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Friday, 26 October 2012

Dear Diary



I don’t keep a diary. I’ve tried, several times, which is testament only to an attitude of hope over experience. The first day’s entry will go something like this:

25 March 8:43pm
Had pasta for dinner. Earlier today the twazzle next door was playing dance music again. I don’t know how he manages to sing along. My left ankle hurts if I stand on one leg.

I generally continue like this for three days. Can’t-be-arsedness sets in on day four, and by day five I’ve forgotten that I was writing a diary (again).

Someone who I imagine does keep a diary (or else has phenomenal memory skills) is Joan Stubbs, who gives a detailed account here of her trip on the first mass voyage ferrying GI brides to the USA. I love a bit of social history (you can keep the dates and what-King-when stuff).

Then there is the Mass Observation Archive, which started life in 1937 by recording – via written diaries – the everyday lives of ordinary people.

Simon Garfield, in his book Our Hidden Lives: The Remarkable Diaries of Postwar Britain, collates the diary entries of five Mass Observation volunteers in the immediate post-WWII years. The result is utterly engrossing, completely fascinating and, ultimately, just a little bit heartbreaking.

***

p.s. 25 October 8:08pm
I had couscous for dinner. The neighbour’s bought a karaoke machine. My left hip hurts if I hop.

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