Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Dashed hopes

People like to trumpet their successes, but they tend to keep their disappointments to themselves. Which gives a very false impression of effortlessly capable individuals who never put a foot wrong. Well, except for those misery memoirs where every possible indignity and trauma is given an airing, as that sells much better than a happy upbringing in staid suburbia.

So anyway, in the interests of balance and an accurate portrayal of my chequered life, here are a few of the most memorable disappointments.

(1) Six and a half years in a spartan, freezing bedsit in an inner London borough, owned by a slum landlord who never did any maintenance and let the rising damp creep up the building.
(2) Being far too staid and suburban to become a wild, drug-addled, out-of-control rock star, and settling for the more sedate occupation of bookselling.
(3) Various sexual let-downs with various attractive but incompatible women, which had the fortunate effect later on of steering me away from extra-marital flings.
(4) Not being born in Australia and spending my life in the sodden, chilly, gloomy British Isles, trying desperately to keep warm for six months of every year.
(5) Not travelling more when I was younger. I should have done the classic round-the-world backpacking thing but I was too unadventurous and unresourceful to do so.
(6) Discovering I wasn't a natural writer and I was never going to rattle off that stunning, award-winning literary novel I'd fantasised about for most of my childhood.

So there you are - the secret lows of Nick's existence. I could mention a few more but enough is enough. I don't want to detract too much from my carefully polished image as a debonair city-slicker. I have my pride, you know.


  1. Hello Nick:

    Now it is we who are disappointed for we had, until this moment, imagined:

    1. You had spent six and a half years in the comfort of a centrally heated, Eaton Square apartment with the occasional foray during harsh winters to Cannes or Nice.

    2. You are in reality, and away from the blog, the Manager of 'Madonna' and are currently working on her 51st. reinvention of self.

    3. You are actually a latter day Hugh Hefner.

    4. You were born in the Bahamas and have no idea what frost and snow are.

    5. Before attending university your parents financed today's equivalent of The Grand Tour to the extent that there is not a single country unknown to you.

    6. Although your natural reticence would never allow you to 'go public', you are William Boyd/Ian McEwan/Simon Mawer/Patrick Gale [delete and/or substitute as appropriate].

    Now, Nick, please own up and come clean, here and now!!

  2. Jane and Lance: Damn, rumbled! Have you been hacking into all my secret diaries? I thought I'd covered my tracks so well and hidden all the tell-tale traces of my pampered background.

    It's quite fun being Madonna's manager, I have to confess. Even when she's scared witless before the latest facelift.

  3. Oh, bookselling is a nice occupation, I do it myself in a small way. I too slightly regret not being born in Australia as I went there at aged 3, and my sister was born there and has had an Ozzie passport as a consequence, so can settle there if she wants. (so far she has not done so).

  4. ohh this is interesting.

    I was told by my Grandmother. Never regret anything you've, it makes you who you are now.

    And it is never to late to travel. Every 5 years we travel extensively in an area we haven't been before for at least 3 months.

    You have to make a list and just start working your way through places you want to go.

    I have a few things I want to still do, I would like a year in Southern France and a year in The Netherlands and a year in an Eastern European capital city. Why? because we can. We don't need a reason

  5. Jenny: Your sister is lucky to have an Aussie passport. Do you think she'll ever move there?

    Sol: Visiting somewhere new every five years is a great idea. Jenny and I are going to Berlin in August. I've never been there so that's a new place for me to explore!

    I don't really regret anything that's happened to me. Things might have gone differently but so what? I've still had a great life.

  6. I've met very few people in real life who have lead very interesting lives.

  7. I've been told that I am self deprecating. I could probably come up with a longer list. I've been told that I am brief, so I won't. :-)

  8. Three cases in front of Lord Woolf and stuffed him!
    Blackballed ever after...but worth it.

  9. Bijoux: I think people's lives can seem very uninteresting from the outside, but the way they see things may be quite different.

    Susie: Ha ha! Many women are self-deprecating, don't you think? They're not supposed to look too clever or too capable.

  10. Helen: That sounds interesting. These bigwigs don't like it when they get trounced by someone they hoped would give them an easy ride.

  11. I vaguely remember having dashed hopes, but I can't remember them now --- I'm too busy playing with my toys. I don't have that much good time left, and I'm not about to waste it.

  12. Jean: Good for you. Carry on enjoying your toys!

  13. That all just sounds like normal life to me.

  14. Agent: Absolutely. In fact many people have had far worse disappointments than the rather humdrum ones I've listed.

  15. If it's brought you to where you are today, then bully for you is what I say. We need to be sad, frightened and lonely to really appreciate the other side.


  16. www: Very true. But also, disappointments make you more aware of your strengths and weaknesses and give you a more mature self-awareness, as opposed to all those mad youthful vanities!

  17. Nice to know that you are human Nick. I am honoured to know you.

  18. Ramana: Thank you, Ramana. I always hope I come across as a typically flawed and vulnerable human being and not some pampered, thick-skinned, arrogant Brit.

  19. I must be odd then as I regularly list my rejections and mistakes on my blog.

  20. You do indeed Liz, and that's one of the things I love about you. Mind you, I think people are generally much franker about their weaknesses in blogland than they are in everyday life.