Monday, February 7, 2011

I am just going to the sofa and may be some time

My final 2010 Christmas present from my wife has arrived, a copy of Alex Marsh’s Sex & Bowls & Rock & Roll. As Jonny B, Marsh writes the brilliant blog Private Secret Diary, which is almost/arguably as funny as this one. The book is, I gather, a sort of bookisation of the blog. (May one verbise “book”? Should it be “bookification”? Discuss.)

The blurb says:
The story of a man who gives up the rock ’n’ roll dream. . . to play bowls.
Alex Marsh wanted to be a rock star – but it didn’t work out. Instead he toiled away in the big city – only to give up his career, move to rural Norfolk, and become a househusband. But he isn’t a very good one. Whilst his pride won't let him admit it, he struggles with the cooking, the housework and the isolation. He hires a cleaner without telling his wife, his repertoire of baked potatoes exhausts quickly. He becomes hooked on daytime television and computer solitaire. He is in danger of becoming weird. So he takes up bowls.
In Sex & Bowls & Rock and Roll we follow a season in the life of the village bowls team, a group of amateur sportsmen and mild eccentrics. In doing so we see this unfashionable pastime in a whole new light, and very funny it is too.
But Alex hasn’t quite given up on his dreams of rock stardom. Discovering that some of his mates down the pub are a bit handy with bass and drums he makes one final stab at being in a band, with an eagerly awaited local gig. It is a complete disaster.
Join Alex has he comes to terms with life as a domestic disappointment, attempts to learn the fine art of bowls and finally realises that supporting the Sultans Of Ping at the Pink Toothbrush in Rayleigh really was the highpoint of his musical career.
So it’s the story of my life, apart from the bowls. As soon as I have finished reading this and the Thelonious Monk bio I borrowed from Distractions, I promise I will resume proper blogging to reveal the secret connection between Bill Manhire and Dr Feelgood, as previously advertised.


Stephanie said...

Isn't it lovely when Xmas is dragged out for weeks and weeks by the thoughtful spouse or occasional child? You are blessed.

Mrs QUQ said...

Stephanie - I have to admit it wasn't planned. I blame the English postal system (whose leaders would probably blame leaves on the tracks or snow on the runways).

Stephanie said...

Never explain and never apologise my ex used to say, and in this case I agree! Much better to say, 'oh, darling, you deserve to have Xmas every day'!

Seriously, we can forgive the Brits for delays at that time. I knew people trying to get into Britain for Xmas and it was dire.

JonnyB said...

Aha! Brilliant. Glad it finally, finally got to you...

Thank you and hope you enjoy it - as a long-time reader I'm interested in whether you think it worked... hopefully not too much duplication of stuff you've already read.

We shall see! Enjoy. A.

Stephen Stratford said...

Hi Alex, thanks for dropping by.

Loved the book. Some anecdotes vaguely recalled from the blog but it's a very different form. It must have been very hard to manage the transition from blog to long-form - the structure is really quite intricate with the different time periods covered in each chapter but it's always easy to follow - hard writing, easy reading - and is always funny. I hope that your new business is a success but not so successful that you don't write another book.

I'm going to give a copy to my friend Johnny who moved to the country to be a househusband and who is a musician. His village also has a bowls club, so we'll see.

JonnyB said...

Should he decide to take up bowls I would love him for it...

Thanks for that. To be technical (if it's interesting) a lot of the structure came from the fact that doing something like that entirely in the present tense causes all sorts of problems (as I found, anyway). I was a bit worried as to whether it had worked with the leaping about, but people seem happy.

Thank you!!!