Magazine article The Spectator

I'm Amazing-So Are You!

Magazine article The Spectator

I'm Amazing-So Are You!

Article excerpt


So I didn't get eaten by the sharks in the end. Which was nice. Except the annoying thing is, my ordeal by great white sharks wasn't quite the purgative, life-changing experience I hoped it would be. Even though I've now proved how big and brave I am, my friends haven't started looking up to me as the new Achilles; nor has my novel got any easier to write; nor have I become richer, happier or less worried about failure and death. Bummer, eh?

But the good new is, I'm having a baby and, according to my wife, this is the best possible cure for existential gloom because you don't have time to worry about your own problems any more. As yet, I remain unconvinced by this theory. The way I see it, I'm about to step up to the middle of the child-father-grandfather ladder which leads to oblivion. Still, I do see much useful journalistic material in all this. So if you're a features editor and fancy giving me a highly paid, ex-groovy-young-dude-becomes-afather column in your newspaper, I'm probably up for it.

Yes, yes, I'll get to television in a minute. But not yet because I bumped into an old friend at a jolly thirty-something garden party the other day and he told me that the bits everyone liked best about this column were the ones where I rambled on about myself.

Maybe I could set myself up as the new James Boswell. Not in his incarnation as slavering admirer of Dr Johnson but in his guise as morbid, self-obsessed author of those fabulously readable journals. His life and work were celebrated in a deeply poignant Bookmark (BBC 2, Saturday), in which the journalist Andrew O'Hagan did a fine job of correcting the ancient misconception that Boswell was just a feckless debauchee whose sole talent was sucking up to celebs.

Then, again, maybe I'm not the new Boswell, so I'd better get on with reviewing The Human Body (BBC 1, Wednesday) which, as luck would have it, relates to all the things I've just been talking about: death, babies, egoism, everything.

Here is a programme which everyone will enjoy, if for no other reason than that its message is so flattering. 'Do you realise how totally, incredibly amazing you are?' it screams. 'You are, you know! You're a total bloody genius! You're much bigger and cleverer and better evolved than all those other rubbishy animals out there. Your brain's a zillion times more powerful than any computer! …

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