News & Opinion


Tim wants a time machine this Gay History Month

Attitude magazine

October 1, 2011


At the heat of one of my favourite books, Bob Smiths Remembrance Of Things I Forgot, is the same endlessly intriguing, head screwing idea manfully bellowed by Cher: if you could turn back time, if you could find a waaaaayy, what would you do differently? After his boyfriend Taylor invents a time machine, the novel’s hero, John, zaps back to 1986, existing as both is 2011 self (there’s a deliciously mad moment when John Hr fancies the older version of himself).

In 1986, John Sr and John Jr’s mission is twofold: to stop George W Bush from becoming president and to stop his sister killing herself. Not only is Smith’s book very funny – John gets to tell Dick Cheney where to shove his warmongering – it is also extremely moving, not least when John pleads with his mother to change how she behaves towards her daughter to helps stop the suicide; and then, finally, face to face with his sister, he pleads with her to live. It’s one of those books you weep over without realising that the tears started some time ago, and Smith makes you consider all the ‘coulda-woulda-shouldas’ that a time machine might resolve in your life. If only…


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