Competition - Win a bottle of champagne

No 3598 Set by Dipak Ghosh

The second edition of Richie Benaud's autobiography Anything But . . . claims to be "fully revised and updated". We asked you for an updated and revised autobiography of your choice, whether existing or not, in which the revisions were plainly visible.

Report by Ms de Meaner

First of all, let us take the word "auto" in Chambers: "auto-, aut-, in composition, (1) self; (2) same; (3) self-caused; (4) automobile; (5) automatic. [Gr. autos, self.]" So, my darlings, how come there was more than one entry starting with the word "he"? (I suppose I should be grateful no one wrote about their car!) However, there will be no namings, so you can relax.

I'm afraid I had no trouble deciding who would win this week, and found it easy to consign the rest to the reject bin, especially Sid Field's Adolf "I was so wrong about the Jews" Hitler, which I read with a shudder.

£15 to the winners; the bottle goes to Will Bellenger.

In 1989 I allowed Scotland the privilege of becoming the standard-bearer for my decoy poll tax strategy. In spite of the disgraceful scenes instigated by those who resisted sharing the financial rating burden - so much for their demands for equality - the scheme was extended to the rest of Great Britain the following year.

My successor, however, not noted for his resolution, gave in to the dissidents, as I had anticipated, and modified my brainchild into what became the council tax. I had, of course, foreseen what the "endgame" would be, since I had deliberately played the "hard man" in order that my successor might assume the "nice guy" role. It all worked out according to my master plan. In 1993, the change occurred, and the great British public thought it had escaped a punch on the nose for a mere slap on the wrist. That my successor received such plaudits as were going concerned me not one iota. As dear Denis remarked: "Isn't it typical of you, darling, to stand back and permit lesser persons to take the credit?"

Chas F Garvey

I was born on a bright blue Sunday morning in the exceptionally attractive seaside town of Weston-super-Mare, with a blue rosette on my cot. However, I was whisked off immediately by a passing taxi, which happened to be passing the family home (which was very humble) to the East End of that grand metropolis, London, so I may fairly claim to have been born within the sound of Bow Bells, which my mother told me were ringing for evensong. When still in short trousers, I told my mother that I would one day be rich and famous, either in the literary or political world. I little imagined that one day I would achieve national (and international) celebrity, although I was good at sport, and my teachers told me I would one day be rich and famous, either in the literary or political world, but especially in London. To have sailed from the Bristol Channel to the Thames, via the languorous waters of the Cam, is a journey any statesman would find spiritually satisfying, and any nautical chap would find surprising! So I am a sea-dog, a water-rat, a Weston boy and a Cockney sparrer all in one.

Will Bellenger

On Saturday I suddenly revived and was perfectly lucid and my main concern was to find a television on which to watch the cricket. On Tuesday I woke up, looked at my son Nick and said "I am dying," and then heard the doctors making the decision to switch off the machines. I saw a great light and it said unto me: "Alfred Jules Ayer, our records indicate 4,279 breaches of the seventh commandment and 13,423 offences against the tenth in respect of neighbours' wives and maidservants. At the present tariff you must endure 4,346,115,000 years of torment." I replied that the argument from religious experience was altogether fallacious and that while the fact that people have religious experiences was interesting from the psychological point of view, and the theist may believe that his experiences are cognitive experiences, unless he can formulate his "knowledge" in propositions that are empirically verifiable we may be sure that he is deceiving himself. However, the error in this argument has now become apparent to me and I am grateful for the sabbatical leave from the brimstone furnace which has allowed me to bring More of My Life up to date. Repent ye! Repent ye while there is still time!

Nick MacKinnon

I was never really a Spice Girl. I mean, don't get me wrong, I put my heart and soul into making the group successful (others take note!) and I never gave it up just to pursue a solo career. I just think if you have talent you ought to share it.

But - let's face it - there are bigger things than pop music. Bigger things than a promo tag like Girl Power (don't blame me for that one!). More spiritual things. Like world peace. Refugees. Those things, they put them in the ground and they blow up. I know I've got the self-belief now to be an individual and go for what really matters. I don't have to be one of the crowd. I don't have to marry someone famous to get noticed.

People call me the new Diana. Well, honestly. One thing I never forget is to belt up. I suppose that's an attitude that comes from maturity.

I'm not sad for what I've left behind. The other girls did matter at a certain stage in my life, and I get mad when people say they're a bunch of hopeless losers. Which, coincidentally, is the title of my new single.

Basil Ransome-Davies

No 3601 Set by Dipak Ghosh

The class war is finally over. Describe the musings of a foot soldier returning home from the battlefield, after the ceasefire is announced, on the achievements, expectations for the future and so on. Max 200 words, by 21 October.


This article first appeared in the 11 October 1999 issue of the New Statesman, A world without children