Diaries and Dad's Army

Apologies for the sparseness of entries recenty, but I've had some terrible luck with arranging articles recently. Over the last few weeks and months I've had some of my best ideas to date, although crucially ones which have relied on things I couldn't control (i.e. people). So alas, they remain in the proverbial pipeline, as opposed to the proverbial dustbin of history, be it as they were articles about taxi drivers, prisoners studying for degrees, and the porn industry. I won't go into detail.

With a published article not on the horizon until the summer, I'll take this window of opportunity to spill some more of my unpublished thoughts onto this blog, as I've been encouraged to do...

...and you - if there's really a 'you' - might not realise it now, but those ellipses (...) represent 5 or 10 minutes of wondering what sort of thoughts I'd feel justified in placing on a blog. I've always longed for the habit of keeping a diary, or a journal - a room in which to store some thoughts which I'd actually be interested in digging up myself when I'm older, or which could comprise an experiment with my subconscious. I'm talking about a diary which would ideally have about a dozen entries per day of things like this:

I walked to the shop to get some food for tea. En route the streets were peculiarly empty... so empty that the few strangers who walked them were acutely aware of one another on the street even when divided by some distance... what happened at that moment happens occasionally. I was walking down an empty street towards a stranger who was walking towards me. We'd both clearly and consciously made arrangements about 50 yards prior to the inevitable event of us passing one another - I took my stride slightly left, he took his right, then corrected himself so we wouldn't bump into one another. In a mathematical world we would. Anyway, because of this conscious act of indirect interaction, we were then alert to the fact that we were conscious of eachother. Thus, eye contact was awkward. I pretended to be interested in the time by looking at my watch, then through the shop windows I walk past most days, trying my best to act otherwise occupied... it was very contrived. On most occasions I'm not this over-aware or concerned when walking past strangers, as usually, I don't have to anticipate walking past them for long, or I have a predominant thought to busy myself with in ignorance of them. Walking past strangers is supposed to be unconscious. When we think about it for too long we mess it up. Just like breathing or your style of walking. Or maybe it's a question of place? In my village it wouldn't be as awkward and might lead to a conversation about dogs.

I'm not sure if anyone else would ever ever think or act like this. It would perhaps comprise a decent piece of characterisation and nicely fit into my common themes of divides between strangers and human beings... But nevertheless, if I wrote things like this in a potential diary I'd be writing in it all the time, which wouldn't be economical. Yet I'm certainly that some interesting thoughts and observations, ones which I want to hold on to, will be lost if I don't document them somehow. I keep a journal every time I go travelling, so why not in everyday life?

Here are some ideas I've been having to write up into the format of 4 plays, like with 'Small Talk', an avenue for some sort of surrealist social commentary with a comedic potential...

1) A sort of 'Dad's Army' or 'Blackadder' take on suicide bombers. Featuring all the usual loveable characters, witty dialogue and slapstick scenes and a studio audience on stage laughing along. Turning the tables on the war comedy genre.

2) Working-class snobbery. From experience, the working classes can be just as ignorant as the upper classes.

3) The fickleness of human rivalry. Pickering v Scarborough easily becomes Pickering-Scarborough v York easily becomes North Yorkshire v West Yorkshire easily becomes Yorkshire v Lancashire easily becomes North v South easily becomes England v France easily becomes Europe v America easily becomes Earth v Mars...?

Anyway, to conclude, I've rarely been this frank on this blog before - perhaps someone could give me a thumbs up or thumbs down, or am I deceiving myself that people are actually reading this?