Monday, March 19, 2007


In the interests of bloggin' democracy, I'm publishing the following exchange which would otherwise have been buried away in the comments section a couple of posts down. I'm sure Bob won't mind. He's also done a post about the Comic Relief book here.

"Once again I'm posting here because you seem not to be allowing comments on the Comic Relief stuff.

I've just posted my review of the Blog-aid book (I've ordered 17,000 copies- made of *fecking* money me....)

For all those readers too *goddamn* lazy to follow the link, here's the gist of my post:I've just finished it and, yes - it *really* is as brilliant as the blurb makes it sound!

Just thank *Christ* this annual upswell of concern for the undernourished and abused allows us to pat ourselves on the back via projects like this about how caring and concern-ed we are, is all I can say. I just hope those cadaverous African bastards realise just *how* much they should feel indebted to us - let alone the good old British banks into whose coffers the bulk of those well-intentioned donations will be going.

L.U.V. on ya - and here's to an even more successful Comic Relief 2008!!

# posted by Robert Swipe : 11:53 PM

"Bob, I didn't activate comments on the posts about the book because it seemed a bit pointless really. Nothing sinister.

The initial reason I contributed a post to the book was as a "thank you" to Mike, because he's namechecked me quite a lot on his blog for some time - it seemed a bit petulant and "ooh, look at me" to do otherwise. Oh, and yeah, of course I'd get a buzz from the idea of being in a book. Who isn't actually attracted to getting a bit of publicity for themselves in a self motivated way? I would've done it if none of the money had been going to Comic Relief (at least then I wouldn't have to justify how morally corrupt I am ...)

Maybe some of the £1600 thus far raised for Comic Relief will go towards some worthwhile project that otherwise wouldn't have received anything. A few bloggers aren't going to overthrow capitalism's reliance on third world poverty in one fell swoop, and I don't think any of them are kidding themselves that they are.

I'll say one thing: I'm a working class oik, didn't go to university, always ended up in crappy low grade clerical jobs. This is no doubt the only time in my life that I'll end up in print. I'm not getting all gushy and self congratulatory about it but it is *quite nice*. There are a lot of other bloggers who're miles more talented than me who should be getting recognition, but that's another story.

Enough: I'm poorly educated and my debating skills are fairly undeveloped. Anyone else care to offer their opinion?"
# posted by Betty : 8:35 AM

Anyway, thing is - what do you think? Any dissenting voices or are you in favour of the book? Most of you are university educated and undoubtedly better informed than I am, so I'm sure you've got something to say. Blogging should be a platform for free expression, after all. Besides, I'm buggered if I can think of anything else to post at the moment.

Of course, I'm going to look like a complete arse when I end up with (0) comments, but what the flip ...


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Nothing to say? There's a cahnge Betty!!!

I haven't either...I just didn't want you looking like a complete arse.

PS Thanks for nominatintinging me for last week's Post of t'week. Another lost cause!
I didn't attempt to contribute to the book because I have no critical ability to assess my own work (I don't know which bits if any are funny). I agree with some of what Bob says, but if people want to contribute I'm not going to slag them off. It's always nice to see your name in print. If I want to do it I'm going to have to start writing letters to the paper.
Murph - not so much nothing to say as not being intelligent or informed enough to say anything. I'm alright ranting on about smug middle class mothers or Paolo Nutini, but get me involed in a debate about something important and I do indeed look like a complete arse.

As for the Post Of The Week - you'll get there eventually. At least you were shortlisted!

