That Bandwagon that was rolling by a while ago...
Now Playing: the chitter chatter of internet munnikeys chimping their wares
Topic: Vic Jameson
Sometimes the story just won't die ...
"Formerly viewed as a marginal activity restricted to the technically savvy, blogging is slowly becoming more of a mainstream phenomenon on the Internet. Thanks to much media hype and some high profile blog sites, these online journals have captured the public?s imagination. As novice authors plunge into the thrilling world of blog publishing, they soon realize that publicly writing about one?s life and interests is not as simple as it might seem at first. As they become prolific writers, more bloggers find themselves having to deal with issues of privacy and liability. Accounts of bloggers either hurting friends? feelings or losing jobs because of materials published on their sites are becoming more frequent.MORE
"Here we report the findings from an online survey conducted between January 14th and January 21st, 2004. During that time, 486 respondents answered questions about their blogging practices and their expectations of privacy and accountability for the entries they publish online:
- the great majority of bloggers identify themselves on their sites: 55% of respondents provide their real names on their blogs; another 20% provide some variant of the real name (first name only, first name and initial of surname, a pseudonym friends would know, etc.)
- 76% of bloggers do not limit access (i.e. readership) to their entries in any way
- 36% of respondents have gotten in trouble because of things they have written on their blogs
- 34% of respondents know other bloggers who have gotten in trouble with family and friends
- 12% of respondents know other bloggers who have gotten in legal or professional problems because of things they wrote on their blogs
- when blogging about people they know personally: 66% of respondents almost never asked permission to do so; whereas, only 9% said they never blogged about people they knew personally.
- 83% of respondents characterized their entries as personal ramblings whereas 20% said they mostly publish lists of useful/interesting links (respondents could check multiple options for this answer). This indicates that the nature of blogs might be changing from being mostly lists of links to becoming sites that contain more personal stories and commentaries.
- the frequency with which a blogger writes highly personal things is positively and significantly correlated to how often they get in trouble because of their postings; (r = 0.3, p < 0.01); generally speaking, people have gotten in trouble both with friends and family as well as employers.
- there is no correlation between how often a blogger writes about highly personal things and how concerned they are about the 'persistence' [ie, longevity when cached online] of their entries
- checking one?s access log files isn?t correlated to how well a blogger feels they know their audience
- despite believing that they are liable for what they publish online (58% of respondents believed they were highly liable), in general, bloggers do not believe people could sue them for what they have written on their blogs.
"The findings in this survey suggest that blogging is a world in flux where social norms are starting to flourish. For instance, many bloggers reveal the names of companies and products when they blog about them, except when they write about a company for which they currently work or have worked in the past. More bloggers are becoming sensitive about revealing the full names of friends on postings as well. But for all of the careful publishing guidelines that are starting to evolve, bloggers still do not feel like they know their audience. For the most part, they have no control over who reads their postings. The study also shows that bloggers usually have some idea of their ?core? audience (readers who post comments on the site) without really knowing who the rest of their readers are ? in many cases, this latter group makes up the majority of their readers.
When confronted with questions of defamation and legal liability, respondents in this survey paint a conflicting picture. In general, they believe that they are liable for what they publish online. However, bloggers in this study were not concerned about the 'persistent' nature of what they publish ? which tends to be a major aspect of liability ? nor did they believe someone would sue them for things they had written on their blogs. Moreover, 75% of respondents said they have edited the contents of their entries in the past. Even though most respondents explained that they usually edit typos and grammatical errors, 35% of respondents said they had edited for content as well: entries they decided were too personal, entries they thought were ?mean?, some respondents mentioned having gone back to entries to obfuscate names of people. These results reveal a certain naivete in how most bloggers view 'persistence' and how it can operate in networked environments such as the net, where information is being constantly cached. As blogs become more pervasive and their audiences grow, the ever-'persistent' nature of entries and the direct link to defamation and liability are likely to become even more of a burning issue."
I got me a post-it note from my own secret poison pen stronghold, and left a fairly terse message on the miscreant's own grimy windscreen. Something along the lines of 'I don't see a fucking sign, do you?' and 'Learn some fucking manners' (particularly proud of the oxymoron there).
