home. It is filled with people buying huge quantities of crisps, breaded mozzarella fingers and Advocaat. I have just had to wait in the ‘20 items or less’ self-service queue for ten minutes while a couple scan through an entire large trolley worth of alcohol and ready meals, and another man struggles with the mysteries of the barcode scanner. My arms are loaded with heavy bags; I am glad to finally be heading towards the rotating doors which lead to freedom and cool air.
But wait! As I walk past the last row of self-scan checkouts I spot something which troubles me. A skinny young woman in pink tracksuit, mouth hanging half open, is about to finalise her purchase of Santa Baby, the latest ‘novel’ by Katie Price’s ghost-writer. Filled with the charity of the season and the snobbishness of the English graduate, I think ‘I must do something to prevent this affront to everything I stand for.’ I fight back the urge to approach the woman, pick up her book, and say “ma’am, I have as much confidence in Katie Price’s ability to write a novel as I do in your ability to read it”, then watch as she puzzles of the meaning of my words. I leave the store feeling sickeningly smug.
On my way home, through the dark streets of Wolverhampton, I am smacked by a grim realization. Katie Price has four autobiographies, seven novels, and twenty six children’s books on the market. I have one book of verse which has only sold three copies, and I bought all of those. I know that quality is more important than quantity, and I feel in my self-important heart that my book must be better than any of Jordan’s, but there is one fact that I cannot ignore.
I have written a handful of paragraphs and two or three lines of verse in the past few weeks. Even with a ghost writer in tow, Katie Price clearly spends more time working on her literary career than I do. How can I call myself a writer when I apparently put less effort into writing than Britain’s most famous blow-up doll?
And so it becomes clear. I must try harder. And step one is to reinstitute this blog, and make it better than ever before. Watch this space folks, and have a Merry Christmas.