One of the best books I never wrote was one to cash in on the millennium. I did get as far as the title: The Two Meets the Three Zeros (Uptown).

So delighted with that, I took a year off before purchasing and designating an exercise book to imprison my thoughts on the subject. Ten years on, I flicked through to light upon three terse entries, a squashed ant and an address I had wanted so badly at one point I had completely emptied my study in a frenzy to locate it. Two of the entries were illegible and the third was an attempt at a biography to go on a dust jacket of another book I didn’t write.

I am working on the assumption that my lifelong sloth hasn’t been that, but a well-disguised storage of creative vim for the killer opus to leave known civilization gasping. One book and out. I’m taking it all down. The trivialities. The ramblings. The drearies. The trites. I’m taking no chances.

Rounding up all the usual suspects, and all the unusual ones, picking them off as they emerge on…