Charles Nevin: Who can ever replace his boyish charisma?

Share

So, that is that. The end of the charismatic, boyish figure, always full of tricks, after 10 years of unparalleled success and unstinting admiration, with only a few tiny quibbles about the failure to tackle a more challenging agenda and an over-reliance on tried and tested formulas. Yes, he might be having a film premiere tomorrow, but later this month the last Harry Potter is published.

Who on earth, or anywhere else, is going to replace him? I see that his publishers, Bloomsbury, are a bubbling cauldron of confidence about overcoming the loss, and I suggest we should also look at this as a market rather than a mourning opportunity.

All we have to do is come up with a wizard character with the same appeal. You might argue that neither I nor you have quite as much imagination as JK Rowling, but I don't see that necessarily as a problem. Life is full of larger than life characters and plots, as David Cameron, for one, could tell you.

We just need to look around, and select a likely candidate for the new zeitgeist. I was, for example, immediately taken by the analysis showing that honey continues to push ahead of marmalade in the tussle for spreading supremacy across the nation's bread and toast.

While most commentators have argued that this dash for sweetness is either in compensation for, or reinforcing, the current mood, I could see considerable book potential here, until better-read colleagues pointed out that both preserves had already been nabbed as props by loveable bears.

Still, this did alert me to the current paucity of any really good anthropomorphic stuff. Old hat, you say? It's all cyclical, you know. And then I read the report about the Western Isles police sniffer dogs with a problem. Go on, ask me how they smell. Terribly. The police are on to their third since May. Perfect. Relevant, drugs, illegal immigrants, etc. Teamed with a boy detective - always popular - the Sniffer Dog Who Couldn't Smell could be the perfect metaphor for not judging by appearances.

But the piece of news that excited me the most was the report that President Ahmadinejad keeps in touch with economic matters in Iran by consulting his local butcher. This presumably was the inspiration for this new Business Leaders' Council, featuring Sir Terry Leahy of Tesco and Stuart Rose of M&S, which is going to advise Mr Brown over here.

Truly, a Government of all the Talents. But with one glaring omission. So, I thought, how about a book with a hero who is a youngster so unusual and so gifted that he ends up running things far better than the fuddy-duddy old people? And then my better-informed colleagues pointed me in the direction of the Foreign Office.

Further consultation revealed that the new Government also numbers a moody Scot who has had to fight for his birthright (Kidnapped), an eerily competent woman who seems to have come from nowhere (Mary Poppins), a sparky young couple (101 Dalmatians), a hero with a butler (Artemis Fowl), a jolly policeman (Noddy), and a wooden puppet at the Treasury.

I then wondered about a white-haired old seer, but was told that the Environment Secretary could probably ask his father.

Hmm. In my defence, I note that when she was in that famous coffee shop, making it up, JK Rowling was allowed to smoke.

Nice weather for ducks

I'm not surprised that the 29,000 toy ducks that have been floating round the world since they were washed overboard in the Pacific in 1992 are heading this way; it's their kind of weather. The ducks have provided much seized-upon symbolism as they keep bob, bob, bobbing along, defiantly ridiculous, while serious tides in the affairs of men come and go. Interesting for any observing aliens, too. I didn't know that most ducks don't quack: it's only female mallards and the domestic ones, apparently. Given current conditions, you might consider getting some: they rival hens at laying; a duckling will set you back £4; you can buy a duck house for £185. But it can be too wet for ducks: duck races at York, Droitwich and Burton Latimer were all postponed this weekend. St Swithin's Day is a week on Sunday.

* Consolation, as we know, is an elusive helpmate, particularly when all is cloudy, queuing, alerts and stress. I find, though, and not always for the best of reasons, that considering the plight of those less well off can help. Did you notice, for example, the warder in Brixton Prison who managed to lock himself in the exercise yard? Or the chap, thankfully now all right, who slipped on a carp left on a bank of the River Medway and fell in? Are you taking part in the Henley Regatta? I trust not, as the Thames is running so fast that a couple of strokes will see you off Canvey Island.

You might be a magician, and thus well aware that all the tricks in your act involving a cigarette - including the Self Smoking Cigarette and the Disappearing Cigarette - are now illegal. And you're certainly not James Richards, a New York vet specialising in treating cats who has died after swerving to avoid a cat. Better?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

Recruitment Genius: Developer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Account Manager - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing, ambitious, en...

Day In a Page

Read Next
An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai  

China has exposed the fatal flaws in our liberal economic order

Ann Pettifor
Jeremy Corbyn addresses over a thousand supporters at Middlesbrough Town Hall on August 18, 2015  

Thank God we have the right-wing press to tell us what a disaster Jeremy Corbyn as PM would be

Mark Steel
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future
Berlusconi's world of sleaze: The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM

Berlusconi's world of sleaze

The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM
Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Films and theme parks are just the beginning. Disney believes its control of the now decades-old franchise can bring in merchandise and marketing millions for years to come
Could the golden age of the gaming arcade ever be revived in the era of the Xbox?

Could gaming arcades be revived?

The days when coin-ops were the only way to play the latest video games are gone. But a small band of enthusiasts are keeping the button-pushing dream alive
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: The 'tampon tax' has inspired a new wave of female comedians to reclaim period jokes

Heard the one about menstruation?

Yes, if you have been at the Fringe, where period pieces are taking centre stage