Monday, 2 November 2015

Other People's Blogs

I've been at this blogging lark now for seven years. I have spent a lot of that time trying to convince everyone that this is actually a column, rather than a blog but let's call an implement used for digging a spade, it's a blog. A column would be sharp and insightful and....well....profitable. In those seven years I have seen surprisingly few other blogs against which to compare my own work. Tonight, quite by accident really as I was scanning through some old comments about previous pieces (sorry, blogs), I stumbled across the very real and terrifying evil that is Other People's Blogs.

I'm not saying that this is the best blog in the world. It's riddled with as many flaws as its author (although it has never been thrown out of Martines for being a fire hazard) and can often take self-serving diatribe to a whole new level. Yet it might be the best blog written by anybody I know. Not many people I know write blogs. That's either because they are not confident enough to let the wider world (or less than 100 people a day if you are me) see their work, or because they can't be arsed to keep it updated. Others come straight out and say that they don't understand the point of writing a blog. Those people haven't got this far so I can say with complete impunity that they are uneducated botherers of small rodents. That's between me and you and the other 99 of you, ok? Back at the ranch, this is the best blog written by anybody I know but more than that it is, as blogs go, above average.

There is a whole world of awful blogs out there. Badly written, pointless bollocks that does indeed drive you to consider why someone went to the trouble of inventing blogger or wordpress or any of those other gizmos. That's what luddites call pieces of software that they don't understand, by the way. In fact, so deep is my misunderstanding of the software I use to bring you this rot that I only discovered this very day how to sift through the bad and the ugly of Other People's Blogs. On my blogger profile (which I must have completed seven years ago when I started this sentence, not this grammatical sentence, you know what I mean) are a list of things that I like. My favourite music, my favourite films, my favourite television shows, my hobbies. Alright hobby. If watching Saints while sitting perfectly still holding a £2 cup of Ty-Phoo qualifies as a hobby. This information is clickable, that is to say it is lit up in blue and if you click on it you will find a list of fellow bloggers who like that same thing or hobby. What I didn't realise when I completed the profile was that being a smart arse was not going to help me find like minded bloggers. For example, you can search the internet for as long as you like and you will not find another blogger other than me whose favourite music is 'anything that is not by Lily Allen, Rihanna or Lady Fecking Gaga'. Worse than that, blogger splits that sentence up when it conducts its search, so it believes that I am a fan of anything not by Lily Allen (true) IN ADDITION TO Rhianna and Lady Fecking Gaga (false). It makes no connection between the first part of that sentence and the last, treating all those elements separately. Clearly, only Rihanna is actually a real artist. There are no artists called 'anything not by Lily Allen' or even 'Lady Fecking Gaga', surprisingly. So if you visit my profile and you have never met me or heard my arse-achingly oft-repeated mantra about how much I hate Rihanna's music you will be led to believe that I am genuinely a fan of hers.

Similarly, describing my literary preference as 'too numerous to mention but basically anything by Nick Hornby' was a mistake. On many levels, you might argue. But principally because there is nobody out there who the software can match to that phrase. It wasn't until I came to another of my musical preferences that I actually discovered any like-minded bloggers that I could swot up on and compare myself with. However, before I managed that I was again hamstrung by my own smart-arsedness, this time using the over familiar 'Joss' rather than giving Ms Stone her full title. Which led me to a series of bloggers who all seem worryingly obsessed with Buffy The Vampire Slayer and its probably very troubled writer Joss Wheedon. One such lady writes a blog called 'Muffler Mill' which focuses exclusively on selling car exhausts! Even Jeremy Clarkson has never said anything quite that boring. You can imagine what I thought Muffler Mill was at first glance, and if you're being cynical, you can probably imagine why I clicked on it. Another took me to the work of Leah, but her work is open only to invited guests. Who the fuck is in a position to pick and choose who reads their poxy blog? Is Leah a pen name for John Fucking Grisham? Almost all of the other 'Joss' enthusiasts write their blog in a language which cannot in any way be described as English. And I don't mean bad grammar or exasperated use of potty-mouthery which is fast becoming my forte, I mean Portuguese or French.

I made the same mistake with Robbie Williams. Who hasn't made a mistake with Robbie Williams, by the way? I referred to him by his first name in my profile which brought up such literary classics as Krafty Kows, a blog about arts and crafts that would make your eyes bleed, Fairy Thoughts which appears to be attempting to flog jewellery and the work of Viking Longship, who writes about how Goodish modern life might be in rural Norway! Meanwhile a preference for Star Wars movies will lead you to the tome of Alan Scott. He sounds sensible, his subject matter of science fiction and writing seems much more up my street. And then he drops the bombshell on you. His blog is entirely blank. He has gone to the trouble of framing the page with a lovely image of stacked bookshelves in a library, conjuring up a world of exploration of adventure and intrigue. But he has obviously hit upon a problem with the words. I'm being a little harsh on Alan because he does have two blogs on the go. His second effort is much more wordy, to be fair, but is still held back by an alarming lack of any evidence of any vague interest in science fiction or Star Wars.

I stand by my claim that this blog is above average. If I ever learn to put pictures and links on here..........

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