I was musing on favourite books, and wondering what I’d put as mine, but I dismissed it within moments as a ridiculous idea. Even if we allowed that it would change in half an hour, and probably every half an hour for the rest of my life (though some books would be chosen many times) I still couldn’t pick a favourite.
Spare a thought, then, for the editor, the competition judge, the slush-monkey. Over at the Short Story Club we’ve been reviewing the year of official existence (we will be continuing, at least for now, but this is a bonus) and specifically trying to pick our favourite winner of the monthly story competitions. We’re doing it for fun, and maybe as a chance to reflect on what we’ve learnt, but in each of those months someone has had to choose this story over that, all the way to a shortlist, from which Louise Doughty has had to pick the winner. How many times has she wanted to cry ‘Hang on, I meant that one. No, this one. What was the one about Bernstein again?’ Alas, once the winner has been announced, there’s no changing your mind.
If you ask me who my favourite band is I will probably still say either Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden or the Clash depending what mood I’m in, as I have done since I was 14. OneMonkey may occasionally goad me into admitting I listen to Half Man Half Biscuit or the Damned more than I listen to the Clash these days, and I do get very excited about Terrorvision, but I would be unlikely to cite them as favourites. Even less likely to cite AC/DC or the Dogs D’Amour, much as I love them both. Consider, then, the fact that I realised as I neared the end of my time at university that the only albums I’d had with me every term were one by AC/DC, and one by the Dogs D’Amour. There’s a lesson in there somewhere – if you find it, send it my way.