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Monday, 12 April 2004

Oh how I love a spiracy of a bank holiday
late afternoon

Mood:  mischievious
Topic: Vic Jameson

I wanted to post this as a comment in the Book Club Blog, home of the most well researched who-is-BdJ-'spiracy about, but the daemonic java pop ups will not let a heathen pass, so I'll put it here.

Reading the Cardigan archives, (an early progenitor of the brilliant Dean Allen's Textism blog), I was struck by how muchly Belle de Jour in her heyday reads as if she ticked off the categories on this cliche list, written way back in the dawning of a new century, 2001:

* * *
Everyone feels uncertainty about major decisions made in the course of his or her life. Is your book a lengthy exercise in self-reassurance and rationalization?

Is your book a resume of your cultural tastes, and/or desirability to potential sexual partners?

Are the sex scenes there for no other reason than that it was fun to write them?

Was the book written to aggravate someone who once rejected you, or spurned your advances?

Is there an alarming frequency of social situations, such as at bars, parties or media events?

Are we introduced to your characters only by that which they consume, by their jobs, their hobbies, their hipness?

Is the protagonist plainly and transparently you?
* * *
If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, by all means consider undertaking a career in the exciting and fast-paced world of online marketing.

All of which points away from the Lisa Hilton theory, nuh?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:16 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 12 April 2004 7:31 PM BST
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Monday, 12 April 2004 - 8:54 PM BST

Name: Alana
Home Page:

The joy of knowing I'll never get one @#%$! award for my writing, but end up becoming some sort of icon/brilliant genius the second I @#%$! die. I simultaneously want to spit in the @#%$! faces of any author who's ever been featured in Oprah's bookclub and choke on my own hysterical laughter when confronted with their 'racism / drugs / rape / abuse / being poor / bored middle-aged housewife is SOOOOOO bad' masterpieces.

Monday, 12 April 2004 - 9:33 PM BST

Name: Vanessa

Spit and be dead at the same time?

Monday, 12 April 2004 - 10:13 PM BST

Name: Nick
Home Page:

Hmmm. I just posted a very long message and its disappeared! How come? Is your comment box getting me back for whatever happened to you when you couldn't get my box to work? Is it a day for people struggling to work boxes properly?

Monday, 12 April 2004 - 10:31 PM BST

Name: Nick
Home Page:

Ofcourse, it worked that time. Typical.

Well from what I can remember, I was asking why you thought the checklist ruled out Lisa. Is it that Belle isn't a good enough writer? Is it that Lisa has written a first novel already? I wasn't sure I got the whole point.

I wish I hadn't lost my original piece! Damnation! I wanted to wish you a belated Happy Easter, and thank you for your readership and interest in Belle when all around seem to be losing theirs.

Also, I was saying that Belle's literary agent has told me that they have never heard of anyone called Lisa Hilton. That The Times has told me they are positive Belle is Sarah Champion? That acquaintances of Lisa have told me they think its her - but that they haven't had it confirmed. That I'm surprised The Sun has no interest in at all - probably because they just don't do books or written matter - even if it is by high-class escorts. That Max Clifford is only interested in established celebs and has his hands full at the mo with the Becks-Sex-Texts nonsense and no doubt the impending legal fall-out. That I have taken the Belle de Jour thing seriously as a climactic zeitgeist expression of high-end-chick-lit/blog-fiction/post-modern-libertarian-feminism only for the newspapers to go suspiciously quiet, bloggers to become bored/jealous/resentful/apathetic, and Belle herself to stop even sodding posting anything - leaving me an expert on something that no-one wants to talk about anymore. Thems the breaks huh! Anyway, I just wanted to say that your interest is greatly appreciated under the circumstances, and that I love your blog - even if I'm a little perplexed about what or who I think YOU really ARE. But then I think in the world of blogging, identity is far more ambiguous and unboundable than elsewhere for everyone. Blog on, and keep 'em peeled. Nick

Monday, 12 April 2004 - 11:06 PM BST

Name: Vanessa

Yes, it was that she's already written a novel.

And thanks for being the only person to ever wonder who (what?!) I am...!

