I know I keep promising to post up the first pages of J’suis pas plus con, or rather, I promised once and I always keep my promises.
I have, however, been distracted by two issues. Computer malfunctions, which are boring. And stash.
As an ambitious rugby player, I used to have the same hunger for stash as everyone else. ‘Stash’ was the stuff that came with selection to a team. Stash is the extras, the perks, the over-and-aboves, and in those days, before the ease of printing onto synthetic materials, stash was expensive and therefore reserved most often for representative teams. It was worth having.
Typical items would be tracksuits, training tops, match shorts, maybe even a team-branded bag. It was the players’ version of been there, done that. Or if you were picked on the bench, been there, haven’t done that, but got some stash so my time wasn’t completely wasted.
Stash in sport is now out of control. There is even a company called Stash, who provide exactly the kind of accessory gear I’m talking about it (as well as this magnificent design for a rugby shirt, as enabled by modern print technology) . Every team in the land, turning their backs on natural fibres, gets personalised stuff because … well, because they can.
What happens to all this gear? It gets used for its original purpose, just out of the packet for the important match. Then it doesn’t get used because you’re dropped from the team, or move regions and don’t want to make enemies. Then it’s worn once more for validation when you’re training juniors, as a reminder of who you once were (both to them and to yourself.)
After that the stash stays in the attic for sentimental reasons until time drains it of meaning. I have a collection of fading sportswear emblazoned with the names of forgotten sponsors, usually local accountants or providers of ‘building services’.
Well this week I was reminded that stash also exists for writers. I’m immensely pleased with the bookmarks and the posters made for the French edition of Dry Bones by In Octavo. Stash for the writer, like stash for the rugby player, is confirmation that the core activity (the writing/playing) doesn’t come anywhere near reflecting the amount of work that goes into even the smallest triumph. Stash is tangible evidence that the effort was intended to create a world that can grow, that is growing, that can generate clothing and stationery and (why not?) cigarette lighters.
My X 20 Zippo cigarette lighter, the brainchild of Harper Collins, remains the best bit of writer’s stash I’ve ever had.