By: Marina Ford

Friday, 23 January

The cat funeral.

Yeah, that happened today. I went and participated in—aided and abetted?—a cat funeral.

London life is tough on idealists. In an ideal world, after years of flirtation, Leo would be cosily settled down with Jack, his long-time crush. In an ideal world, Jack wouldn’t now be engaged to a woman. And in an ideal world, Leo would move on.

When handsome new neighbour Alex moves in opposite Leo, an opportunity to do so presents itself. But Alex is probably straight, working class, and poorer than Leo. While Jack’s engagement unravels, and Leo’s friendship with Alex deepens, will Leo manage to find happiness with the right man? Or will he succumb to his enemies: self-doubt, family expectations, and pride?

Told in diary form, this is both the story of a love triangle in London and the chronicle of a man’s struggles to confront his self-image and overcome his insecurity.

To Will.

Sunday, 10 January

I’M STARTING a diary.

It’s not pathetic. Lots of famous people kept diaries. Lewis Carroll, Dostoyevsky, Samuel Pepys… and diaries are important. As a historian, I should know. I mean, without Pepys, where would we, historians, be? Or without Anne Frank? That being said, I doubt this is going to be that kind of diary. In fact, I doubt it will go past the first entry.

It’s pissing it down today. I’ve watched enough Battlestar Galactica to want to die, and I’ve read every trashy sci-fi novel I have in the house. Well, except for the pile of as-yet-unpacked books on the table by the door. But new novels require a sense of excitement that I can’t quite summon at the present. It shows how optimistic I was about today when I spent most of yesterday evening brooding in Waterstones.

I’m bored, and I need something to keep me away from the Internet. Therefore, diary.

I wish I had a better, more exciting job, so I could write about that. Lecturing post-war history at a university does not make a future Ian Fleming, though.

Here’s something that happened recently. Two weeks ago the head of my department told me she was going to get her niece to do some web design for our school’s website. We’re a university. We’re literally the place specialists in all manner of knowledge gather in one place to be all experty and specialisty about different subjects. Consequently, we’ve not just an actual IT department with all level of professionals in web design, but we’ve got a special IT team to deal with our website. However, she is the head of our department, so I approached this diplomatically by asking her, “Is this the niece who decided to forgo her A levels in favour of following Radiohead on tour?”

She said yes but did not think this was related to any argument against her decision. So yesterday (Saturday), she called me up about something and then, circuitously, she asked me about my friend from the IT department. Had he, by any chance, the time to do a discreet spot of work on the School of History website?

“You let your niece have a go at it, didn’t you,” I said.

“What tipped you off?”

“Well, for starters the website’s now called School of Patriarchy. And it plays ‘Tears for Animals’ in the background. I approve the message, on the whole, but it isn’t very inviting, you know.”

“She’s very passionate.”

“Yes, that she is.”

Anyway, the school website is now back to its former shape.

This reminds me of the time Jack and I spent a whole evening after a conference in Bristol discussing feminism over whisky—he was trying to provoke me, and I knew it, but I let him because he is Jack, and he seemed to like it when I ranted about basically anything, and seemed amused when I started quoting Wollstonecraft at him and his male privilege.

Jack. Oh well, I suppose it’s no use avoiding the subject of Jack. It is what I’m thinking about, after all, so I might as well write about it. He’s the reason I’m avoiding the Internet. And the reason I refused all invitations to go out today. Not that anybody would want to be out in this kind of weather.

I don’t want to speak to anyone, or see anyone, and I don’t want to go on the Internet, where I would inevitably find myself on Facebook and then, equally inevitably, would find news about Him. And I don’t want to see any news about Him.