Sunday, September 25, 2005


Bought a copy of the Independent on our return to Britain as the all-new Berliner Guardian had sold out. Later bought the Guardian at Clacket Lane services. I now have two autumn fashion supplements telling me that I must dress like Kim Novak for the next few months, or, alternatively, must wear a skirt which looks like a sack of potatoes. "It requires an adjustment of the style radar" the writer admits. "Try before you dismiss" she adds later in more upbeat mood. The best guide is to look at the pictures accompanying the article. The conclusion is not encouraging. As the Sack Of Potatoes skirt makes even beautiful, willowy 17 year old models look, well, silly at best, how is the fashion industry going to persuade human beings to wear it?

* * *

In the Independent, meanwhile, was a headline declaring that fifty per cent of bloggers find that blogging is therapeutic. No evidence to back this up, just the stark "facts". Fifty per cent though - nice round figure, eh?

I've worked it out. Obviously, the in depth research had been carried out in the Independent office, with help from two bloggers (not on the editorial staff, naturally, but in more menial jobs).

One of them has a very successful blog. Recently she has fallen in love again after going through a messy divorce which was the source of much confessional on-line writing. She would get endless supportive and sympathetic comments and e-mails from other bloggers on each post ("oh, baby, you're well rid of this guy!" Katy of Oklahoma cooed. "Create some me time. There's a really great guy out there for you and you DESERVE him" said Fierce Babe from Montreal.

So of course SHE found blogging therapeutic.

The other person, however, was more like me and admitted that blogging had turned them into a neurotic mess.

Odd to think that for around a year I was noodling along with a blog used as something to impress a few friends with and nothing more. How could I have been so apathetic?

Then the descent into madness began. I joined Britblog. Felt compelled to check the Britblog charts each day to make sure I wasn't in the bottom ten (I was, one day, and felt mortified). Started checking out other blogs, which were much better than mine. Enabled comments on my site. Started comparing myself to popular bloggers and started to feel bitter. Huh! Blogger X has only to put up a post saying "Well, decided not to go down the pub tonight - got a takeaway and caught up with some stuff on Sky Plus", only to get bloody 50 comments along the lines of "ooohh, maaan, you TELL IT LIKE IT IS BRUV - you-tha-MAN!!!!"

Worse than this, I started sending comments to other people. It must be something to do with trying to overcompensate for my years of social phobia. I can cut the awkwardness with dealing with people in real life out! Mingling at a party full of strangers? A complete nightmare. Butting into people's conversations with each other in cyberspace? No problem.

STILL, I only comment at sites I like about things that interest me, and haven't trawled around saying "hey, LERVE your blog, have linked to you over at mine!!! xx". I know I'm showing off, and I know I'm boring people, but I'm not THAT much of a comments whore ... am I?

The very worst thing, though, is getting a couple of site meters. This allows me to feel encouraged on the occasional days when viewing figures are slightly higher than expected, only to see them inevitably slump back again. Someone in Thailand spent zero seconds on my blog after an engine search for "Lisa-Scott-Lee-sweaty-feet". Oooh, that's nice. One site I admire is linked here, even though most people would think I'm too dim to read it (they are right about the dim part, of course). Didn't think the writer would ever bother to look at my crap site, but ... he must have checked his "who links here" gubbins, spent 26 seconds on here and must have departed, uttering the word "execrable" to himself. Very embarrassing.

Still, having a crisis of confidence about twenty times a day keeps you on your toes. But no, I wouldn't describe blogging as therapeutic.

To summarize, these days I often feel like I did when I was turned down for the year's netball team when I was about nine, having to watch my friends playing from the sidelines. Possibly not appropriate behaviour for someone in middle age.

To paraphrase Samuel Beckett "I can't go on, I can't go on, oh knickers, I'll think about it".

ooh, luurve your blog, I've linked it to mine:-)

No, honestly blogging is different for everybody. I'm pretty certain Mr A finds my blogging therapeutic, as I no longer yell at him when people piss me off, I just scream into cyberspace.

I try not to be too bothered about the site meter (although if I don't get any comments I reach for the vodka bottle), cos I know that one day my blog will be compulsory reading for all high school students......

umm, maybe I'll go take a cold shower now.
and that sort of crushed feeling you get when you've commented and so have some other people and they all get a response and you don't. us bloggers are hypersensitive, don't you think?

and stop looking at me like that.
britblog has a CHART?

hang on, i'll be back in a minute...
Oo, tell it like it is, sister! I'm sure we all go through this. I've just spent my customary hour or two agonising that my latest post makes me out to be some sort of vacuous bimbo, incapable of forming a single intelligent thought. Then I realised that no one probably cares, and I felt better. Then I checked the statcounter and realised that in the grand scheme of things, no one's even reading the fucking thing! So all's well that ends well. Cheers!

Oh, and I love your blog. I'm going to link to it from mine.
b*ggery b*llocks - they've taken the chart offline

i love your blog btw! bookmarked you! oh, and come and check out toenail enhancements - it pretty much covers toenail enhancement related stuff

god, i miss spam
>>no one's even reading the fucking thing<<

Present company excepted, of course. I love you all, lovely blog visitors and commenters and linkers. Ahhhh.
Missus A - I'm not sure about the therapeutic bit at all in our house. We'll ask each other stuff like "...no, honestly, was this post alright? Was it too weird? Will everyone think I'm mad? Is it too self-pitying?" etc etc or say "it's not fair, I've not got any comments. Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I think I'll go and eat worms". Very undignified.