Oh how I prayed the anonymous note writer would go further. I wanted a show down. A full blooded barney at dawn. I was quite happy to go toe to toe and twat the owner of the grimy grey shitmobile. Preferably police called.
Dammit, I have nine months of untapped dead-relationship rage inside me, I wanted to rip my fingernails along someone's face.
No joy - the reply disappeared, grey grubby shitmobile hogged the space possessively, and eventually the opportunistic rage subsided into a mere burst of 'and another fucking thing' rantation if I was having a grim day.
I don't think I've particularly wound my neighbours, so far. I play the radio pretty loud in the bathroom once a day, but it's Radio 4, it's hardly eardrum shattering. My bogus landlady had told me her old schoolfriend, Pilchard, lived upstairs, and had a cat. Poor bloke looked freaked when he walked towards the stairs with some cat litter and a strange woman in a pink fluffy hat yelled 'you're Pilchard, aren't you?'
But aside from my usual slight stalkerish tendencies, nothing to suggest I was a newly planted sociopath in their midst.
Polite beyond the broadest definition, I tried to avoid a meeting with Mrs Opposite this week - Bogus had told me she was an old dear - slightly deaf, and extremely quiet. On Monday, I could hear Mrs Opposite across the hallway slamming her door to run in and out of the flat. This is London, I don't want anything more than frosty civility towards neighbours - so I decided to wait a moment before charging out to begin my two mile morning constitutional.
The coast seemed clear, but as I stumbled towards the hall light, I nearly broke my ankle on some grey dusty car cleaning materials in a grey dusty bucket. So that's what the crashing and slamming had been in aid of. Early morning car wash.
The horror - the palpable gut lurching horror - as I emerged from the front door directly in the path of the mystery note writer's grimy grey shitmobile. As Mrs Opposite looked up from her grubby bucket seat behind the steering wheel.
Me heap big Sarf Lahnnun hard woman, eh? I did my Moron's Best shiteating grin, limply waved hello, and scampered.
Creepy Lesbo has come up against the obstacle of friend's objections to her blog, and is inviting ideas about what to do. I say, up sticks, shut the blog down, start a new one - new links, new pseudonyms, new everything. We'll all find it eventually, Creepy. You don't belong to blogspot, you don't belong to your readers, and you don't need to be held hostage to someone else's sense of propriety.
I dunno, I just can't imagine William Burroughs shooting his wife in the face, and his mother saying "you're not going to put that in your damn
Creepy's writing is honest, and it's good because it's excoriatingly honest. Painfully, brutally honest. She reminds me of Dickens in a weird way, because I hang on waiting for the next instalment to slice up another part of lesbian life, lance another pompous fart's asinine self-serving behaviour, dissect it and boil it in acid flavoured blog-jelly for me to read about.
Nobody could sit and knowingly be a topic for unforgiving focus like that. So I say move it. If she's censoring herself, she'd be censoring more than just a few words. She'd be censoring the writing, the unburdening, and the talent that keeps improving every time she publishes another instalment.
If you have two hours of sleep over a three day period, then you see a grey lady walking through the kitchen at the corner of your vision, sudden holographic large spiders scuttly up walls, and even indoors, it looks like a fine rain is falling.
Last Thursday, someone at work puked in technicolour down a stairwell, mananging to splatter three flights of stairs, vertically. I was the most senior person onsite, so of course I did the senior thing, and walked away, pretending not to have noticed the streaming puke shower behind me.
Yesterday I was sat researching something on the office pc at work when I fell off the chair. The whole thing tipped on its side.
There was nothing wrong with the chair. Some subconscious part of me simply decided to sink in a south westerly direction, and take the comfy wheelie chair with me.
I just about managed to quell a fit of sheer, futile pointless fury on Monday morning, on the grounds that it was stupid. Somehow I became incensed that most British blogs I've read this weekend (excepting four bloggers whom I've already thanked) didn't bother to abate their tales of deoderant and how supercilious they were when they went to Sheffield for even one millisecond to mention what happened in Madrid.
