Come and meet Tish,
my funny, life- and love-affirming firebrand, and hug my large cast of comic characters. All for free.
There’s no social distancing here.
Most of the wonderful attempts to cheer us up online are pictorial. But words remain powerful.
British history has just been re-directed by only six of them: “take”, “back”, “control”, “get”, “Brexit” and “done.” And the words of “Merrily, Merrily” have many tasks and targets.
One was to make readers laugh. A lot. Another was to render as full a picture as possible of a remarkable
woman who stayed positive and loving despite being torpedoed
by tragedies. A third was to celebrate eccentricity.
All three of those feel like good reasons to let people help themselves to the first draft of my book just now. Over a thousand jokes may work as light entertainment and a distraction for some. I would hope that Tish’s history will inspire others to triumph over troubles and make friends.
And as we all fight off a pandemic, the wonderful variety of our species and its gloriously quirky behaviour should be high-fived or given three cheers.
There are guest appearances by Richard Burton, Raymond Blanc, Matthew Pinsent, Gilbert & George, the Duke of Marlborough and many, many others including the Queen - and Jerry Hall as you have never seen her before.
Here you will find Italians, Swedes, Nigerians, Koreans, Japanese, French, Jamaicans, Americans, Welsh, Australians, Scots and Irish, Travellers and one of the 32 sons of a family close to the late Sultan of Oman.
Never been to UK? Here is an introduction to life in the two super cities of Brighton and Oxford. Spot the daft Royal Pavilion plus the Wren architecture in our pics.
There are sharper bits on gambling, grief, AIDS, education, religion and social injustice too.
There are animal stories. There is a little dabbling in the supernatural.
I have shown “Merrily, Merrily” to two new friends who did not know my wife Tish (she died in 2012.) One read it in a day: “I could not put it down. I took it to bed after consuming acres before retiring and it has graced my breakfast. I was glad my student was away as I hystericked like a loon at so many purple passages.
The other took two days: “Congratulations on a powerful and moving piece of writing - what a life you led with the extraordinary Tish! I’m so sorry I never met her. It is humbling to read about a life led so selflessly and yet with such evident energy and enjoyment. The anecdotes you tell strike me as being sometimes funny, sometimes even shocking,
but always absolutely fascinating to read: the finished product is going to be a difficult book to put down!
You serve up a very generous and unusual slice of Oxford life, with an amazing cast of characters (quite apart from Tish) drawn from so many interesting and contrasting walks of life. “
More from this pair heads up our review section. Do join them there. There will be more from me in the Blog. And if you enjoy “Merrily” do share with everyone.
Like Tish did.
© 2020 Merrily Merrily