Thursday, August 28, 2008


What is "it"?

Finn's nursery was closed for a few hours the other day so I had to look after him in the shop for a while. As soon as he'd finished dusting we sat down and read some books.

One of the books he chose was called Lost and Found by a bloke called Oliver Jeffers. The story involved a boy finding a Penguin on his doorstep. He assumes the Penguin is lost and sets out to row him back to the South Pole. They make it but it turns out the Penguin wasn't lost after all - he was lonely. There is a happy ending. I thought it might be a bit long for him at first but he sat there quietly enough. We went on to read a couple of other books and I thought nothing more of it.

The next morning I could hear Finn singing in his cot. I went into his room and he was singing row row row your boat and clutching the cuddly Penguin he got from London Zoo. Blimey.

I bought the book next day and now it's a firm favourite.

This Oliver Jeffers bloke must have something special I thought. I looked into the matter and discovered he's the chap behind The Incredible Book Eating Boy and How To Catch A Star. He's won many prizes. Then I dimly remembered a rep talking about The Incredible Book Eating Boy with great enthusiasm. Maybe I should have listened...But then publishers are always banging on about how great books are, books that soon show their true colours by not selling anywhere near as strongly as expected.

My point? Oliver Jeffers has "it".

But what is "it"? That's just one of those questions really. What makes one thing art and another dross? What is the thing that makes you love that person? Why FFC?

I suppose that's the human condition. We all want "it" without having the slightest idea what "it" is. And then advanced capitalism lets rip with the whole creation of desire/commodity ting and makes money out of our desperate need for "it" by pretending to have discovered what "it" is and selling it to us...

Patent Leather Moleskine anyone?

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