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30 December 2006
Fortnum and Mason's window.
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30 December 2006
Not sure how a Lewis Carroll related blog will work, but here goes. We just did a Radio 4 programme about him, which went out and seems to have been well received - it got onto Pick of the Week and the BBC website wanted an article too. I'm pleased because it's obviously offered an antidote to the creepy image that Carroll is so often saddled with.

Actually it's interesting how so many creative people project their own obsessions onto Carroll. Some of the results are great - I love Polixeni Papapetrou's photos (www.polixenipapapetrou.net). Others, though - hm. You sort of feel that just because he's famous, they're clinging on catching whatever fame is to be had ..the names Katie Roiphe and Frank Beddor spring to mind.

There again, being dead I suppose Carroll has to be fair game. Anyway there's a streak of strangeness and mystery running through him which makes him constantly interesting

I was passing Fortnum and Masons when I spotted their wonderful Christmas windows which are themed on Alice in Wonderland. I wondered who did them, but couldn't see a signature.
15 December 2006
My mother said yesterday that she reckons Lewis Carroll will soon rise from his tomb, tap me on the shoulder and say thanks for the radio programme I've just done about him. It was about time someone took a look at him which took into account the fact that he was a real person; got up, went to the toilet, got dressed, had breakfast, etc. and had a whole life when he was NOT walking around thinking "I am the author of Alice in WonderlanD" but was perhaps instead worrying about his overdraft or feeling annoyed about someone who had been rude to him ten minutes ago.

In fact, he was in every way as real as I am - and he lived in places I have visited often. But he, and everyone he knew, have disappeared.

I often think it's strange that there have been so many people living in my part of the world, (some of them even living in my Victorian house) and yet I don't know a thing about them. They stood beneath the same sky, walked up and down the same hills: some of them heard the same click as our front door closes. Yet, because they're in a different dimension of Time, they and everyone they know are unfamiliar to me.

I've starting writing a bit of fiction with this in mind. It's about a man who gets an obsession he hates. At present, I'm working towards the idea that Time will put a new perspective on his problem.

To return to Carroll: now I've finished the programme, I'll start the biography. In fact I'm calling it an Anti-Biography because that is what it will be. With Carroll, in particular, it's worth looking at the spaces between - the mysterious gaps in his life, instead of only the censored facts themselves. Then you learn all kinds of unexpected things - an idea which would have probably have pleased Carroll, who specially liked doing things upside down and back to front. Karoline did this in her book but mine will not draw any conclusions - I'll try letting its readers draw them. My agent, Andrew Lownie is keen to start selling it. First I have to write a sample chapter. That will be my task for the Christmas holidays.

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