Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Austen powers

So I haven’t posted for a while. So it’s been the summer, alright. So I was on a break from the course. Plus I got a bit raspberryed and could hardly walk for nearly a month.

The competition? The winning answer is in the comments on the Competition posting. It was Jane Austen. That’s right. I’ve never read a Jane Austen book. Scoop got it right. If he or she emails me with address details, I’ll get the prize together.

There’s also a comment by Maudie lamenting my non-reading of Jane Austen. I must say, though, I’m not yet persuaded by his/her argument that I should read Austen for her accurate portrayal of ‘the total tedium and frustration of women's lives’. That sounds more like a strong argument in favour of my non-reading of her.

The competition is really, I suppose, a variant on the after-dinner game called I’ve Never — a version of True Or False. You make a statement that starts ‘I’ve never . . .’ Read a Jane Austen book, in my case. Then the others have to guess if you’re lying or telling the truth.

I’ve played it. It’s very, very easy for it to turn socially awkward, though. Too often, people just don’t get it. They can’t figure out the level to pitch at. They say things like ‘I’ve never been to the moon’. Or ‘I’ve never eaten zebra’. Or ‘I’ve never been to Northampton’. Things that are impossible for anyone, things that are probably true for most people, things that you really couldn’t care whether they were true or false.

It works best with people you know well but not too well. My best line is ‘I’ve never been to Los Angeles’. Which is true. But, given my music writer history, no-one ever believes me. I’m not sure if I believe myself.