Thursday, 18 October 2012

"Moranthology," by Caitlin Moran

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Stuff and Nonsense by Amy Cockram is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

I enjoyed "How to be a Woman" so much that, when I heard that Caitlin Moran had a new book coming out, I was first in the queue to borrow it from the library.  I was so keen that I had a reservation on it before their stock had even been delivered.

So, I was very concerned when I got hold of the book and discovered that it contained an essay about Aberystwyth.  I went to university in Aberystwyth, and I loved it there: even though I went away, a part of my head and an even larger part of my heart are still riding that slightly unsafe looking cliff railway.  I had to flick through this essay first, because I would have had to take the book back unread if she didn't like Aberystwyth.

Thankfully she does ("It had a gothic university like a castle, castle-ruins like a smashed cake, a cliff-top Victorian theme-park that appeared to have been commissioned by a pissed H G Wells...").

I am starting to feel about Caitlin Moran the way that she feels about Tracey Emin, with whom she has had a "close, decades-long, totally imaginary friendship."  The only other writer I've felt a similar kinship for was Antonia Quirke, whose book "Madame Depardieu and the Beautiful Strangers" made me feel that she would be a fun person with whom to talk about films and men over a glass of wine.  I'm at the start of a totally imaginary friendship with Caitlin; the stage where you first meet someone and end up having a ridiculously over-enthusiastic, gabbling conversation with them when you find that you are passionate about the same things.  In this case, I might as well be the target audience for a large proportion of this book: her subjects, as well as Aberystwyth, include Eddie Izzard, David Tennant, libraries and "Sherlock" ("There are women who cry when you say the words 'Benedict Cumberbatch' - and not simply because they are trying to spell it in their heads, and failing").  These all rate highly on my list of favourite things in the world.

In her preface to one article, she writes that when people say that they enjoy her columns she thinks that they mean her insightful articles on politics and society - then she finds out that they actually mean the column in which she tries to convince her husband to call her by the pet-name Puffin.  I'm afraid that I am guilty of this (by which I mean guilty of preferring her humorous articles, and not that I have ever tried to convince my husband to call me Puffin).  She does write some great social comment articles, but - as I admit to being slightly ashamedly shallow - my favourites are always going to be the ones which make me laugh; the ones about the actors I like and the television programmes that I enjoy (such as the review of "The Great British Bake-Off" episode which featured the infamous squirrel cameo).

Of course, I might be biased towards this book, as my loyalty towards my friends - even imaginary ones - means that I am now obligated to like her books....

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