Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Shazia's Week: Columnist of the Year

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Shazia's Week: Columnist of the Year

Article excerpt

It's three o'clock in the morning and I should be writing this column, but instead I feel the foolish necessity to google my friends from primary school to see what they've done with their lives. This task took a few hours, then I progressed to googling people I had met in nightclubs during my time at university.


Before Google I actually had hobbies, and before I started owning computers I actually had a life. I have been stuck at my computer all week, working on my new show for the Edinburgh Festival, but have been constantly distracted by the endless possibilities that the internet symbol "e" brings-from porn to fat-free fairy cake recipes.

I'm surprised anybody does any work any more. It seems the only time I do work these days is when I have a deadline.

I ventured into my garden shed a few days ago to take out the lawnmower and found there a host of things that used to have a place in my life: a pair of cowboy boots, old photos, a tent, a rake, leather gloves, a foldable bed, walking boots, a big suitcase and a pair of roller boots. Some people find themselves in the Himalayas. I found myself in the garden shed.

I stood inside the shed and look out on to the shed and looked out on to the street. Children were playing, laughing and eating ice cream. People were parking their cars and taking their shopping inside their houses. I love watching people doing mundane things. I find it interesting, which must say a lot about just how exciting my life is, but I find great comfort in the ordinary. If they had seen me making notes on my notepad while peeping at them and their kids, they probably would have called the police.

I was standing in my shed wondering if my Edinburgh show will be good enough, and wondering what it must be like to have a normal summer. A part of me quite envied the people bringing in their shopping and chatting to the ice-cream man about why he'd run out of red sauce. …

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