One of the nicest objects in the world is a brand new notebook. Through it’s soft, tactile leather cover and pristine virgin pages it conveys one thing alone: possibility. This one empty notepad, with the addition of a pen, is all the equipment needed to write the classic novel or epic poem or rousing speech that will cement your place in history forever. If you use it to its full potential, and god knows you won’t, you could change the world.
The first page is the most valuable, the most loaded with possibility, the most likely to be read by a nosy houseguest. It is such a sacred page that you will leave it untouched for several months. During that time the task in hand, changing the world, will morph from the straightforward, enjoyable diversion it appeared in the notepad shop, to an undertaking of monumental proportions. Eventually this page will be sacrificed to the gods of big box retail when no scrap paper can be found, and a classic shopping list to cement your place in grocery shopping history will be created. And then finally the dream is dead.
It’s similar when you buy a car. It is all clean and tidy inside and the previous owner has kindly furnished it with a valid 12 month MOT certificate and it runs a hell of a lot better than your previous car which you have driven into a tree. The possibilities of the car fill you with an almost intimidating sense of awe – awe at the road trips you could take together, the spur of the moment continental driving holidays, the visiting of friends in far flung places. Leeds, Birmingham, Andorra. Suddenly the world is at your fingertips.
Of course, you will never drive it to Andorra because it’s actually quite far, and instead fill it up with empty Burger King packets and CD cases with the wrong CDs in. Eventually your friends will start calling it Brabanta and saying things like “no, it’s fine, we can take mine” and soon enough you will drive it into a tree.
Another of the nicest objects in the world is the Charles Lamb in Islington. It shares that sense of possibility that you get from a fresh notepad or a new car. Perhaps it’s the often bohemian, wine draining crowd, the intriguing French bar snacks or the quintessentially Islington gas-lamp pretty Georgian townhouses that surround it. Perhaps it’s all these things that give the Charles Lamb it’s feeling of opportunity, but either way you will waste it, and just get drunk instead.