Sunday, March 13, 2011

Out of the closet

As I write this, the boyfriend is eating cornflakes at the exact time the cat is using her litter tray. It's a singularly awful collision of sound.

Anyway, the point is, many years ago, when I first moved to London, I had all my Doctor Who books on a shelf in my bedroom. I say all, I mean about 20. Which is probably more than enough for some people. I was, at the time, trying desperately hard to date a man called Christian Fletcher (you would, just for the name, wouldn't you?). He was over one time when he spotted the books, lurking at the bottom of the shelf. "Oh," he said. "Are those DVDs? My flat mate loves Doctor Who DVDs." He then realised they were books and his startlingly pretty face fell.

Things cooled shortly afterwards. Mind you, it may also have been me not realising that mobile phones record each missed call and me trying to get hold of him six times in one evening when I was at a play round the corner from him... "Did you call?" he texted. "Many many times?"

In a bid to seem more sane, I took to calling boys less and also decided to hide Doctor Who from my life. After all, this was the Space Year 2001 when Doctor Who was not cool and if I wanted to impress people to get laid I'd tell people I worked on the Fame Academy website. What a difference a decade makes.

When I moved into my own flat, my room had two wardrobes. As most of my clothes were novelty t-shirts with kittens on, I didn't need to hang much up, so I turned one wardrobe into the Cupboard Of Sad. This was because a week after I moved in, my parents sent a van along with ALL of my stuff. Crates and Crates of books. Including... hmmmm.... treasured relics of my fishbowl-lensed-mouth-breathing childhood.

So, into the Cupboard of Sad went hundreds of Doctor Who books. Novelisations, Novels, The Doctor Who Knitting Book, Junior Doctor Who And The Brain Of Morbius (being a bowlderised version of a particularly gruesome adventure. In hindsight, as wise a move as Junior Hannibal Lecter And The Silence Of The Lambs. Junior Doctor Who also tackled And The Giant Robot and then fell silent). The Doctor Who Cookery Book, the first volume of an illustrated encyclopedia (notable for pastel drawings of monsters and for missing out the letter 'K'), a book in which two baffled American lesbians toured the space quarries of England, and even a hardback alarmingly called "25 Glorious Years". Basically, all of my parents' wearisome love and pocket money slapped into a cupboard. Along with books that were still coming out. That were all read, adored, and then quickly hidden away.

Oh, that glorious decade of luring people back without them even realising that a few yards away lurked my shameucopia, hidden behind two MDF doors. It looked like an ordinary cupboard, but it was much sadder on the inside.

Things have changed. Maybe it's growing up. Or getting a boyfriend who doesn't care about my obsessions so long as they don't get in the way of following the Swedish heats of the Eurovision Song Contest. Perhaps it's that Doctor Who is very cool now. Or just that I need somewhere to hang my shirts (I still have one t-shirt with a kitten on. I wear it down the gym and you can fuck off if you think you're taking it away).

But I've now stuck all my Doctor Who books on shelves. Well, nearly all of them. There's still a couple of hundred to find space for somewhere. The urge to re-read them all is almost overwhelming. The cat likes them too. She's eaten quite a bit of The William Hartnell Handbook. I think he'd approve.

12 comments:

AndyH said...

No, no, no, James - the New Adventures go before the Missing Adventures! And they should be in published order not chronological. Or, if you're me and don't even have enough shelves for those books, in a very weird double stacked and crammed in sideways order that only makes sense to me. Congrats on the DW novel, by the by.

Skip said...

Should have deliberatey misordered them before uploading the photo. More.

Hugh said...

i see you're a melodifestivalen widow then - what is it with gays and Swedish Eurovision Song heats!

is that a round the horne reference i spot there :)

Skip said...

Whenever I complain he sends me more pictures of Eric Saade

Hugh said...

I'd be complaining a lot :)

richardwatts said...

What a glorious collection. I'm a tad jealous. Time to hit up the Who One website and put another dint in my credit card, I suspect...

Unemployed Soap Viewer said...

You were using a cellphone and texting in 2001?

Skip said...

Good point. I think my brilliant flatmates gave me a mobile back in Space 1999. I remember being baffled that it would occasionally bleep at me and the screen would show words - often to say "You're late". I'm fairly sure that we were all texting by about 2001. Although, reading a story in this months Vanity Fair suggests that the US only began texting about 2006. Which is surely madness. I mean, really, is texting only ten years old? Really?

Caliope said...

Texting only really took off from about 2007 but it was available from the early 90s.

I was trolling round the local charity shops recently and came across a huge basket full of Dr Who novels. There were so many it was difficult to believe that it wasn't a complete collection. What dreadful circumstances, I wondered, would compel such a dedicated Whoite (Whoist ? Whoer...perhaps not that one) to ditch such a lovingly assembled collection ? Back in the same shop a few days later and the Who-lit has all gone; chatting to the manager I discovered that the man who had donated them had bought them all back.

Skip said...

There's a story behind that. There's a story behind that.

In a happy world, I'm imagining a girl friend saying "It's either Doctor Who or me." Cue sobbing trip to charity shop, days of misery, followed by her relenting and them going on an exciting romantic holiday.

In a sad world, I am imagining he read a made-up spoiler about the new series on the Internet, posted to a forum "Doctor Who died for me today!!!11!", carted all his books to the charity shop, posted many photos to same forum, and then, when the red mist cleared a few days later, gasped "What have I done?"

llq said...

Ya he visto algunos hay wedding gowns with sleeves

Skip said...

Yeah, it's spam, but I had to let it through.