Billy - there were only a couple of posts from the past few months that I could've submitted. A lot of blogging makes references to other blogs, topical subjects or uses pictures and links, so it was a bit of a stab in the dark. Um, apparently the main criteria for being chosen is being a "talentless cunt" which would mean that most people here wouldn't make the mark ...
Darling, you will always look like a complete arse to me, with or without comments.
Buy the book, I am in it. I can't see any justification to any argument against that hypothesis.
Thank you Vicus. I'd rather be a complete arse than half an arse like Janette Krankie.
I think if a post makes you wash out your sinuses with whatever beverage you are drinking at the time then it's worth sharing. I haven't read the book but it seems to have some good people in it.
A few questions though:
Are you in it?
Is vicus in it?
Does the word cunt feature?
The word cunt was no more than 1,500 per entry.
Realdoc - welcome back (not that you've been away very long). Well, Vicus, Geoff and myself are all in it, so there you have three "talentless cunts" for a start. Th word cunt doesn't feature in my post, but I don't know about anybody else's. Apparently there are a few typos, so it may well appear as cntu.

Geoff - speaking of typos ...
I'm very happy about the book, not just because it's raised £1,600, but also because it's a project that was created entirely in and by the blogosphere. No publishing companies, no real mainstream media coverage, no publicity really except word of mouth through blogs, and still it sold 350 copies in three days.

The fact that something like this is achievable - and especially that the book was created and published in just seven days - is one of the very best things about the internet, and I'm proud to be part of it. I don't see any reason to apologise or justify myself for having submitted a post for the book, and neither should anyone else.

NB the word 'cunt' does not feature in my post either, but I'm pleased to say that the word 'fucker' does.

I did have second thoughts about the post and was thinking it was maybe a bit over the top - a bit like Chris Morris telling the stupid woman who was trying to sell Sebastian Coe's home made jam ("I hate Sebastian Coe") that £1500 was "pathetic amount". But then I think of the smugness of the people they have roped in to sell the book (note how the way it was sold to you lot has been subtly modified for the book market - "names, names, names!" you can almost hear the editor crying out - Collins, Kennedy, GWAOTM, *anyone* from the fecking Grauniad - and I think, 'no, stick to your guns, Bob'...

I have had contact with some of these people in cyberspace - I won't name names, or tell you which of those named above actually (and I swear this is true) used the word 'chummage' (I could stop typing now, I think and that point alone would have made my case sufficiently...) - but the impression I get is that they genuinely believe that they are a cut above the rest. They may well be and they have every right to behave as if they are if they so wish, but equally, I reserve the right to call them self-absorbed, self-aggrandising cunts if and when they do.

I spend a lot of time on the web, trying to build up an audience/community of friends etc and if I thought for one moment I came across as being as self-important as some of the above, I'd pack it in tomorrow Betty, I swear I would. I love the democratising effect of the blogs and all the other stuff that means people like us can express ourselves and build up these lovely little knots of people with like minds, similar interests etc. I know I shouldn't be affected by people who are over-bearing and know it all - but I am sometimes. And I hate being patronised, so I won't just sit back and take it, I'm afraid.

I have no problem with anyone being involved in the book - how could I? And I would never be so arrogant as even to dream that my opinion on this, or anything else, matters a jot to anyone else. But the blogs are one of the few genuinely open and uncensored (as far as we know) spaces left in what passes for our 'democracy', so right or wrong, you'll just have to put up with them, or click on next blog.

Now that it's started a debate, I wish I'd never posted that up, late and pissed, last night. But there you go - it's up there now and It's not exactly as if I shy away from the limelight is it, so if anyone wants to come over and call me a cunt back, they'll know where to come, I'm sure.

Sorry to go on, but one last thing. I'm really pleased that you have made the book Betty, but I wouldn't think any less of you or what you write if you hadn't. For me, the whole point of all this internet stuff is *communication*. That's the aim, and we achieve it daily, together, on this thing - anyone who can't grasp that and has their eyes on other prizes is missing out on what *we* have, not the other way around.