I swear, I was shaking with pent up rage about it - I was all set to delete every link apart from the four who mentioned there'd been a terrorist massacre, like, next door.
Dunno where that came from. I can't surely have pre- mid- post- and inter- menstrual
ferociousness tension, can I?
When I don't sleep, my stomach bulges into this perfectly round, protruding pot belly very rapidly, until I do. I've been patting it and feeding it Snickers all day. Seriously, today I had to wear an old oversized gap skirt of Tybalt's, because not one single pair of jeans or trousers I owned (in a wide range of sizes!) would close over the pot. Me! In a skirt! With a bowling ball belly! What larks, Pip, what larks.
If I hide my sock drawer in the hallway, and sit in the space, I can pretend I have a very low very uncomfortable desk, and imagine the pain in my legs is because I'm not used to Japanese furniture.
I'm trying to resist the impulse to take my walkman on the morning / afternoon walk to and from work. It's not like the deep throaty rowrrr of traffic is particularly precious to me. I just want to hold off the wealthy isolation that music affords me as long as possible. This morning, not having a walkman as I walked to the area office, unsure of my way and stumbling slightly to make my deadlines, I heard:
A loon-grinned pretty older woman asking me if I'd like to share a tract about Jesus.
The morning chorus being shattered by a particularly resonant and hoarsely grouching crow.
My footsteps, which made me look at the mist hanging aroung the fountain in Mayow Park as I passed it.
The sound of a street sweeper on almost every single street corner of Lewisham. Come on, Mister Mayor, you blobby self congratulatory tosser (I met him last week, this is true) - six street sweepers in one mile of quiet side streets is more than entropy. No-one could chuck out empty crisp packets fast enough to keep them all employed, surely?
The three or four pairs of small boys wrestling.
It's obscene to have so much energy as small boys do.
The office workers who are quietly, insanely singing to themselves. But not quite quietly enough. I like to think of them as nascent Jeffrey Dahmers - I imagine that the tedium of their cubicle-centric environments have unhinged them six years ago, and today is the day they'll allow the other staff to notice; the day of becoming - of taking back their stapler and burning down the building.
(Well, you have to have some way of feeling superior of a morning.)
Someone in my building lobs half a loaf of mouldy bread into the communal garden outside my window every day, and I get to sit and watch Cyril and five wood pigeons (my most hated feathered foe) fight for it.
Back on the coldest night of February, I ordered a large mink blanket (fake fur, though) online, to curb the shivers. It still hasn't arrived, and now every day I walk past the nasty nylon cyan navy and turquoise spattered fleece throws labelled "MINK!" in their plastic carry cases in the fifty pee shop window, and shiver a little inside.
Therefore, in no particular order, and tending to no particular style, geography being the only defining component, the news from Spain:
Puerta del Sol Blog
A Fistful of Euros
Tim Blair hosted english versions of guest blogs from the authors of Hispa Libertas
The Fruitman Chronicles
Living in Europe
I've got to circumvent the navelgazing, though to point out my context: that right now, I'm plagued by repeated nightmares. They work about at about a 60:40 ratio of 'I hate Tybalt with every fibre of my being' to 'I hate blogging'. The latter species have me waking up yelling in shock (although still prefereable to the quiet unerring antipathy of the former.) My morning coffee is regularly interrupted by a dizzying surprise at my strength of negative emotion about both.
Derby says that dreams and nightmares are a safe environment in which to work out and process unsafe emotions. She thinks they're about expelling ideas and feelings, in order to create a space, into which new experiences and people can move. A contained environment to co-ordinate your most feared responses to uncontained things.
Funny, that's what I would have thought the blog was. Apparently not.
My first (and best) degree subject was Literature, and I - like most people - enjoy reading the subtext of any written or spoken communication. I have to practise this anyway at work, and to exacerbate this, I'm not that good at going with my instincts in real life situations, so I guess I've over developed my tendency to do it with the written word.
It's difficult, when reading blogs, not to provide an imaginary face behind the html, or to pad things out with a few hidden truths that read against the dominant narrative.
The blogs that have put the willies up me lately (to whom I don't and am not going to link), are the ones where it's not so hard to read between the lines.
