I am a woman of obsessions, indeed as many of my friends will testify I now boring for Britain on topics such as steel and concrete as I am midway through the riveting 'Stuff Matters', a book about materials by Mark Miodownik, and enjoying it to the extent that Husband is beginning to complain that he is finding bedtime conversations revolving around topics such as the discovery of stainless steel and the near mystical properties of areogel, a bit of a turn off.
Sometimes though people and topics are like comets, you have never heard of them and then suddenly they appear on the horizon, unannounced, and then keep reappearing in a flood of sparks and twinkles and this is the unlikely role that Caitlin Moran the UK columnist and broadcaster, has taken up in my life.
I first discovered her when a friend gave me a copy of Caitlin Moran's book “How to be a Woman”. Like all good columnists and comedians, she doesn’t spare herself or others and I found myself alternating between snorting with laughter and metaphorically covering my eyes and going “Oh my God!”, but bits of her writing have stayed with me which for me is always the sign of a good book.
Then I was back in the UK this summer, I came across a fabulous column by Caitlin in the Times Magazine entitled ‘My Posthumous Advice to my Daughter’. As the parent occupying the main lion-taming role in the three ring circus that is life with three teenage girls, I am always keen on a bit of advice, though obviously I’d prefer to deliver the words of wisdom in person rather than from beyond the grave. I loved her advice to her daughter and as I read through her wacky and funny but oh so truthful guide to life, I found myself nodding and going “Yes, Yes” in a way that definitely alarmed my fellow passengers on the stationary Edinburgh to York train. Some of the gems I treasured were:
“Always remember that, nine times out of ten, you probably aren’t having a nervous breakdown – you just need a cup of tea and a biscuit. You’d be amazed at how easily and repeatedly you can confuse the two. Get a big biscuit tin.”
“Never love someone whom you think you need to mend – or who makes you feel you should be mended.”
And my personal favourite bit because I hate to say it, I do lead my life a bit this way:
“Life divides into AMAZING ENJOYABLE TIMES and APPALLING EXPERIENCES THAT WILL MAKE FUTURE AMAZING ANECDOTES. However awful, you can get yourself through any experience if you imagine yourself in future, telling your friends about it as they scream, with increasing disbelief, ‘NO! NO!’”.
(This is the link to the full article, however you do need to subscribe to get it in full comet appropriate glory!
And this week just to complete the trinity of the Caitlin Moran experience, I came across a Radio 4 podcast of the woman herself, reading extracts from her teenage diaries which made me laugh so much that there was definite stool wobbling going on.