An Apology

Observatory

I’d like to apologise for the extreme boringness of yesterday’s entry on BFI Film Guides. It was only one stop above The History of the Apostle Spoon.

I had just returned from Kent and was overcome with fatigue, so I wrote about the nearest things to hand without thinking that they might proved staggeringly dull to anyone who had come to this site because they were interested in say, crime novels and not obscure film manuals (although they are marvellous).

Being boring is a curse. Several crime writers I know suffer from it. Two are terminal cases. We have one job, to be interesting, and yesterday I failed you. Writers pay their way by being amusing. It was either Mary Rogers or Dorothy Parker who said, ‘I don’t perform, except at dinner.’

We get invited to dinner to be interesting, to cast reflected glory onto the duller guests. The old rule is; The duller the client, the more expensive the restaurant has to be. The same goes for writers; the drearier the dinner, the more vivacious the writer. It’s hard work. Noel Coward must have been knackered most of the time.

But we now live in a world where wit counts for nothing, where anything will be believed if said with a straight face. Panache has vanished. Now we have bling and struggle and nothing between the two states. The middle ground of style, charm, grace, eloquent rudeness and wry amusement have been blasted aside by the twin evils of philistinism and cancel culture. Learning how to behave is a fine art almost totally ignored in the 21st century.

I’ve noticed this in conversations with certain people who exhibit no curiosity at all. They are, like Colin Robinson, psychic vampires. These are people who, passing a great mysterious commotion of people, will stop to see if they have something on their shoe.

It is my job to be their enemy. I must be ever vigilant. If I become tarnished again, I shall follow the great George Sanders, whose suicide note read; ‘I am leaving this world because I am bored.’

Thank you for your understanding.

18 comments on “An Apology”

  1. Cornelia Appleyard says:

    I wasn’t bored by yesterday’s entry.
    I had no idea that the books existed, and am now tempted to read them.

  2. Jo W says:

    Christopher, you can never be boring.
    Now me, well that’s another story………

  3. Dawn Andrews says:

    Ditto Cornelia and Jo. I’ve always admired George Saunders, ever since watching the Jungle Book as a kid. That voice!

  4. Martin Tolley says:

    Like Cornelia, I hadn’t come across these before, so ’twas interesting for me on a very wet Sunday afternoon. I hesitate to suggest that list readers here make nominations – we know what we’re like don’t we? But if you’m stuck for project at any time Mr F – how’s about “The Book of Ought-to-be-Forgotten Authors” – over-rated and boring scribes who still plague libraries and take up excess space in bookshops. And you not allowed to include the usual suspects like Jane Austen, the Bronte sistas, Freddy Forsythe or anyone named Brown.

  5. Mike says:

    @ Martin
    I’ll add Jeffrey Archer to your list

  6. Helen Martin says:

    Tastes differ, gentlemen. I didn’t find yesterday boring. Not thrilling, not stimulating, not funny, but not boring. It was information and I’ll read almost anything that adds to the information store.
    {I’ve picked plums and taken advantage of the sale on gin. The jars are in the handy cupboard with reminders to shake periodically.}

  7. Wim says:

    Always interesting, your posts!

  8. Jay says:

    No need to apologise Chris – it must be a nightmare sometimes coming up with a variety of daily blog topics for our delectation on here.
    I was totally unaware of these BFI guides so straight away I got on their website for a browse and ended up buying one.
    So, you’ve introduced me to the hopefully marvellously interesting and esoteric world of the BFI film guide books.
    Interesting is never boring, and if anyone found it boring well you can’t please everyone!
    We all think you’re marvellous Mr F

  9. Linwood Hines says:

    i honestly hope that the powers controlling the world apologize for the delay in bringing Oranges and Lemons to Mysterious Bookshop – my go to, tho’ I don’t live anywhere near it – and shouldn’t give tax dollars to NYC after what the mayor (?) has allowed to occur there. But, I would like an autographed version – and I don’t know anywhere else to get one. There are (unsigned) copies on US eBay for crying out loud – and, yea, I could live without having your auto, but I would like it. Please let me know how to get one here – I’ve re-read every single B&M thru the summer, and have started on Chandler’s epistles in my despair.

  10. John Howard says:

    Well, I did find yesterdays post of interest. It was soothing to the point where I only had to read and inwardly digest and not get all concerned about something. Peaceful you might say.
    SO, apology not necessary, understanding always and zingyness is back.
    Morning.

  11. Gary Hart says:

    Colin Robinson, *chuckles to himself* That time he got so powerful he grew hair.*laughs out loud at that one*.

  12. Nelle Stokes says:

    I loved yesterday’s column! I read the line about the definition of indy cinema to my husband, an independent filmmaker, and he cracked up. He then mentioned a certain American actor who is now appearing in an independent film, and right on cue we both said, ‘what did he do??’

  13. Peter T says:

    Don’t apologise. It’s all interesting. I’ve always felt George Sanders is rather underrated. After all, he made ‘The Saint’ into something quite good.

  14. John Griffin says:

    Found it interesting enough to get the Kim Newman one. Evoked memories of watching the 1959 TV series on a B&W telein the caravan we lived in then, in Meriden. We had the neighbours in, who smelt of paraffin heaters fumes. The olfactory atmosphere degenerated further at a crucial dramatic moment when the daughter fsrted, long, loud and rather stinky. All the adults sat in silence, desperate not to comment.

  15. Derek J Lewis says:

    Think of your blog like jazz mr Fowler. You start the riff and everyone else joins in. Boredom doesn’t come into it

  16. Wayne Mook says:

    if you want boredom, my union newsletter had a recipe in it that had Swede (Turnip in Scotland and other parts as discussed.) So if you want another swede recipe…

    Actually ‘bigging u’p books on a site about writing and books and not just yours, how can that be boring.

    Wayne.

  17. Ian Luck says:

    You couldn’t be boring if you tried, Mr F. Don’t sell yourself short.

  18. Rebecca Tromel says:

    I often get accused of being Too Curious. As if that is a bad thing.

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