If you did in fact read all the below and the comments and were really paying attention (what's wrong with you!) then you might remember my dilemma over what to read next - Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o or Charles Bock's Beutiful Children.
I went for Bock.
All of you, yes, even you, will be reading this book when it comes out in Feb next year. With luck they will be signed copies that you bought at C & P after I persuaded Mr Bock to come down to Lambeth and sign a few. Suffice to say I have a feeling about this one. Half way through and it has all the marks of a Great American Novel - will let you if I still think that at the end...
There are a large number of angry teens in it and they do a good bit of parent-bashing too. But if I could I'd tell them - wait until you have kids. Then you'll feel bad. Very bad. And spoilt. And very full of regret - 'cos I'm sure they weren't that bad. In fact, they loved you and now you've grown up a bit and realise that isn't the case for the majority of people in the world, that's worth hanging on to.
But dads are never cool are they? No. Boney M, you were wrong. On Hols in France my dad told us tales of his youth, how he used to go on United Nations work camps to "build a spirit of international relations and solidarity". Hmmm. Dad, all that hard work was thrown away when you tried to demonstrate "the Penguin" (a "disco" dance he invented) to those French girls at that 50th birthday party. The French will hate us a while longer methinks.
Then they go and surprise you. His mobile phone is ancient. He lent it to my brother who dropped it (probably on purpose) and the aerial broke off. Most paid up members of our glorious consumer society would have hurled it in the nearest bin and bought another - with a camera and internet access and TV and a kitchen sink - but not my dad, no. He found a rusty screw, screwed it into the phone at the rough place the aerial used to protrude - and it worked. The rusty screw was rusty so he replaced it with a shiny black screw and now it's just perfect.
Dads, hmmm, maybe cool after all?