The ones where you find yourself trying not to see a human torn up in the struggle to avoid realising his behaviour is selfish and nasty to others. (I mean, really, can I blame them? Who ever blogs an argument and paints themselves honestly in the wrong?)
The ones where all the commenting and and cliquey patronage reveal a desire to be more important and worthy than the blogger fears they actually are.
I know these people do want feedback, because they invite comments. Somehow I also know they don't want brutal feedback, or honest-but-unfriendly comments. They've laid bare what they like to think of as their soul on the screen - if a more realistic, warts and all portrait of themselves at the same time flows into the margins, well; they don't want you 'trolling' by pointing out that the emperor has no clothes, and his liposuction scars are getting ropey.
Jesus, I wouldn't want it.
It's an obvious truism that everyone feels a social pressure to maintain a facade - the man slitting his own throat even as he calls for help - but can I maintain a convincing facade? Would I even want to? And that's what today's rather badly written, badly thought out, crappy post is about. If I can see these other blogs and be fairly sure that their owners are lying through their happy-go-lucky teeth about who they are - then what unpalatable truths can people read here about me?
And the scariest thing is that I'm pretty sure I know what they read. They read the interior narrative of someone absolutely unutterably neverendingly fascinated with herself.
That's the bit that I find shameful. And that's the bit I don't like about my blog.
"The outpouring of sympathy didn't wait for names: it was for somebody's son, somebody's daughter, somebody's wife or mother, husband or father. The very anonymity underlined the simplicity of this kind of human solidarity; it was enough that lives were lost. Whose lives they were will come later. It seemed so quintessentially Spanish; the country of the paseo, the promenade, has an instinctively social culture, and its faith in public solidarity has proved vibrant at the very point of most threat. Fear of more attacks could have forced the Spanish off the streets, could have scared them into their homes. Instead, with a remarkable defiance of the terrorists who deliberately targeted the crowded commuter trains, the crowds refused to be cowed.
"Cities have become our battlegrounds; where once they were places of safety to which countryfolk retreated in times of war, they are now where the war is conducted. After 3/11 every citizen of a western European city, of Paris, Rome, Berlin or London, nervously enters the packed tube, the busy commuter train or the high-rise office block. Fear could empty the city and cauterise the mass transit systems that are its lifeblood. One is haunted by an image of shut-down tube stations, of empty streets where weeds break up the Tarmac and everyone retreats home to their laptops, and we look back on the conviviality of the era before mass terrorism with nostalgic disbelief.
"What's at stake is a long history of the city, that exchange point for trade and ideas that has been the crux of all civilisations. The city orders how large numbers of human beings live in close proximity. In so doing, it civilises and turns strangers into citizens who belong to a civil society in which they treat each other with (more or less) civility. All these words have the same Latin root, civitas.
"What the demonstrations in Spain remind us is that civility - the measure of goodwill from one stranger to another - is ultimately what makes a city's spirit. It is the accumulation of tiny, daily interactions with bus conductors, fellow commuters, newspaper sellers and coffee-shop waitresses - the humour, the greetings, the gestures of help." ~ Comment
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In fact the utter redundancy of turning up at my Friday office to work at that ungodly, criminal hour was emphasised when I ran into an ex-client on the way in. She cast a shadowed bruised looking lid over me and said: 'I have personal issues at the moment. That's why I'm here early today, and why I've been staying so late. I'd rather be here than home right now. So what's your problem?'
It's a little embarrassing to just say 'procrastination' faced with a dramatic intro like that.
Every time I listen to my self breathe, or watch my chest rising and falling, I'm hypnotised again, and halfway there, into another realm where I don't have the slightest hope of control over things like lifting my neck, co-ordinating my fingers to type in sequence, plain old looking forward. Eyes closing ... blink. Blink blink.
So instead of me wanking on about something pointless, I'm going to quote an email from Tris, about this outrage. Tristan, as well as being a generally all round great bloke, is part Spanish, and was replying to Looby's question: Al-Quaeda or ETA?
It's the Spanish general election this Sunday, with the horrible ruling conservative PP party currently just only about a percentage point ahead in the polls, as opposed to 6 or 7 percent last week.
