I've been reading Claire Tomalin's excellent biography of Dickens. I'm getting to the dismal bit at the end where, having almost everything a chap could want, he reaches for the last of the golden fruit and comes a cropper. His problem was the humiliating problem, common to us men, of not being able to keep it in his trousers. He had an over-plus of energy and some of it he made good use of and some of it he didn't. I'm pleased that Tomalin seems to share my estimate of Little Dorrit. His best book? Well, maybe not, that's probably Great Expectations, but- take it all in all and considering the range of its ambition- almost certainly his greatest.
Another thing I read was Andrew O'Hagan' s long article in the TLS about trying to ghost Julian Assange's autobiography. Julian is another guy who can't keep it in his trousers. Also a humongous egotist. O'Hagan characterizes him as a spoiled child- with the knack (I once knew a poet who had it) of turning every friend and ally into an enemy at last. Poor old world, that has such woefully inadequate saviours!
We were driving past Alexandra Park yesterday afternoon and noticed that a film crew had parked its vehicles- including a catering van belonging to a company called Forkandles (after the wonderful, punning Two Ronnies sketch) in the car park at the corner of King's Rd and Queen's Rd. Ailz suggested that Beyonce- who is performing in Manchester- might be filming a video among the walks and empty flower beds and I thought probably not, but- gosh- who knows? There were people loitering around, including a fat guy who was smoking what I'd like to think was a cigar- but no-one who looked like any kind of a star.