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Tuesday 17th January 2023


I’ve learned some things about my VW Sharan in the last couple of days of owning it (before replacing it with a newer one). There is a USB slot inside the big arm rest between the driver’s and passenger seat (I’ve been using a converter plugged into the cigarette lighter) - only saw this when I emptied the stuff out of the thing. It’s not that it’s hidden - I just never saw it.
And - this one might not be true of the old car- there is additional storage in the footwell of the rear passenger seats. I only found this out because I couldn’t find the wheel lock kit in the new car and nor could the man selling it, but it turned out that it was in one of these little cubbies. Now I am pretty sure that it was my old Sharan where I had to get the wheel locks replaced because there was no key in the car, but now I am wondering if it was hidden away in this super secret area. I certainly never saw this space in the old car, but there were footwell carpets down. It’s possible.
I asked Catie if she wanted to say goodbye to the old car before I set off, but she didn’t. She got emotional about our old house, but the car, which has brought us so much joy, she has nothing for. Who did I marry? The car tried to pretend it didn’t care, but I knew its feelings were hurt. Though I also know that the car always preferred its original owner Ryan and vainly searched for his phone whenever it got the chance. And maybe Ryan died in the car and was a ghost, which would explain why the radio kept going haywire.
The new car was not pining for whoever had owned it before. They only had it for 12 months so maybe that wasn’t time to forge an emotional tie. I will be keeping it for a lot longer than that. 
The new car, whilst ostensibly the same as the old one, but a lot cleaner (I removed half a curling sandwich from the back footwell of the old car, but there was a bit more cleaning to do than that), did feel like it ran more smoothly and the driving seat felt a bit lower. My first duty was to get to a garage as the showroom had kindly left only 30 miles worth of fuel in it (and it wasn’t even a case of a full tank doubling the value of the car, though it wasn’t cheap). I think this is only the fifth car that I have owned in my life (not counting the one I bought in the 90s to give away in the Edinburgh run of TMWRNJ), so I am loyal to my vehicles. Even if I am not great at keeping them clean and unbumped. 

Trying to keep work to a minimum still, but completed by second Book Club interview of the week, with the wonderful John Higgs talking about Love and Let Die. I thought, with his accurate suspicion of the influence and privilege of public schoolboys that he might be a good person to investigate my idea of a book/film about the comedians who started in the cellar at the Oxford Union (Iannucci, Lee, Murray, Phillips, Schneider, me etc) , whilst upstairs future politicians and ministers like Johnson, Cameron and Gove were doing politics. Higgs didn’t look too interested in it, but I think it’s a solid gold cracker of an idea. Even if it’s just a film where I travel back in time and convince all those comics and the younger me that they have to go Guy Fawkes on the Union’s arse, for the sake of the future.
I hope that soon the UK will stop giving deference to Eton educated fucking idiots and that we might evolve into a country which rewards people for excellence, not for connections and money. The Beatles showed what talent can do, but as Higgs’ book argues (and we didn’t really get into this in the chat) since the 90s even the entertainment industry has become the preserve of the Upper classes. Yet who has brought in more money and tourism than the Beatles in the 20th and 21st Centuries?
A system that does not promote its most talented members (in every role) is doomed to fail. I was lucky enough to get into comedy in the 90s where it was possible for someone with no money and no connections to live in London (and thanks to Mrs Thatcher for creating the Enterprise Allowance Scheme) and find their way to success. 
I hope the UK can recalibrate and become a force for the future, rather than stuck in the past. It doesn’t look likely, but luckily we’re going to fall so low that the only way, to coin a phrase, is up.

Snooker tonight and it was a particularly poor frame. Listen here or watch on YouTube.

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