I imagine therefore that it is ETA, although I don't think anyone's claimed responsibility yet.
As you may know, the Spanish government recently closed down the Basque language newspapers which was read by many Basque people, because ETA used it to announce stuff.
I know that occasionally the newspaper was a mouthpiece for ETA but this was because ETA came to them, they are reporters reporting the news, and the paper carried all sorts of news.
This decision outraged many people. It would be like the Irish government closing down "An phoeblacht/Republican News" or the Saudis closing down "Al Jazeera" because the IRA and Al-Qaeda, repectively, used it for announcing stuff. The Spanish government also outlawed Herri Batasuna, the alleged political wing of ETA (which, to make analogies, would be as outrageous as the British government outlawing Sinn Fein) and closed down their offices, nicked their computers, etc.
This outraged people as it smacked of the old Franco days when people were not even allowed to speak non-Spanish languages in Spain, let alone have newspapers written in it.
The bomb attacks, if they are ETA, are very very stupid and horrible, set off by lamebrains. If it is ETA then, this may be a backlash of the recent right-wing PP attacks on their freedom. But to do these attacks three days before a General Election, with the conservatives looking like they may lose power (a couple of polls even had the socialists slightly ahead!) then this is surely one of the most classic cases of Schadenfreude or however the feck it's spelt.
This will push the vote back towards the hardline PP. Had PSOE got in, I dare say that they would have not been as anti-Basque. Idiots.
That is, of course, if it IS ETA. The government is saying it's ETA. Which is of course what the government would like the Spanish to think.
If it is Al-Qaeda, and if the Spanish government know it is and are saying it's ETA (hey I'm a wannabe screenwriter I'm allowed to think laterally) then this would be a major scandal. As an Al-Qaeda attack like this would mean that PP would almost definitely lose the election, as 91% of Spaniards were against the Iraq war in the first place. They believe that the Spanish government have made Spain more vulnerable by sticking their noses in where we're not needed, and by supporting a phoney war against a country that was no threat to us.
I dare say that until it's confirmed it's ETA, we won't know. And if it's the government confirming it's ETA, well.....!
Why does what we 'identify' as have such an impact on the kinds of spaces we make available on the scene? Isn't 'gay' a broad enough genus to allow for some individualism?
And why the clothing rules? What's wrong with long hair, with skirts or heels? Okay, so it's covertly enforced, but you try getting a snog if you don't fit the mould in these places. What's so threatening about looking different?
Do we even know what kind of a scene we actually want, anyway?
Is it that different from any straight singles scene? Why - this is years down the line - why isn't there any more choice?
Opinions solicited. Seriously.
Which leads me to a bit of an advert for audio-blogs.
If you've never heard me ooohing and ahhhing the comments about Kat's voice, you should listen to this. I love listening to blogger's voices - somehow it makes them seem farther away to be smacked in the face with their foreign accents.
And criminy, do they sound foreign. You forget how the internet disguises and homogenises our differences. And how the blogs you read are written by real, cute, complex, demanding people.
I mean, who knew Bitter Little Man would talk like he writes? Or that Fridge Magnet sounds quite normal, really, despite the predilection for penguins? Or that Ryan's voice is as cute as his photos?
The Hard Artist's audio posts are legendary in my single occupancy basement flat in Penge. Mind you, if you want a sheer testosterone injection, no-one can beat the Grand Ennui. He sounds like I imagine Jack Nicholson kisses. Or Beaker. One of those guys. But enough about my strange predilection for mature men.
Sigh. I love audio posts. I have to make do with my imagination for all the northern lesbian bloggers out there, although I have spoken to lemonpillows by phone (conversation ran along the lines of: "tee hee, you have an accent, tee hee hee", but I blame the champagne.)
As per usual, I've fantasised wildly about what Eurotrash and SarahSpace's accents are like. If I had decent blog software, I could do one. As it is, if you have a broadband connection, because it's huge, you'll be forced to make do with a crappy video of me wandering round the house talking to myself.
I sound dead common, me. Like a fishwife. Nothing like a Sarf East Lahndaner. Honest.
