Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Welcome new readers

Hello. Do come in. I'll pop the kettle on.

I've picked up quite a few new visitors after my mention on QI last week so I thought I'd better explain what this blog is all about. It's about anything I find interesting. It's about things that inspire me, annoy me, make me laugh, make me seethe. It's art and science and media and cake recipes. I don't know a single term that covers the range of my interests. Let's just call it Colganology.

I still have most of my school reports from the 1960s and 70s and I delight in the fact that Mrs Atkins, my infant school teacher, wrote this about me when I was 10:

'Stevyn is very intelligent, at least two years above most of his peers in reading, writing and spelling. However, his grasshopper brain means that he flits from interest to interest and unless he can learn to concentrate on one thing at a time, he will not pass his 11+'.

I should explain for my younger or overseas readers that the 11+ exam used to be a kind of educational banding exercise. If you did well, you went to a higher performing Grammar School. If you didn't do so well, you ended up at a Comprehensive. I ended up at a Comprehensive and I remained ahead of many of my school chums throughout my entire compulsory education ... but left in 1979 with an A Level in Art (a Grade C), and piss poor O Level just-about passes in English, English Literature, Biology and Religious Education. Mrs Atkins was right.

That 'Grasshopper Brain' of mine (Perhaps what I should have called this blog?) is still with me. I can no more buckle down and study a single subject in detail today than I could in my teens. No one area of study attracts and excites me more than any other.

I've recently discovered that I am a Scanner. By that I don't mean that I can make people's heads explode by mind power like in those early 1980s schlock horror films. I mean someone like this. My chum John Williams, author of the bestselling Screw Work, Let's Play assures me that I'm not weird ... just a bit different.

I read maybe two to three books a week. I scour hundreds of websites and blogs. I watch TV documentaries by the score. I traipse around museums and libraries and antiquarian bookshops. What I'm looking for are facts that make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck; little snippets of information that make me go 'Ah!'. I want to know how the world works and how everything connects to everything else. That was, in a way, the idea behind my first book Joined-Up Thinking. I was only able to write that book because of the massive collection of interesting things I'd found and stored. What I'd like to do is share some of these with you.

This blog is, if you like, a scrapbook of things I find interesting. No more, no less.

I hope you find it as interesting as I do.


Tess Kincaid said...

Hey, I've got a severe case of grasshopper brain. How in heck are you? It's been far too long since my last visit!

Piers said...

That's a shame. It would have been useful to know someone who could make people's heads explode.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Willow - Hello! What a joy to see you. It's been waaaay too long.

Piers - Oh blimey yes. The fun you and I could have with that ...