I had always imagined – and been fully prepared – to turn into my creation one day, even though I’d originally intended to become John May. When you spend so long inside someone else’s mind it becomes second nature to compare and contrast their nature with your own.
I hadn’t expected to be trapped with Arthur Bryant for so long. There are other very different characters I want to write, but for now I’m typecast. I can sympathise with Conan Doyle for wanting to chuck his detective over the falls. Killing your detective frees up your time to explore other adventures.
But I realise now that we are conjoined, and note that in some ways we diverge more now than we ever have in the past, he and I.
Here’s a rough guide.
BRYANT: Wants to live in London’s past.
ME: Happier living in the present. Or the future, despite its potential grimness.
BRYANT: Ridiculously well-read.
ME: Read a lot – not the same thing.
BRYANT: Can’t understand any technology more complex than a biro, but occasionally forced to use a phone.
ME: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Siri, headphones (4 pairs), Bose Frames (awesome), Kindle, iPad etc etc. Can open front door on my phone from another country (surprisingly useful).
BRYANT: Only trusts face-to-face encounters.
ME: Apps, digital bank, texts, Twitter etc.
BRYANT: Has a car – Victor the rusty yellow Mini.
ME: Got rid of car. Public transport preferred.
BRYANT: Loves classical art and unfashionable music.
ME: Loves modern art and EDM.
BRYANT: Has never knowingly purchased new clothes. I’ve seen better dressed wounds.
ME: Only shops at super-cheap Jack & Jones (sadly London’s only outlet shut last year) and weird little independents, which explains ‘eclectic’ look.
BRYANT: Short and stocky, smokes pipe.
ME: Tall and thin, smokes nothing.
BRYANT: Intensely annoying liberal.
ME: Fairly annoying liberal.
BRYANT: Gregarious (compared to May, the loner)
ME: Gregarious (but spends too much time in dark on laptop)
Hmmm….maybe we’re more alike than I thought!