Comment: All you need is life - and a decent diary

JUST BEEN out to buy my diary for 2000 - same sort of shape as last year's, with a plastic folder bit at the back where I can stick my address sheets. Saves me copying them out, worn and tatty though they have become, but haven't we all?

I have kept a diary since 1959. My wife mocks it; says it's not a diary, it's full of nothings, just a couple of words a day, such as Spurs 3 Man Utd 1 - that was a good day.

She keeps a proper diary, 500 words a day, but only every five years. And it's all on one topic: our children. She began it in 1973 so it covers almost all their little lives - ahh. She's not due to write another till 2003, but for 2000 she's going to keep a commonplace book, recording what she does, what she thinks, during the year. There must have been thousands of people who did that in 1900. I've looked all year, but failed to find one.

I started mine in order to do my expenses, filling in the names of people I'd interviewed. Forty years ago, let me see, I was using a Lewis's diary, so it says on the title page. I wonder if I bought it at John Lewis in Manchester, which is where I'd started the year on the Evening Chronicle, before coming to London on the Sunday Graphic. My phone number in Manchester was RUSholme 7570. Severely crossed out. My new number was GLAdstone 4788. Gosh, I was proud of having a London telephone number.

In this week in December 1959 I went to see Gregory Peck in On the Beach, interviewed Marty Wilde and the Vernon Girls, Alicia Markova, Lady Pakenham, David Nixon and Rinty Monaghan. Was he a boxer?

For 1960 I have a half-completed diary, the only time that's happened. I went to Stratford East to see a play, probably one of Joan Littlewood's, driving in my ancient Riley. It packed up and, in bending over the bonnet, I dropped my diary. I had to buy another one, half-way through the year.

Apart from that missing half-year, I therefore know exactly where I was and whom I met, every day for 40 years. Gold dust. Because memory does play little tricks. On the night of 14 June 1967, the Beatles performed "All You Need is Love" on the first satellite global TV thing. I was there with them in Abbey Road. It says so, in several Beatles reference books. Must be true. My diary for the day before records that I was with Mal and Nel, their two road managers. And the week later I had dinner at Paul's with Jane Asher. According to the diary. But the night of "All You Need is Love" is a blank, suggesting I was at home. I feel I was there. Yet I've got no proof.

I have had a few big fat desk diaries over the years, usually because some firm has given me a big fat one for free. For three years I had a BBC diary. Huge thing. What a mistake. Now, on the shelf where I keep my 40 years of life lined up, the BBC diaries stick out, ruining the symmetry.

Mostly they are small and thin, to fit easily into a pocket, which means the paper is small and thin, not to say cheap and nasty. Every year on 2 January, I vow to go upmarket when I see that my scribble for 1 Jan has come through the page. Very symbolic. For does not the imprint of one day dictate the next?

But far more annoying is Saturday and Sunday. For 40 years I have failed to find a diary that truly fits my life. Have a look at your own. Diary, I mean. I bet Saturday and Sunday are shorter than the rest, crammed into one space. So irritating for the millions of us who work at home and therefore treat every day the same, or give it the length we choose to give it, not what we are given. Also annoying for the public now that the nation's Sundays are action-packed.

Yesterday, I've had to write in the Spurs-Newcastle score in very, very small handwriting. I know I'll never be able to read it in the years to come. Perhaps that's just as well.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Led Zeppelin

music
Arts and Entertainment
Radio presenter Scott Mills will be hitting the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce performs in front of a Feminist sign at the MTV VMAs 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has taken home the prize for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Paige and Scott Lowell in Queer as Folk (Season 5)
tvA batch of shows that 'wouldn't get past a US network' could give tofu sales an unexpected lift
Arts and Entertainment
books... but seller will be hoping for more
Arts and Entertainment
John Kearns winner of the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award with last years winners: Bridget Christie and Frank Skinner
comedyJohn Kearns becomes the first Free Fringe act to win the top prize
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Sue Vice
booksAcademic says we should not disregard books because they unexpectedly change genre
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Muscato performs as Michael Crawford in Stars in Their Eyes

TV
Arts and Entertainment
‘Game of Thrones’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus brought her Bangerz tour to London's O2 Arena last night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
film
Arts and Entertainment
Novelist Martin Amis at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

books
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'

After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violence

film
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams' life story will be told in a biography written by a New York Times reporter

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
    Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

    From strung out to playing strings

    Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
    The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

    A big fat surprise about nutrition?

    The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
    Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

    Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

    The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
    On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

    On the road to nowhere

    A Routemaster trip to remember
    Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

    Hotel India

    Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
    10 best pencil cases

    Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

    Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
    Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

    Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

    Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
    Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

    Pete Jenson: A Different League

    Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
    This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

    The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

    Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
    Britain’s superstar ballerina

    Britain’s superstar ballerina

    Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
    Berlin's Furrie invasion

    Berlin's Furrie invasion

    2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
    ‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

    ‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

    Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis