I, Clive Pike, shall now inform my followers of the people who helped me bring forth the Bookby David Mitchell / October 22, 2005 / Leave a comment
These nine hundred pages would not exist without Johnny Ball, the genius responsible for Think of a Number, a BBC children’s programme which aired from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. Johnny, you inculcated in my young brain a fascination with mathematics and logic that blossomed into my love of philosophy and metaphysics. It is this love that has given birth to the field of Psychomigration, the Bible of which, Dear Follower, you hold in your hands. I tried repeatedly to send you the manuscript-in-progress, Johnny, but your bolshy, inept agent refused to give me your home address. No matter. Now you will know all about Clive Pike, and you can contact me directly. To express our devotion, Mr Nixon and I will psychomigrate you personally when your time comes. Have you noticed that your initials are the same as John the Baptist’s? Such a violent night.
Pearl Pike supported me to the best of her abilities during the first half of the Book’s long gestation. I apologise, Pearl, for the scene at Heathrow Airport on Boxing day of three years ago, and for what happened to your Okinawan silverfish. I also regret sending you those mutilated photographs. After you left, I was not myself. Your solicitor Mr Davis visited me in Little Malvern Towers and told me you are settled in Brisbane with Moses now. He says you are training to be an aromatherapist and that Moses is a big shot (some might say a big shit) at Microsoft. So you now have the son that you were “not ready for” with me? The boy must be the best-smelling child in Australia. I signed the divorce papers, for old times’ sake. Dr Seaman witnessed. My memories of you, Pearl, are breaking up into bric-a-brac. Your ears I recall, yes, but not your lips. Your sulkiness, but not your tenderness. The courtyard in Venice where you chipped my tooth, certainly, but not that scabby hotel in Lyme Regis the first night you let me in. When you read this, would you send me one photograph of yourself? For old times’ sake? Please.
Customs and Excise House in Potters Bar, ugly and sixties-built, is an unlikely lotus tree for the enlightenment of the Book to have been conceived in, but this is exactly what happened. On the 15th of March, 1999, I was sitting in my cubicle on the ninth…