Around the time that Lord of the Rings was showing at the cinema there was a lot of press about the multi-talented Viggo Mortensen. Here was an actor who was also a painter (those paintings in A Perfect Murder were his own), photographer, publisher, poet and musician, conversant in English, Spanish, French, Danish and Italian. What could Mister Viggo Renaissance Man Mortensen not do! It was one thing to learn about how he performed his own stunts, but when we heard that he was perfecting his Elvish for an awards night speech it was almost too much to bear and my friend and I were reduced to a fit of the giggles. But out of it a word was born—viggoing—a noun to describe any pursuit of personal academic and creative betterment for its own sake. So, when my friend asks ‘are you viggoing this week?’, she wants to know if I am spending any of my leisure time improving my mind and becoming more accomplished in the arts. So I might reply: ‘Yes, ukulele lesson tonight, Spanish language and history tomorrow, and by the end of the week I would like to have mastered the onion-skin binding technique.’ And if I were to enquire about her viggoing, she might say: ‘I’m in a play, which I am also directing, and rehearsals start this week, and on the weekend I am teaching myself how to spin my own wool (before dying it with dyes derived from plants in my garden) and knitting a Fair Isle cardigan’. For example.

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