Bowling will make brutes of us all.

Last weekend, I wrote a novel in three days. Well, a novella, really. I had wanted to write this one particular novel since 2003, and so it has had seven years to complicate itself into unimaginable subtlety in my head. And the characters were so ‘precious’ to me. Which is, of course, a massive weight to be carrying around. And not very tough. And now that it’s written, I think that I have written the echo of the novel I would have written seven years ago. Which is good. It is purgative to be a bit ruthless with things you have been coddling. I killed off Hampus, the sweet old man, unrepentantly, for example.

I start my journalism course in Brighton next Monday, and we have so much to do. I am ill with some sinus thing, and M is getting his job finished, and somehow we need to move house and say goodbye to Cambridge. I’m not looking forward to being away from M.

And then, to make matters worse, during the first week of the course, there’s going to be bowling. It’s very nice that someone thought to book in an icebreaking activity. As a teacher, I know it can really help group cohesion. But why is it always bowling?

I hate bowling. I hate how it requires you to interrupt perfectly good conversations in order to throw a ball at some skittles. I hate the witless, mechanical “banter”, and the ugly atmosphere of bowling alleys: the cheap vinyl seats and neon, the grey hamburgers, the warm milkshakes. And they’re always located on industrial estates.

Oh. I will try. And in the car on the way home I will listen to The Smiths, who will understand.