L.U.V. on ya,


p.s. hello Realdoc - loved the podcasts. See, I can be nice too.
This is actually a little bit more than I can cope with. In fact, I'm quite close to breaking point. Which isn't such a good look in an office, so I'm going to click off and try and think about something else.
I see
Oh absolutely
I um couldn't agree more
er? could I?

me penny came down tales so I'll buy it, enjoy the humour and hope some of the money goes to do some good some where
Well, I've had my say so I'm letting other people have theirs without stepping in with my two ha'porth. Although I should say that this post wasn't a crappy veiled attempt to get Mike to justify what he's done, as he has enough on his plate and has already proved his worth. Actions speak louder, and all that.
o feck, blogger just ate my comment.

Rest assured that it was pithy and very wise.

Not typing it again: what Billy said will do.
What I don't like is - what with Blog of the week, Blog of the year, Miss Blog Universe, Crufts Blog champion etc.... It's all getting a bit too competitive.

That gives me anxiety attacks.
Rob - sorry about that, probably due to the "not allow anonymous comments" thing which keeps the undesirables out.

Kaz - too true. I've learned to be a gracious loser (er, runner up in Blogging Glamorous Granny Of The Year, 2005, Barnehurst region).
"Well, I've had my say so I'm letting other people have theirs without stepping in with my two ha'porth."

Sorry Betty, but is that how it works? You know, you stir up a hornets' nest here, posting up comments I've made to you in the cosy ambience of your 'salon' as if they're ground-shaking developments, adding to any upset I may already have caused Mike by magnifying the beam when you make those asides the subject of an 'official' post. Then, when I come back with an explication of my comments (made, as I said as asides to stuff I've already posted and about which the people concerned have had ample opportunity to come back to me personally about), you can just drop it? Doesn't your posting my commenst in your main blog warrant at least an acknowledgement from you to my comment on it?

And why are we prolonging this, anyway? I may have referred to Mike and his celebrity friends as such, directly, in a post to which they are more than entitled to respond, but you're treating us *all* like cunts here by trying to milk it, B - if I can be quite frank.

The only quibble I have with this whole thing is that a mate of yours has tried to rope in a few suckers to pad out a vanity publishing project disguised as a charitable enterprise. No skin off my nose who is or isn't involved and I hope they do make shitloads of money - I've posted the same link as you did on mine, if that's any help - but I say what I see. And will continue to do so. I apologise to anyone who's 'currently at breaking point' for having been unnecessarily rude in the way I've gone about this, but at the end of the day, worse things happen at sea. And this, as I know myself from bitter experience, is an occupational hazard of putting your head above the parapet.

To finish, I think there are other poeple out there in blogland, not a a million miles away and who regularly read and comment here and at Spinny's, if not on mine, who are going through far more taxing personal events than myself, Mike or you right now, B. At the risk of sounding like Spinal Tap, 'it puts things in perspective, doesn't it?'

L.U.V. on ya,


p.s. xyundmud: Balkan Les Gray tribute act, anyone?
Fair enough Bob, I only published this post first thing today because I thought it might be interesting to see if there were any different opinions on a subject that's getting a lot of coverage on blogs at the moment - there wasn't any thought out agenda. It looks as if I made the wrong decision and did so at too short a notice. I wasn't trying to upset anyone or "stir up a hornet's nest" or give one person's opinion more credence than another, which is why I tried to keep out of butting in when people made comments.

It wasn't my intention to offend anyone and if I've done so, I can only apologise. I suppose I was trying to test the idea of blogging being a way of people expressing their opinions and it's backfired on me. If people want to stick their head above the parapet and say what they think then fine.

Yeah, I'm aware that there are people who visit this blog or are around in similar circles who are going through some pretty awful things at the moment which put everything into perspective. I'm not quite that far up my own arse.

Okay: I made a mistake publishing this. If I delete it, then it looks as if I'm denying people's freedom to comment on it, but if I leave it up it might upset some more people! Any ideas folks?
Can't we just all be friends?

