I’ve always admired people who have the dedication and patience to keep a diary. Not the kind of diary where you scribble things like “Dentist, 2.30” or “Bob’s birthday, Red Lion, 7pm”. I mean a diary which chronicles daily activities, thoughts, observations and opinions. Politicians seem to do it effortlessly, although where they get the time, I really don’t know. I’ve just finished reading all of Piers Morgan’s diaries in which he records every minute detail of his life, from being the youngest editor to the News of the World (he mentions this with alarming regularity) to his shameless name dropping of every celeb on the planet he’s “best friends” with. Despite being Piers Morgan, the diaries are good fun because they’re full of outrageous, and probably completely exaggerated, gossip.
I love the idea of keeping a diary so I can look back in my twilight years and ponder what a complete muppet I was. However, I’ve never had the attention span or commitment to devoting an hour of my life each day to diarise things. But last Christmas I was given a book called ‘Listography: Your Life in Lists’. It was a book of blank pages, each page with a heading such as: List Your Favourite Films; List Your Guilty Pleasures; List Bands You’ve Seen Live. There are 133 pages of lists to fill in, and it’s a great journal to take on a long train journey. It creates a kind of autobiography of your life without having to go into painfully long narrative. I LOVE lists, I make a list every morning of things I need to do, usually starting with “Put pants on” followed by “Clean teeth”. It’s immensely satisfying crossing these things off my list and feeling I’ve actually achieved something.
One of the lists is “List Your Past Jobs”. So starting at the age of 13, I did the following:
- Ran a pet food stall on the market
- Watered plants in a local garden centre
- Stocked up the shelves in a bookshop
- Laboratory assistant in a soft drinks factory
- Sorted through job applications for British Telecom
- Au Pair in London (I was rubbish)
After a number of years which involved an expensive education my parents could barely afford and a less than useless degree, I realised I was ultimately unqualified to do anything. Other than pull pints in a local pub. But it was this job that made me. I learned how to cook, entertain the public, manage staff, organise events, condition cask ale. I mastered crowd control, how to balance the books, relationship counselling and the art of taking twenty minute naps between shifts. I understood how to unblock a drain, break up an argument and make a perfect G&T. And without fail, every week, someone would say to me “When are you going to get a proper job?”
Which is why I love the name (and taste) of this week’s beer: St Austell Proper Job. It resonates with that period in my life when I was dead on my feet, working in excess of 70 hours a week for a paltry wage, but absolutely loving every minute of my life. For those of you who have ever done this job, or have children, parents, relatives and friends who are doing this, this is one of the most valuable life lesson jobs they can have. Never knock it, never under estimate where it can take you…it’s a Proper Job.
Right, better start talking about the beer. I’m a big fan of St Austell beers, they don’t try and be super-trendy, they just aim for quality. The beers are well crafted from premium ingredients, and Proper Job is hiding its light underneath the Tribute bushel. It contains Cornish spring water, Cornish grown barley and is a 4.5% IPA with a grapefruity smell. But the taste is grassy and fresh, it’s not harsh or intensely bitter like so many ‘new school’ IPAs on the market. It’s a natural partner to fish, especially crab, mackerel and sea bass, but I’m going to ‘pub’ it and put it with a plate of wholetail scampi, tartare sauce and minted peas. Seriously, can’t get better than this, anywhere in the country.