Surly Girl - hmm, I think you must have wired up to the internal workings of my mind. Uncanny.

Urban Chick - yeah, I think compiling the Britblog chart must have been too much of an effort and anyway, at least it is one weight off my mind these days.

Patroclus - gee, thanks for the link over at yours :-) Of course, it shouldn't matter, in the grand scheme of things, if no one ever reads my fucking blog. I'm just spoilt and self-absorbed. It's the quality of the readership that matters anyway, not a huge audience.

Well, that's looking at it rationally, anyway.

Meanwharl, readers, I love you all very much, as that big lass who used to come on at the end of Morecambe and Wise would say.
10-4, good buddy
I'll get me coat.
You are *so* right. About the blogging, not the skirt, although you're possibly right about that as well. Although I've given it considerable thought and I think, I'm almost certain, that I'm all for ladies looking like Kim Novak. If at all possible.

Where was I? Oh, yes, what I wonder is, what comes first, the neurosis or the blog? Do I blog because I'm neurotic, or has blogging made me neurotic?

Note to self: must mention Lisa Scott-Lee.
Geoff - Laurie Lingo and the Dipsticks good buddy.

Wyndham - The idea with the fashion thing is that you are supposed to look like a Hitchcock leading lady, of which I suppose Kim Novak in Vertigo is an example. No problem with that: Vertigo is my favourite film after all. Pencil skirts and really high heels are not that practical for schlepping around the supermarket though. As far as I know Alfred Hitchcock is not going to be a fashion role model for men this season, but judging by the girths and baldness of a lot of blokes around my way, he probably has been for years.
It's not the number of readers its the quality of them that's what I say. I always enjoy reading your blog.
can i just remind you at this point that i am one of the aforementioned 'quality' readers, lest you doubt that for a nanosecond
ooh, ooh, me too.

lisa scott-lee?
I was always a Grace Kelly man myself, as were most of her leading men.
Jane: cheers duck! Likewise.

Urban Chick: I have never doubted for a minute that all of my readers are qualidee people of the very highest water, even the late Mark Gamon (ONLY JOKING! COME BACK MARK!)

Surly Girl: Back in the mists of time, I mentioned here that Lisa Scott Lee was headlining the Danson Park Festival, and the build up to her 15 minute mimed set was featured for about two months in the local papers as if it was the coming of Our Lord, or someone selling free booze. I never said anything about her having sweaty feet though.

Wyndham: I have been corrected on the fashion front, by the great Lorraine Kelly, who said this morning that Tipi Hedren is the Hitchcock leading lady we should be aiming to look like. I'm not looking forward to being attacked by all those crows and seagulls but it has to be done.
Of course I didn't mean "selling free beer". I meant something else.
So if I see a woman running down the street with seagulls and crows stapled into her hair I shall know La Kelly is responsible. I think she's a little optimistic there. I know it's only a matter of time before they do it on the catwalks of Milan but that ain't going to catch on in Top Shop. Surely it would not be condusive to the mass consumption of alcopops.
I'm here!

Bloody hell. Been to Cornwall and Leeds. Came back to discover all my mates in the 'blogosphere' are in crises of some sort. Boggins has become a technophile. Geoff has taken up with crap football teams. And Betty has been afflicted with comment paranoia.

What the heck. They're only blogs. They cheer you up when you're down, and when you're happy they have a nasty way of reminding you how crap things are out there. Mostly it's just words, and a few lovely people who float around your computer screen thinking the same kind of thoughts you do (or not, in Geoff's case). Which on the whole is rather lovely, don't you think?

I LUUUUUURVE YA BLAWG, BEDDY. Especially now I know you look like Kim Novak in a classic Hitchcock movie...

edgwyail. The medical term for blogging ennui.
Mark - welcome back. You must have done a lot of driving.

I will continue to be paranoid about everything, for the rest of my life.

The lovely Geoff has not "taken up with crap football teams" as he has been afflicted by West Ham for many years, man and boy. Perhaps he can provide his own case for the defence, so I will say no more on that matter.

Oh, and I know it's difficult to keep up with, but I have now got to look like Tipi Hedren in The Birds if I want to be all the fashion. This involves being attacked by crows, seagulls etc., so I have taken to wearing bags of half eaten fish and chips on my head in order to attract them. I'm having a right old time of it, and now must go to put a dressing on some of the head wounds.

No, I don't look remotely like Kim Novak. Many years back, our local greengrocer apparently wanted to go on a date with me because he reckoned I looked like Sophia Loren, but nothing ever came of it and besides, he had the operation to remove the cataracts soon after that.
Blogging is strangely compulsive. What gets me is that everytime I post something that I think is interesting, very few people comment. Post up a load of ill thought out bollocks and in they come.
Ta for the link and that.
That's okay Garfer. Seeing whether I've got comments or not gives me a strange sort of fear. Mind you, as most of what I write is ill thought out bollocks I shouldn't have anything to worry about on that score.
One site I admire is linked here, even though most people would think I'm too dim to read it.

Looking through your blogroll, I'm 99% certain I know which one it is. It's the bloke who I used to read off-and-on until he started going on about Spinoza, and I just went "Huh?"
You may well be right. Oh, alright, you are. After all, nobody else is reading this post, let alone the comments, anymore.

I'm still dim, though.
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