It's hardly as if any of us are Tory scum, even the so-called celebrities of the book (who my mum hasn't heard of, so they can't be real celebrities).
Personally, I thought the book was a clever way of raising money for a worthy cause, nothing more. I don't know any of the people involved, I didn't try to contribute to it and I won't be buying it either - but not for any particular reason. I got a bit tired of seeing posts about it, but I realise that several of the U.K. bloggers I read "know" each other and anyway it's the kind of project that needs publicity a) to gather contributions and b) to sell. I don't think you can really call it "chummage," can you? Call me Pollyanna if you like, but I'm pretty sure most people chipped in with the best intentions and I certainly doff my hat to anyone prepared to take on the nightmare of organizing a project like this. And most people like seeing their name in print (if they've had some control over the content), there's nothing wrong with that in my opinion. But crikey, mention the word "book" to two bloggers and watch'em slug it out. Amazing. Leave the post up though. Bob's entitled to his view and is lucid enough to admit his doubts about his own arguments. Remember everyone Liberté, égalité, fraternité (quoting things in funny languages is the only vestige of my moderately expensive education - along with exquisite table manners, natch).
I'm really sorry Betty, the last thing I'd ever want is for someone I value as a reader and (apologies if this sounds up the own arse, but I haven't ever met you so it's technically accurate) a 'virtual' friend to be upset and doubting what they've posted.

I suppose I felt that I'd gone too far in terms of making personal something that I could have made a more effective point about by using the usual techniques of distance, irony and taking the piss, so I was already feeling the same doubt as you are now about what I'd done. I felt on the defensive before I'd read your post, so I guess I was doing the old frightened animal routine (note to self: you're watching to much Wild at Heart..)

You know, I invest a hell of a lot of time and emotion into what I do on blogger and elsewhere. It's a real privilege for me to have 'met' so many warm and witty and supportive people like yourself and Geoff and others too numerous to name here. So I go into these things a bit bullishly sometimes, because I feel I have a bit of a constituency behind me - of real people, who aren't full of bullshit and looking for the non-existent prize. I'm sorry that doing what I do entails people getting upset now and then, but believe me, I've been very upset by things that have been said to/about me over the last few years. It goes with the territory, I'm afraid. And one gets over it. If we had more spaces in our lives to express ourselves more honestly, this would, I'm sure, be less of a problem.

I hope you don't delete the post - tempting though it is. If only because I want it on record how much I value your's and Geoff's friendship - presumes, unmet and unexpected though it is.

Let's stay pals, eh?


p.s. Liberté, égalité, fraternité - cut and paste is such a boon to us lower orders, isn't it?
For what it's worth, Betty, I don't think you should delete this post. Let it stand as it is, for it is both thought-provoking, interesting and has all the signs of having a friendly resolution. It's sort of what us conservation types refer to as an "honest repair", rather than a wholesale restoration.

(Did that sound wanky?)
On purely financial grounds (and ecological, if you want to take out the distribution) it would have been better for the charity, even after their costs, to donate £8.96 and do the gift aid thing. I'll be honest, my main reason for not buying the book (yet) was that my limited largesse would probably have ended there with the purchase even though I could realistically have afforded a little more (I am, as usual, borassic). Also, CR wouldn't be able to claim gift aid and thereby shaft the exchequer into the bargain. I suspect many others on a tight budget may have been tempted along the same route, especially when they could have something tangible as a reward for their donation. Does that make sense? I dare say too some did contribute for the kudos, but even those wouldn't have been possible without the cause. Well done to Mike though. It's a monumental effort - I know as I'm on the point of self publishing (co-write with a client) and it's taken about three months since we chose the publisher. Your efforts deserve applause. So, Betty, if I may use your offices to prick consciences further, if all you did was buy the book but you would usually have given a tenner, go and slip them the difference at least, and tick the gift aid box.
At the end of the day, does the end justify the means? Yes. But is it right to inquire about the motivation of those working for charity? Yeah, I think it is. In this case, I find the defendants not guilty, but I sentence Girls Aloud and Sugababes to 6 months of hard labour at the Could Do Better institute. And the next Comic Relief is 2009, not 2008. Duh.
Rhino 75 - you've made a good point. This is definitely the last post I'm going to do connected with the book, which means I'll be back to to covering the same old ground ... er, I mean, the usual exciting mix of humour, culture, politics, the arts, knitting and cookery with the occasional dash of poignancy. C'est la vie (I want one of those French keyboards!)

