I just filled in a questionnaire to take part in a focus group about feminism. This is my idea of a good time: what’s not to like about focus groups? You sit in a room with a bunch of fairly like-minded people, eating sarnies, drinking wine, and chatting. Then, after two hours, you leave, collecting an envelope filled with money on your way out. My sister hooked me up with focus groups about five years ago, when we were both students and sharing a flat in Whitechapel. As participants in a focus group aren’t supposed to know each other, we’d show up five minutes apart and try not to crack each other up during proceedings. However, I blew things for both of us. The jig was up when, signing for my envelope of cash (my mind was probably elsewhere, dizzy with the thought of all the frivolities I would spend my easy money on – groceries, gas bill, travelcard), I put down my real name instead of the agreed pseudonym of I. Malkmus (shut up). We were both given as good a telling-off as two grown women can be given, and after that there were no more focus groups for either of us. We had been struck off the focus group register. UNTIL NOW!
An American publisher sent me a few books last Monday. I’d assume these would reach me via the usual channels, but now I am beginning to think they strapped them to a donkey, turned it towards California and gave it a slap on the ass. No books yet, and I want something to read!