Monday, 12 April 2004 - 11:08 PM BST

Name: Vanessa

Sorry, Nick, it automatically previews, and most people don't realise, then click away from the screen before sending. It annoys everyone.
In fact, this is going to be the last time I apologise for it, as it's beyond my control. The Comtesse of Somewhere runs the comments boxes and she demands that we rethink our words till we're sure.
From this day forth, anyone who loses a comment (other than me, natch) will be known to have lost ten points in the evolutionary process. :)

Tuesday, 13 April 2004 - 12:10 AM BST

Name: Nick
Home Page:

Well she hasn't written a novel as far as I'm aware - correct me if I'm wrong. Her first book: "The Real Queen of France: Athenais and Louis XIV" (published, December 1, 2002, by Little Brown and Company) was a biography. Her upcoming second book is also a biography: "Mistress Peachum's Pleasure: A Biography of Lavinia, Duchess of Bolton" (to be published, March 10, 2005, by Weidenfeld & Nicholson). Intriguingly, "Belle De Jour: Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl" by Anonymous ?!*!! (is set to be published December 31, 2004, also by Lisa's new publiser Weidenfeld & Nicholson). Which begs the question, how can Belle's agent having secured her a publishing deal with Weidenfeld & Nicholson claim to have failed to have ever heard of Lisa Hilton when she is on their books writing about mistresses? I always thought that publishing was a pretty incestuous close knit little world where everyone knows everyone else. Moreover, the rest of Hilton's output consists of journalistic reflections on contemporary sexual mores and behaviour - that smacks of someone well versed in the territory that Belle's writing inhabits. Furthermore, the amazon reviews for "Athenais" applaud or criticise it for being "A biography that reads like a novel." What is Belle de Jour if it is not "A biography that reads like a novel." Hence my decision that all this adds up to game set and match. Plus some correspondence with acquaintances of Lisa who vouch for her speaking exactly like Belle in real life, and the absence of any comment from her anywhere when this is her specialist subject. I can only imagine that The Times, Standard, Guardian, Independent, and Telegraph are all in their own ways in on the marketing strategy of the agent/publishers to stage the ultimate blog/literary publishing sensation of the year and ultimately stand to benefit in some way from the generation of a big story when the time is right. If this is the case then I truly despair of the media once and for all. The clincher is perhaps that I have detailed all of this in great detail on my blog and so far failed to elicit the slightest denial from anyone. Convinced now?

Tuesday, 13 April 2004 - 1:09 AM BST

Name: Vanessa

My mistake; not a novel, a biography. :) But not a beginner.
Perhaps actually the entire blog output of the net (well, the godforsaken post SATC dating blogs, for sure) would also fall foul of the cliche list above.
I could ask any of the writer's agents I know, but I also know full well that if it is her, then I won't get that answer, anyway, and past experience has told me it's not profitable to push it ...
I think you may be onto something with the media hunch. A first dibs interview deal sounds below the belt, but nothing frankly is beyond the gutter broadsheets. Who knows about Ms Hilton herself; it's not improbable, for sure. Which is enough for me. As I said, I love a 'spiracy.
BTW: Is there anything in your theory that would explain how crap BdJ has become of late? The blog looks more than abandoned.

Tuesday, 13 April 2004 - 9:53 AM BST

Name: Nick
Home Page:

What does your reference to it not being profitable to push it imply? As regards Belle's blog - that is the greatest sadness of all this - a regularly updated piece of interesting and well written prose has seemingly been sacrificed so that she can work on the book - she did say that posts would become more infrequent but that she would not forget her writers. Otherwise, maybe her other business is booming or she's taken a break to escape the media hounds or spend some of the advance. I am on the brink of reverting to accepting that Belle is Belle and not Lisa anyway - because its far more fun that way - and hey, that's what was so beguiling about dear old Belle in the first place - imagining.... Its a little like when the movies of your favourite books get made - they never have the characters looking or behaving quite as you'd imagined - and in all but the very rare instances - they cannot help but fall short of expectations. Regards my pop-up comments - the tedium of technical hiccups is not the best way to start the week on a Tuesday! I'll try and sort if out - your whole interface seems very usable now that I'm over the initial haha :)

Tuesday, 13 April 2004 - 3:47 PM BST

Name: Vanessa

Not profitable in the sense that any agent worth their salt would lie if pushed.
Good luck with the comments!

Tuesday, 13 April 2004 - 6:46 PM BST

Name: Kat
Home Page:

I've only read Belle's site a few times and when I have, I've really enjoyed it so good for her and her book deal.

As far as Nick's comment about her (Lisa's) friends claiming she speaks just like she writes (if she is Belle): I wouldn't put a lot of stock in that. I do not speak like I write at all. Vanessa, I know you've heard some of the audio files. I sound hickish, I use a lot of slang and southern expressions when I talk. When I'm writing, not so much.

Tuesday, 13 April 2004 - 10:07 PM BST

Name: Vanessa

Yeah, I used to really enjoy her writing; though not so much of late.
I know nothing of your voice beyond that it's luxe, Kat. That's the only word that fits. Lovely!

Saturday, 17 April 2004 - 8:25 AM BST

Name: Lux
Home Page:

Perhaps actually the entire blog output of the net (well, the godforsaken post SATC dating blogs, for sure) would also fall foul of the cliche list above.


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