I’m a fan of Jane Austen so I have absolutely no objection to the decision to feature her on £10 notes, starting in 2017. I just rather wish the feministas hadn’t made such a hoohah about it. I mean, it’s not as though we’ve never had women on our bank notes. Remember Elizabeth Fry? Florence Nightingale? As a matter of fact there’s a woman on notes of every denomination right now. Her name is H. M. Queen.
But anyway this got me thinking about how JA might have chosen to have her name memorialised. A writers’ retreat, perhaps? Or a style of bonnet? And then, because like many self-employed people I enjoy a pointless faff when I might be working, I started thinking about how I’d like to be honoured. Seeing as the Booker long-list committee lost my address yet again.
I definitely don’t want to be a community centre. Nelson Mandela’s got that sewn up. Nor an airport. I hate airports. Except for Frankie & Benny’s Diner at Gatwick which does a pretty good breakfast. They could name a breakfast after me. The Full Laurie Graham. It will not contain black pudding.
Or I wouldn’t mind being a hitherto undiscovered variety of seabird. Some kind of wader sounds about right, dibbling around in the receding tide, looking for snacks. Like a shore dotterel but with snazzier markings. Iridescent would be nice.
‘Pass the binocs, Mavis,’ some thrilled twitcher would exclaim. ‘I do believe that’s a thinornis lauriegrahamensis.’
Of course no such bird exists. All the undiscovered species live at the bottom of the Mariana Trench and look like slugs. Until you bring them to the surface, when they explode and look like a burst balloon. I don’t want to give my name to anything like that. So back to the drawing board. I enlisted the help of my friend Chucky D. He was on the train journey from hell, or possibly to hell, and needed distraction. He suggested a benign clinical syndrome, which is a brilliant idea. I can see it now.
Laurie Graham Syndrome is characterised by a mild but unpredictable personality disorder and an uncontrollable tendency to curl the upper lip in a distinctive sneer. Exists in hereditary and non-hereditary forms. There is as yet no treatment.
So that’s that sorted. Blue plaques? Who needs ’em!