Sleb Safari: Let's make 2020 the year we're all a little more David Sedaris

Litter picking in the spirit of David Sedaris. Picture by Mal McCann

HELLO 2020 and hello everyone. Sleb Safari hopes your Christmas and new year went well and the turkey wasn’t too dry or the Brussels sprouts boiled to mush. Sleb Safari’s own festivities were almost ruined when at 5pm on Christmas Eve it discovered there were only 11 tea bags in the house. How stocks were allowed to get so low is a mystery and the Household Provisions Ombudsman is looking into it.

Sleb Safari indulged in plenty of reading over the holidays, luxuriating in its numerous online subscriptions. The Strategist’s ‘can’t live without’ column is a favourite. It's where people in the public eye explain what they absolutely must have to get by.

Sometimes it’s an egg caddy so they can bring their boiled egg to work, or jasmine mint toothpaste, a tea cosy, skinny jeans, stainless steel tongue scraper, or a sports stacking set and there’s always a scented candle in the mix.

Author David Sedaris’s ‘can’t live without’ list is a riot. He sounds like someone worth knowing or at least someone whose conversations are worth eavesdropping on.

The actual items are straightforward – a litter picker, two soaps, a bandana, headphones, Fitbit and mini notebooks into which he scribbles things such as an optician telling him he has “really thick corneas” – but it’s the accompanying stories that tickled Sleb Safari.

David is a walker. He strolls seven miles to the supermarket and seven miles home again, preferring to shop after midnight when it’s quieter. Clocking up some 20 miles a day makes his toenails pop off but he gathers bagfuls of litter as he wanders and started the habit when he lived in England “because people in England throw their trash out their car windows”.

So proficient was he that his local council named a bin lorry after him and gifted him a litter picker. He also got invited to a reception with Queen Elizabeth along with some 8,000 other “do-gooders” who were “hobbling” in new shoes. Should have worn their walking boots.


Dapper David on the road #davidsedaris

A post shared by David Sedaris (@davidsedarisbooks) on

David has a thing about scent and tells people who come to book signings if they smell like air freshener. Perhaps he writes it below the inscription. He is also particular about soap and has two different bars on his can't live without list. One is for home and the other for travelling as the home soap is too expensive to lose.

Even the soap in upmarket hotels doesn’t please, with Bvlgari singled out as it gives him “such a headache”.

“If I go to a hotel, and they have any Bvlgari products, I collect them all and put them in a drawer I know I’ll never open. There’s something about it that’s so harsh to me. If I washed my hands with it – which I used to do before I travelled with my own soap – I couldn’t shake the smell.”

Meanwhile, every other guest is popping the Bvlgari toiletries in their suitcase.

The bandanas are on the list “cause I sweat horribly” which leads into a story about the time he walked up to a man whose shirt he liked and offered to buy it for £500.

“And he said no. And I said, ‘One day you’re going to be hurting for money, and you’re going to think, I wish I’d sold that gentleman my shirt for £500, and if you take my information, you can email me any time, and I will buy that shirt from you. Years from now, the offer will still stand.’ I still haven’t heard from him.”

And so David’s list continues unabated and unrivalled and Sleb Safari wonders could we all be a little more David in 2020, the litter picking rambler who walks up to randomers and offers to buy the clothing off their back. Let's try that on for size and make 2020 the year of random.


William and Catherine's big announcement

On new year’s eve’s eve the Twitter account of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge posted this: “Stay tuned for our first announcement of 2020 very shortly…”

For a heartbeat it appeared they were about to drop an album.

But no, they quickly clarified that the announcement was the launch of the Earth Shot Prize, “the most prestigious environment prize in history”.

Earth Shot is a decent album title though. Just saying.


Chris Evans' Knives Out jumper

The internet fell in love with Chris Evans in the cable knit jumper he wore in the film Knives Out and for a while #ChrisEvansInASweater was a thing.

In response Chris posted this picture on Twitter and it’s fair to say his dog also rocks a sweater.


Social Media Smut


Sliding into 2020 ??

A post shared by Mariah Carey (@mariahcarey) on

Competition winner

The winner of a family ticket to The Frozen Princess pantomime at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall is Rachel Anderson from Belfast.



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