April 17th, 2005

Too Many....

Richard and Judy's novel-writing competition (which I didn't win) drew 46,000 entries.

46,000 novels. Think of it. You'd need a lifetime to read them all.

46,000 novels. And one has been selected for publication.

According to the Economist something like 10,000 novels are published in the UK each year.

Of that 10,000, how many will be remembered?

In a good year- one, two, three? In many years none at all.

And how many classic novels are there altogether? Count up the novels that really matter- the novels that form the Western canon, from Don Quixote to Catcher in the Rye- and I doubt if they number more than 1,000.

The novels that matter are a tiny proportion of the novels that have been published and the novels that have been published are a tiny proportion of the novels that have been written.

It makes me feel sick and giddy.

And small....

Top Of The Milk

An ice cream van just went down the road with its chimes playing a song I remember from my 1950s childhood and which I can't think I've heard since. The chorus goes something like this.

You, me and us;
We are my favourite people
we both go together like peaches and cream
And bells and a church and a steeple.


Is it a Doris Day number?

Ice cream vans never play anything up to date. I guess it's a copyright thing.

But now I can taste the tinned peach slices in syrup, with cream from the top of the milk bottle, which my mother used to give us for dessert.

"What's for pudding, mumma?"

"Peaches with top of the milk."

"Oooh-  super!"