Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

I Need a Fishing Rod and a Bassoon, Fast

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

I Need a Fishing Rod and a Bassoon, Fast

Article excerpt

The name of this new column could hardly be more apt this week, as--even by the neurotic standards of my life, which lead me to regard almost anything, from losing a fountain pen upwards, as a crisis--something has just occurred with the potential to supply me with worries for the next 20 years at least. It's also the most exciting thing to happen to me in my life so far. My wife is pregnant! And, thanks to the wonder of ultrasound (a strange, messy miracle that involves smearing a woman's stomach with jelly, something missing from most of the miraculous happenings in the Bible), we now know that the person-in-waiting is a boy.

It's a boy. I'm going to have a son. A newly minted man will be living the first months and years of his life under my tutelage. I'm going to be a BLOODY DAD. To a SON.

I'm aware that this is the most commonplace of situations, and, thanks to the recent rise of "lad lit", the combination of fear and exhilaration served up by the prospect of fatherhood has never been so well documented. But no amount of bumbling columns, no quantity of well-meaning-but-clumsy Tony Parsons/Nick Hornby characters can prepare you for the thrill, and fear, of imagining a tiny version of yourself trying to make his way in the increasingly baffling modern world. No recent generation has had to grapple with such a volatile east-west relationship, such bewildering technological progress (which of us children of the Eighties imagined the Nintendo Wii? …

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