Notes to Self – How to Become More Interesting

Eddie the Eagle

I have been trying to decide how I can make myself more interesting: how I might gather myself in some kind of coat of intrigue that helps to imprint me upon the memory as someone I would like to know more about. It is not an easy task. Such élan as I once had has dropped down to my ankles. I am the same as everybody else: I think that I am likeable, and that’s ok, except I am the same as everybody else! People don’t shrink back in the shadows and scuttle away when they see me coming (although, to be fair, I wouldn’t know about it if they did, would I?) but nor do they settle at my feet to be beguiled by my tales of derring-do. I am much more derring-didn’t-quite. I have never quite managed to be the centre of attention whilst conscious. I have a body full of scars, but none of them particularly notable. They all stem from accident or operation. They are all, like the body they adorn, mundane: the result of a surgeon’s knife, an inopportune moment of clumsiness or an accidental trip. None of them involve duelling with swords or wrestling with an escaped circus lion. Attached to each is a story, but none of them (even with a generous dollop of embellishment) would make me any more interesting – except, perhaps, to a forensic pathologist. As an aide-de-memoire they are invaluable, as a measure of intrigue, they remain firmly anchored at zero.

I have never been a spy/saved a life/eloped under threat of shotgun. I have descended so far into the ordinary that I would need a street map to get out of it. It would take a sackful of carefully hoarded airmiles for me to reach engrossing. There are times when I can actually sense myself blending in with the wallpaper. Times when I feel the words Eau-de-Nil being embossed on my forehead.

So, who can I turn to for inspiration? How do I become more interesting? The great snooker player, Steve Davis, was so predictably good and so un-used to error or eccentricity; so incredibly even-tempered, that he became known, ironically, as Steve Interesting Davis on the professional circuit. When he retired he searched for something else with which to occupy his mind and, in a bid to become in reality interesting, he became a DJ (known as – you’ve guessed it – Steve Interesting Davis). I believe he was very good, but interesting? Sadly, no. It would appear that, even for wealthy (presumably) ex-sport stars, indulging in hobby and epithet does not guarantee fascination. Who’d have guessed? Completely scuppered my plans to tour the UK as Colin Captivating McQueen, bingeing on red wine and chocolate. I need an alternative strategy.

Perhaps I could audition for Love Island. They must have a vacancy for a short, fat, elderly geek. What about X-Factor? I have all the requisite attributes for that: I have no personality and I cannot sing. Perhaps I am approaching this from the wrong direction; maybe I should start by looking at all the things that I am good at… Well, that didn’t work, did it? I could follow the Eddie the Eagle route and be heroically bad, but stoically determined. All well and good, but at what? I come from a nation of gallant losers. All manner of sportsmen, athletes, explorers have been there before me. Whatever I might choose, you can pretty much guarantee that some other Brit will have gloriously failed ahead of me.

I am certain that even the most magnetic of people would like to be more interesting than they are. I am sure that Neil Armstrong may well have had times when he wished that he had something more exciting to talk about; that Edmund Hillary was always looking for some enticing anecdote with which to make his own story more diverting; that Piers Morgan… oh bugger, I’ve lost my drift now.

The point is, if I was more interesting, then more people would read my blog, even if it, itself, was not interesting. If, from time to time, I did not publish at all, they would think that I was off somewhere interesting, doing interesting things, with interesting people, whereas, what they actually think now is, ‘Stupid old duffer has forgotten again.’ In mind of The Trade’s Description Act I did think of changing my username to Colin Not-Very-Exciting McQueen, in the hope that new readers might, mistakenly, think that I was being ironic, but I fear that I would be all too quickly found out and, possibly, ejected from the platform.

Still, that would be interesting, wouldn’t it?

Well, you know, it’s interesting being 50… You start to reflect on your life. And you look back over the years at everything you’ve ever done. And, with age, middle age, comes wisdom. But I have to say that I’m not sure that 50 for me is the same as 50 in people years – Kermit the Frog