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Wednesday, 24 April 2019


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. Sometimes, I get mad as hell! & @JoeCushnan

In my world, right now, the worst thing I can subject myself to is morning news programmes on radio and television. There is so much 'bad stuff' being reported, analysed, discussed and wrung out that I know it is not the best and most positive way to spend time at the start of a day. Interviews, generally, are a series of long-winded questions followed by long-winded answers that, most of the time, do not have any relationship to what has just been asked. Experts and gurus, who are no such thing, are trooped in to offer either blether or blah to a subject, not advancing issues one jot. Transient politicians drone on and worse politicians long since retired, are treated like old sages who have forgotten their onions in the years since their limelight faded. To me, it is just noise. Negative, destructive noise.

So, in 2019, most of my early mornings have been spent drinking tea and reading in a quiet part of the house. At the beginning of the year, I set myself the pleasurable challenge of reading all the Jeeves and Wooster books by P. G. Wodehouse. There are, I believe in total, 35 short stories and 11 novels in the canon and they plus the tea and seclusion for an hour or so lay the foundations for whatever the day brings. I have six books under my belt and I am about to start the next one.

Apart from the joy and entertainment in the books for a reader, an aspiring writer can see that the books form a masterclass.

'What a very, very lucky person you are. Spread out before you are the finest and funniest words from the finest and funniest writer the past century ever knew.' So wrote Stephen Fry, a fine Jeeves in his time.

'The funniest writer ever to put words to paper.' So wrote Hugh Laurie, a sublime Bertie Wooster on television alongside the aforementioned Fry.

The next book happens to be called Joy in the Morning. Very apt.

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