Thursday, December 26, 2002
It's Boxing Day! As a kid I always liked Boxing Day best -- it seemed so anticlimactic, and I've always liked anticlimaxes. And then I moved to America, a country of 300 million people who mostly don't know what Boxing Day is. (Basically it's the day you eat leftovers and sprawl a lot, named after the Victorian custom of servants getting their holiday "boxes" -- gifts of money -- the day after Christmas.)

I plan to write for the first half of today, and friends are coming over for the second half of the day to eat leftovers.

One of Maddy's presents was a magnetic Do-It-Yourself Month-at-a-time calendar: She's sitting on my bed and assembling January as I speak. "Is Columbus day in January?" "No." "Chinese New Year?" "That's the first of February this year." "Isn't anything in January?" "School begins?" "Oh. Right. I'm bored of this now."

We watched Lilo and Stitch together last night. I'd expected it to be mediocre Disney, and it really wasn't at all: smart, funny film with a heart.

Tonight the kids will indulge me and we'll listen to half of the Radio 4 adaptation of John Masefield's "The Box of Delights" on CD. And I'll make Mike a posset.

I got the Ipod I was given for my birthday working. Had a weird moment of living-in-future as I realised I had the first season of Round the Horne -- about half a gig -- sitting in a corner of a little white box, and that, with the death of Barry Took, all of the Round the Horne people are now gone. The only one I ever met was Kenneth Williams. We had lunch and I interviewed him, about seventeen years ago, in the Savoy Grill. The saddest thing, in retrospect, was that the magazine I was interviewing him for underwent a change of editor almost immediately, and the interview never saw print... then again most of the second half of the interview would have been unusable anyway, as it was Ken talking, unstoppably, loudly, and expressively about being a martyr to his bottom and all the famous people he knew who had also been martyrs to their bottoms, many of whom had had operations to correct fistulas and suchlike, all of which Ken seemed to know all about and was determined to talk about in mind-corroding detail. It occurs to me now, typing this and looking back on it, that for Kenneth Williams, life was, very literally, a pain in the arse.

Hm. Let's do an FAQ.

I just have to ask ... in Brief Lives what is the first song that's in the background of the party Del enters during the start of the book? I love the lyrics ... now if I could just find the song ...

It's "Tear In Your Hand", by Tori Amos. It's on Little Earthquakes. You can find things like that out quite often from the Sandman Annotations, an unfinished (I think they only had about four issues to go) usenet based project to annotate all of Sandman. I just looked at the annotation for Sandman 41 and was surprised to note that they'd missed Rita Marlowe. (I suspect that the existence of Google would make Sandman a lot easier to annotate if someone were to try and do it today.)