Thursday 23 May 2019

Huzzah for Ian’s Shoelaces - or why I write this blog

Could it be possible that, in writing this blog, I'm already a throwback to a (not)long-passed way of life, a sort of digital bodger, treddling his way to another saucepan handle or chair leg?  That, in a matter of less than a decade, we’ve lost a way of life that we’d barely gotten used to?

Let me explain by quoting the ever excellent India Knight from her Sunday Times Magazine column earlier this year.  She, no doubt, isn’t the first to express these thoughts, but it was the first time that I felt a finger had been put on one of things ailing humanity.  Although it’s probably a long way behind poverty, starvation and cruelty, of course.

"I used to love wasting time on the internet.  I'd start off by reading a load of blogs I subscribed to, and these in turn would send me off to all sorts of other blogs and random links, and in all sorts of unpredictable directions...  The internet used to feel like an indefinite street of interesting, sometimes wildly eccentric, little independent shops.  Now it feels like a moribund clone-town high street - and half of it shut."

And that’s what this blog is.  A little independent shop with a slightly greying, podgy man behind the counter, waiting for the first customer of the day before he’ll allow himself lunch, wondering whether it’s worth it.  Whatever ‘it’ is in this instance.  A blog, not a tweet.  A thinkpiece, not a slogan.  

"I don't blame the bloggers for not blogging any more and tweeting instead... [but] what I miss is the feeling of walking about in someone else's world.  I find it less interesting to explore their snippets  - and, anyway, the hunger for things to go viral means the snippets are often contrived.  I also miss the communities that blogs used to create, none of which gave the sense that they were all foaming at the mouth."

I do occasionally wander on to Twitter but, to be honest, I’ve shyed away from tweeting for fear that my very British sense of humour may be lost in translation if the world was allowed to see my thoughts at the touch of a button.  And I did, briefly, monetise this blog, but removed the adverts as it wasn’t really what I wanted.

I’m well aware of the audience this blog generates, delighted that a few hardy souls from Israel to Ukraine stumble across it, but I write it for me as much as you.  And I’m not sure I totally agree with India Knight.  There are plenty of soundbites out there looking to go viral, but the eccentric blogs, like Ian’s Shoelaces haven’t been killed off.  Maybe you need to hunt a bit harder for them, ignore the clickbait and the echo chamber of social media, but we’re still here.  

After all, Ancient Rome had graffiti as well as great works of literature.  One didn’t kill off the other.  ‘Twas ever thus, and ever will be.

Saturday 11 May 2019

Who’s foolish now?

A story with a happy ending.  Following my wonderings whether I had a cursed story on my hands, resulting in a Mexican standoff that, admittedly, only I was aware of, probably because I’d exaggerated for comic effect, ‘The Fool’, an off-world tale of a man who once placed second in Mister New Mexico, has been published by New Accelerator.  Go on, you know you want to...