An idea: Oh Dear Diary

I’ve been thinking about this idea for years and I’d like to finally make it happen. It’s an event called Oh Dear Diary.

It’s very simple: people get together and read aloud extracts from their teenage (or childhood, or young adulthood) diaries.

Why?

  • It’s funny
  • It’s cathartic
  • It’s bonding
  • It’s affectionate
  • But mostly it’s funny

Oh… like Adrian Mole!

No, because that was fiction. This is fact. Bum-clenching, teeth-grinding, heart-breaking fact. Everything read out or shown will be real.

You’ll be joining in, right?

Of course I will. That’s where this idea came from. I’ve spent a couple of evenings where friends and I took it in turns to read out extracts from our diaries and we agreed it was funny enough to share with a wider audience.

And yes, of course my diaries are mortifying, just like yours. I was an immature teenager. Like most girls, I obsessed about boys and friendships when I should have been working.

I’ve kept diaries, on and off, since I was ten so I have a fair amount of cringeworthy material to choose from.

When/Where/How?

I’m working on that. I’m thinking:

  • An event held in a room somewhere in Birmingham
  • Stage, microphone, spotlight … and possibly a projector, for photos/drawings/ephemera
  • A ticketed event, to make it slightly more private so that people can’t just walk in
  • You can read any extracts you like (five or ten minute limit per presentation?)
  • You don’t have to share anything you don’t want to share (ie your diary will not be made publicly available)
  • You can change names if it’s the difference between you doing this and not doing it

What about songs, or poems?

Yes! Yes, Christ yes.

Actually, I might get my Yamaha PSS470 out of the loft and play you my 1987 cod-reggae song “Friendly Toad”.

I didn’t keep a diary but I wrote a novel. Can I read you a bit of that? It’s terrible.

Of course. But only a bit, we haven’t got all night.

I don’t have a diary, or at least not one I’m prepared to share, but this sounds hilarious. Can I still come?

Yeah. It *will* be hilarious! But have some respect for those sharing.

Is this anything to do with Cringe?

No. When I first had the idea of Oh Dear Diary, I googled to see if it was already being done, and that’s when I read about about Cringe, which sounds very similar to how I’d envisaged Oh Dear Diary. However, Cringe is based in London and there is nothing similar here in Birmingham (at least, not that I’ve heard of). Their website explains that it’s fine for people to put on similar events elsewhere, as long as they do not use the Cringe name or brand. That’s fine by me, as this is Oh Dear Diary.

I’m in! What do I do next?

Please get in touch if you’re interested. You can comment here, or email me, or post on Twitter with the hashtag #OhDearDiary.

I mentioned this on Twitter and four people so far have said they’d be up for reading their diaries out to an audience. If I can get that number up to … say, seven or eight, I will book a room and make this happen.

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