Today’s classic example of how to grip the outside with a rhetoric that deftly turns it into an extension of the inside. But the outside is already there; it is not a “free gym”. The concept of an outside is the last of the commons; a bit more of it is enclosed every time someone writes an article like this. I can’t say how unpleasant it feels to be encouraged to exploit the outside as an inside–to be given permission to exploit it that way–by someone called Lucy; or by someone who sells me back the commons as my membership of their Green Gym. (Or at present, of course, White Gym: expect valuable lifestyle insights on that from a Lucy or two if the current media end of the world, Big Freeze Britain 2010, lasts for another whole week.)
Fascinated by: the responses to Barbara Ehrenreich’s Smile or Die, which indicate that people all over are waking up to the wankfest they have enjoyed for the last 30 years. Listening to: The Books, courtesy Deb & Tim. Eagerly anticipating: the arrival of The Stone Tape from LoveFilm (I want to watch it again, but not at £50 for a secondhand DVD). Trying to avoid finishing: Notes from Walnut Tree Farm. Deakin has joined the list of authors good enough to ration. I’ve got sufficient unread Nemirovsky to last a couple of years. A powerful list to make would be of writers you wish you’d measured out across your life instead of binge-reading their entire oeuvre in three weeks when you were twenty seven. If I’d been a bit more abstemious with HE Bates he would easily have seen me through.