Home Again, For Better Or Worse
Friday, 29 January 2010
In theory, the travelling poker life should be glamorous and exciting. I suppose it sort of is. But my general, juggly, jack-of-all-trades approach to professional life made for a fairly exhausting January, involving episodes of Only Connect, filmed in a different country from the one I live in, sandwiched between trips to poker tournaments in two other countries where I don’t live. I’m not complaining. I’m grateful for all opportunities. It’s just a bit of a relief to be home at last, for a whole fortnight before disappearing again to… well, to get involved in more ridiculous schemes and wheezes, which I’ll tell you about nearer the time and you can all tell me I’ve gone mad.
The odd thing about coming “home”, though, is that (having only recently moved house) it still doesn’t quite feel like it. That is thanks partly to the local council, who seem completely unable to figure out that I live here. I have rung them quite a few times to register for council tax. Finally they grasped the point and I have started paying council tax. But I arrived home to find a new council tax bill, in which I appear to have become a married couple with the fellow who now lives in my old flat, and the council is determined to charge us together at the new place. The next morning, I was woken up at 8am by a representative from the council, hammering on the door to find out why there appeared to be people in the property when they have it listed as completely empty. Odd. They think that nobody’s living here (which is why they came round), that I am living here (which is why they’ve accepted my payments so far), and also that several other people are living here, some of whom I’ve never met (which is why they are being billed at this address). In official terms, I seem to be the proprietor of a ghostly squat.
Always nice to be reunited with the British papers though. I love newspapers; they, and tea, are what I miss most when I’m away. On the train back from Paris, I treated myself to a cover-to-cover reading of a day old Guardian, sections 1 and 2.
I particularly enjoyed the G2 cover interview with Natasha Walter, promoting her new book about the return of sexism. But I will say this. If I were a notable feminist author, giving an interview about my new book in which I revealed my concerns about pornography’s recent “unbelievable obsession with extreme anal sex”, I perhaps would not say, “While I don’t really think that sexism ever went away, it’s stronger than it was. It’s as though something crept in by the back door.”