Edited by Will Hobson and Julian Rothenstein
Redstone Press, 2012
Redstone Press create, year after year, the best diary in the world bar none.
They get the basics right, that’s the first thing to say. Spiral-bound and of a generous size and dimension (over 150 pages, approximately 17cm x 24.5 cm), it has a month-by-month planner and a year-planner along with entries for each day of the year. An A-Z notes section nestles at the end. Some space also for making other notes at front and back. It functions as a diary then, and a salubrious one at that, no worries there.
What Redstone Press have always done is give their diaries a theme and a plethora of fascinating images and texts to illustrate it. Other publishers have imitated this format, and even made a decent stab at it, but never with quite the same panache. Happily, the theme of this, their twenty-fifth diary, is language; and as before there are many things within it to provoke thought, delight and amuse. Inside you’ll find some examples of doctors’ slang – including PFO (Pissed, Fell Over), a common malady among A & E patients in modern Britain, and C/C or Cancel Christmas (in other words, the patient is dead) – and the slang invented by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder for Howard Hawks’ wonderful film Ball of Fire (anyone suffering from squirrel fever?). While in amongst the images you’ll see an Egyptian hieroglyph, a photo of a row of black workers during the civil rights struggle in the ‘60s, all stood in a picket line and each holding up a placard reading I AM A MAN, and an Inuit word search puzzle.
It was Wittgenstein, the mystical architect of the linguistic turn, who wrote that ‘eternal life belongs to those who live in the present’. As with its previous brethren, I’m certain that this diary will prove to be an infinitely interesting companion throughout the days that lie unopened, like enticing presents, in the year ahead.
The publisher’s description of the diary can be read here.