Thoughtcat’s Four-Noun Autobiography Title Game

Sometime in 2003, Ananova (supposedly some kind of “news service”) reported (dead link; RIP Ananova) on an interview Noel Gallagher of Oasis gave to a German magazine, in which he commented that “if he ever did [sic] an autobiography it would be called Kettle, Cigarettes, Guitar, Television, as he didn’t need anything else in order to live – no women, no drugs, and no band.” I thought this was quite the most interesting thing Gallagher had ever said (especially given that he seemed to spend the rest of the interview saying there was no point in protesting about the war because “it’ll go ahead anyway”). More importantly however, I was instantly inspired to think of what my own autobiography title might be on the same basis. The rules for the title were clear: the words could only be nouns, and there could only be four of them. After a few moments of rapt window-gazing (well, I was at work, after all) I came up with Biscuits, Kettle, Guitar, Word-Processor. Which may well be the most interesting thing I’ve ever said, but there you go.

I emailed the idea around my office, inviting colleagues to propose their own titles, and after a slow start (“Leave, Me, Alone, Richard” was among the initial contributions, which I disqualified for containing no truly Gallagheresque nouns) I received the following replies:

Bitter, Blues, Books, Bristol City

Sex, Sushi, Rock & Roll

Guitar, Lager, Television, Indian Food

Waxing, Pounding, Eating, Thinking

Red Wine, Black Coffee, Blues Music … and Evo-Stik

Tea, Cigarettes, Porn, Luxembourg

Chris, Condoms, Books, More Books

Marmite, Music, Wine, Sunshine

Birth, School, [company name censored], Death

Olives, Strongbow, Sunshine, Music

Play, Beer, Laughter, Ultra-Violet Rays

Music, Chocolate, Laughter, Tears

Chainsaw, Binbag, Woods, [manager’s name censored]

Booze, Toffees, Internet, Pets

It could be argued that in some cases the titles make more sense if you know the person concerned, but perhaps some of the more obscure titles take on a more mysterious quality when you don’t know anything about the autobiographer. On this basis I started a discussion in “The Haven” on Guardian Talk inviting titles from members of the public, and to my surprise and delight received over fifty titles within a couple of hours, some of which were excellent. However, I didn’t record any of these, and the thread has since mysteriously vanished from the Grauniad’s Talk archives – perhaps Noel Gallagher got cross with them and insisted in the name of free speech that the thread was taken down? Maybe we’ll never care.

I opened this out on Thoughtcat and received the following submissions:

sun, sea, chocolate, fish – guzin, istanbul

noodles, books, music, friendzzzzzzzzzzzzz – koy@clipworxorange

music, dope, sex, chocolate – Anon

Beth and Night and Books and Tea – Theo, Glasgow

Love, Loss, Luise, London – Herman, Fulham, UK

Law, Order, Justice, Frilly Knickers – Captain Sterling Dill of the London Pickle Fork Police (don’t ask – TC)

Carbohydrates, Credit, Charm, Petrol – Gareth, Cheltenham, UK

Diet Pepsi and Veggie burgers, Arachnophobia and Spider-man: The hypocritical life of Sean Hennessey, Portland, Oregon

Pen, Paper, Penis, Plastic (Visa/Eftpos card) – Chris, Auckland, NZ

Love, Cats, Hot Water, Pictures – Catherine, Somerset, UK

Animals, Words, Stories, Ghosts – Elizabeth, Vermont, USA

Mum & Dad, Kids, Grandkids, Mum & Dead – Barbara, New Hampshire, USA

What’s yours? Comment below!

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