Originating pithy one-liners is my thing. So how, you may well ask, did I get to be doing this as a hobby? After spotting a few one-liners in the London production of a stage play I’d written, I thought it might be fun to devise them “neat”, to stand alone in their own right.
I don’t keep a diary as such, since I’m not interested in whether I bought jam or peanut butter last Tuesday at Tesco’s. What I can claim, though, is that every original thought I’ve had in the past few years has been noted down. True, it’s not your normal kind of diary, but it’s one I love as I never know what I’m going to think up next and I’m constantly surprising myself.
Two gap years
Foreign languages also fascinate me. At eighteen, I went on a roll and hitchhiked across Europe to spend my two gap years learning German and Italian. After winning a European scholarship from Cambridge, I went on an American lecture tour and finally returned home to face Real Life - as an apprentice cub reporter on three local papers.
What launched my journalistic career was a lengthy interview I did with the late Margaret Thatcher for the Times of 10 May 1978, in the year before she became Prime Minister. The interview had to be recorded as I’d fallen off a bus the previous day and had cracked both my arm and my ability to write. Click on the blog tab to read the full piece.
After being unofficially adopted as a feature writer by the old London Evening News, I found myself also writing the occasional pieces for the Sunday Times, Daily Express, Independent, Observer, Spectator, Daily Telegraph and New Statesman but, alas, none of these papers paid very well. So, whenever I got myself into the red, I would dive downmarket and have the red-top tabloids rescue me from penury.
Many of my aphorisms are a celebratory send-up of the English language. Like my stage work and my journalism, they reflect my love affair – all right, my addiction – to words. Friends finally prevailed on me to bring my one-liners into the public domain and the immediate traction they gained on Twitter and Instagram has further encouraged me to publish my first book, due out this autumn.
So that’s my journey so far and you are most welcome to come aboard as travelling together is so much more fun than keeping my thoughts to myself. At this early stage, though, I’m just putting my toe in the water. The foot may, or may not, follow.