As I write this, the boyfriend is eating cornflakes at the exact time the cat is using her litter tray. It's a singularly awful collision of sound.
Anyway, the point is, many years ago, when I first moved to London, I had all my Doctor Who books on a shelf in my bedroom. I say all, I mean about 20. Which is probably more than enough for some people. I was, at the time, trying desperately hard to date a man called Christian Fletcher (you would, just for the name, wouldn't you?). He was over one time when he spotted the books, lurking at the bottom of the shelf. "Oh," he said. "Are those DVDs? My flat mate loves Doctor Who DVDs." He then realised they were books and his startlingly pretty face fell.
Things cooled shortly afterwards. Mind you, it may also have been me not realising that mobile phones record each missed call and me trying to get hold of him six times in one evening when I was at a play round the corner from him... "Did you call?" he texted. "Many many times?"
In a bid to seem more sane, I took to calling boys less and also decided to hide Doctor Who from my life. After all, this was the Space Year 2001 when Doctor Who was not cool and if I wanted to impress people to get laid I'd tell people I worked on the Fame Academy website. What a difference a decade makes.
When I moved into my own flat, my room had two wardrobes. As most of my clothes were novelty t-shirts with kittens on, I didn't need to hang much up, so I turned one wardrobe into the Cupboard Of Sad. This was because a week after I moved in, my parents sent a van along with ALL of my stuff. Crates and Crates of books. Including... hmmmm.... treasured relics of my fishbowl-lensed-mouth-breathing childhood.
So, into the Cupboard of Sad went hundreds of Doctor Who books. Novelisations, Novels, The Doctor Who Knitting Book, Junior Doctor Who And The Brain Of Morbius (being a bowlderised version of a particularly gruesome adventure. In hindsight, as wise a move as Junior Hannibal Lecter And The Silence Of The Lambs. Junior Doctor Who also tackled And The Giant Robot and then fell silent). The Doctor Who Cookery Book, the first volume of an illustrated encyclopedia (notable for pastel drawings of monsters and for missing out the letter 'K'), a book in which two baffled American lesbians toured the space quarries of England, and even a hardback alarmingly called "25 Glorious Years". Basically, all of my parents' wearisome love and pocket money slapped into a cupboard. Along with books that were still coming out. That were all read, adored, and then quickly hidden away.
Oh, that glorious decade of luring people back without them even realising that a few yards away lurked my shameucopia, hidden behind two MDF doors. It looked like an ordinary cupboard, but it was much sadder on the inside.
But I've now stuck all my Doctor Who books on shelves. Well, nearly all of them. There's still a couple of hundred to find space for somewhere. The urge to re-read them all is almost overwhelming. The cat likes them too. She's eaten quite a bit of The William Hartnell Handbook. I think he'd approve.
Sparkling Cyanide (1945)
1 year ago