Leith on life

Prospect Magazine

Leith on life

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A Frome of one’s own


“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life,” is the much-quoted verdict of Dr Johnson. But it admits of some ambiguity as to the question of which comes first. I have a one-year-old who hasn’t slept through the night since he drew his first breath, and a three-year-old who sleeps like a top but will not let five waking minutes pass without a request for a rice cake, the demand for a change of outfit, or a fit of temper that would terrify the most temperamental of divas.

I look at myself in the mirror—eyes more than usually sunken, skin more than usually sallow, hair more than usually lank—and I feel like I’m peering out from an observation platform somewhere deep inside a scale model of my body, constructed with an aesthetic debt to the late Lucian Freud. Tired of life, I think. Tired of everything.

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