Phil: This week’s blog post was set to be something whimsical and lightweight. Then I sat in my hotel room on Saturday night after a couple of bottles of pomegranate and strawberry cider washing down a rather nice curry, and flipped on the telly.
Terry Pratchett – Back in Black tells the author’s life story. Paul Kaye plays pTerry (as his fans call him) and along the way we meet both famous and non-famous readers. We see how the literary establishment hated his books complete with a cringeworthy clip from a review show that those taking part will probably wish to forget, and later decided he was A. Good. Thing. Along with another clip of more literary people saying this.
I’ve tried but failed to read Pratchett. I ought to love it but I can’t find a way in. It doesn’t matter, the documentary is brilliant, affecting and a superb celebration of the man.
What struck me was that before he wrote, he read. Everything. Well, everything in his local library starting with fantasy and then history, “Blokes in helmets bashing each other” as he described it. Reading planted all the seeds for the character in his stories.
This week, I read in my local paper that our council is making more cuts. Headlines are those for old people or children but tucked away are libraries – again.
I’ve said before how my local library was essential for my development. I’m not going to compare myself with Pratchett but to lift a line from the documentary, I’m a human. He is a human. My poo stinks. His poo stinks. I loved my library. He loved his library. He is a writer. I want to be a writer.
Does it matter if we deny kids the chance to wallow in reading? Probably not. After all, do we need people with imagination?
Sorry, I’m ranting. Go and watch the programme on iPlayer while you have a the chance. Just keep some tissues handy…