Bob - it's okay. When I used the title Let's Have A Heated Debate it was with the usual flippancy (Mrs Merton's heated debates never got more heated than someone perhaps expressing the opinion that too many people eat with their mouths full nowadays). It was a bad decision to publish: things can be misunderstood, wires can be crossed and stuff is typed up in the heat of the moment, particularly when people have strong opinions. We've all been guilty of it (myself included, so I'm not going to climb up on to the moral highground). It may have looked as if I was trying to "make an example" of you because you'd got a different opinion to me, although that certainly wasn't my intention. Still, it's, ahem, a learning curve, and I'll try to consider other people's feelings/opinions more in future. Bring tha love!

Doris - no, it didn't sound wanky. "An honest repair" - I think I'll use that expression to describe the fence in our back garden at the moment. The part at the front is sturdy and new and weather protected but the rest is collapsing from age and woodrot (a bit like me).

Del - if Girls Aloud and Sugababes should be up for hard labour, where does that leave The Proclaimers, Peter Kay and Matt Lucas? Is hanging, drawing and quartering good enough for then? They've bought JANETTE KRANKIE back to our screens. I am livid.
Faynites - now you can all play nicely.

(Your new strapline is a tribute to Mr (Web)cameron isn't it?)
Murph - it was a response to Vicus agreeing with me that I'm a complete arse (I'm sure he was only joking ... sob ... wimper ...) but I'm sure it would be appropriate to use it in connection to Wavy Davy.
I am absolutely in favor of exposing your wonderful sense of humor to the great unwashed masses.
You deserve to be appreciated and anything that helps others and shines a little light on your scribblings is a brilliant idea.

The blogosphere may be regarded by the rw as a haven for unkept socially retarded misfits who sit around in their pyjamas all day long talking about their angst and posting pictures of their cats but the reality is that there are an astonishing number of very gifted writers making astute observations about every conceivable topic know to mankind.
I hope that you receive the recognition that you deserve for making this such an enjoyable experience...and tell geoff to look the other way for a moment while I plant one on your cheek ((MUAH!))
What's all this then? The Salon des Refuses? Ankle biting gets you nowhere in the literary world. Believe me I know.
HE - I'm upset by the fact that you're suggesting I'm NOT a socially retarded misfit sitting around in my pyjamas all day! Anyway, you can kiss me on the cheek just this once, but as Vicus and Geoff are both in the book, they'll be expecting their share too.

DH - welcome. Well, I think it's the first time you've commented here. It must seem like turning up for a dinner just after a nuclear warhead has exploded ("Hi! Make yourself at home! The dinner's nearly ready. The beef will probably be quite well done")
jeez, it's like english 'o' grade all over again

"before you start your answer, remember to go back and re-read the whole passage again seventeen times..."

first up, i think you should leave the post up

second up, i think it's disingenuous to imagine that most bloggers aren't looking for 'recognition' of some sort, even if it's just the kudos you get knowing that someone whose writing you like/admire, likes and admires YOUR writing

i was really pleased to see that some regular bloggers like you, geoff and patroclus had made it into the book

so good on ya, B - bask a little in this piece of glory, will ya?
UC - thanks, that's really nice of you. I've got to admit that finding out I was in the book was lovely even though I know it's just a one off thing. I don't want to seem like some gloating old hag and don't think having something published is the be all and end all of blogging. It's to do with communicating with other people - a lot of the time it isn't even about the quality of the writing. Is any of this making sense?
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