God, what a ramble this post turned into. I apologise for the dreadful quality of posts over the last week while I've been procrastinating wildly.
Here, have some quality. Here's a line that made me think found on Alyssa's site:
Epicurus posed this question of religion two thousand years ago: If God is willing to prevent evil but cannot, he is not omnipotent. If able but not willing, he is malevolent. If neither able nor willing to prevent evil "then why call him God?"
But there are all my prejudices about gay culture to address before I can work up the guts to get out there. I have to deal with my snobbery, and balance it against my tedium.
Most gay culture, I could take or leave it. Well to be precise, I could leave it. Tybalt says I'd be a classic homophobe but for the accident of genetics that made me actually gay myself. I really couldn't care less about butching up, coking up, hanging around with short fat women in dirty bars because the lesbian pound can't afford to run any decent dives, or inflicting horrific injuries on myself on Stoke Newington footie pitches every Sunday just because all those baby dykes grew up isolated or bullied without a sense of community or shared purpose. There are far more differences of class, education, lifestyle, preoccupations and - well, enthusiasm between me and most gay women I meet than any accident of gender programming that says 'hey, we're both gay!' will resolve.
I mean, I'm not boring, I'm not going to go to gay theatre, throw myself into relentless pursuit of Martina, or stand around at dyke detective novel book signings, credit me with some taste. I've tried going to the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, but frankly, I've never gotten beyond martinis at the lobby bar to actually see a film.
And all those groundbreakingly gay artistic endeavours? 'Shopping and Fucking', 'Beautiful Thing', 'Bound', 'But I'm a Cheerleader'? Well, they were shit. Just because they're gay I'm supposed to not know they were shit? Suddenly? Fuck that.
But then there's the realisation that my safe, supercilious disrespect of anything gay isn't actually helping. Truth be told, is a pretty obvious safety catch.
So, fine line to tread. Between my snobbery and my fear, and the rocket under my arse that I unfortunately know it usually takes to change ingrained things.
I did make the right noises. Come NYE, I committed myself to some arrangements, with dykes I knew vaguely, or in some cases barely at all. First I agreed to sign up for a lesbian book club, thinking: it's in a quieter bar, one of the few that I like, I know the owner, and feel comfortable there - and okay, something for me to focus on, I can use my brains to deflect them from noticing that I'm not drunk. Only problem is remembering not to talk too much.
(Hey, it so turns out that I'm the world's only book club stalker - I infiltrate and go undercover to every book club within a ten mile radius - I'll do anything it takes to find out what book you're reading, but I'll never attend your damn saddo craptacular loser book club, right? Reading, fine. What, socialising? Nyeh.)
Dyke nights out I have turned down so far this year: the lesbian book club - twice. The house party. The evening touring east end bars. The charity wine tasting. The thai meal. The country walk.
I had an excuse for all of them, you know.
The east end bars - well it just exploded, and then everyone invited friends of friends of friends, and then there were fifty lesbians coming, and I only knew one of them, Toto, and not that well at that, and I wound her up by drunkenly texting her at four in the morning when I was upset about Tybalt once, even though, damn, she's not well, she's got way worse problems than anything I can whinge about. So that was a real reason not to turn up, and anyway, Toto didn't even notice I didn't show.
The dyke house party - this cool journalist woman I had dinner with last summer invited me, forgot she had, found the blog, mailed me and invited me again - why didn't I go to that? Well, god, I fancied the hostess, Taj, and she was the hostess, right, she woulda been busy. So that woulda meant I knew, um, let me see, nobody else there. Nah. Another no show.
The lesbian book club: well I missed three of those, but at least my old book club stalking form meant I read the books. It was just when I decided to move out - calendar left in the old place, with the computer, with the dates on, busy trying to build a bed in the new place and so on. Clean forgot.
Then two weeks ago, an old old friend, Minsk, emailed me out of the blue. Invited me to a charity lesbian wine tasting.
Why does that sound so filthy dirty? A lesbian wine tasting?
I'd know Minsk, whom I haven't seen in maybe three years, I'd know her girlfriend, Jude, the people there would be nice, normal ... there's a high incidence of mental disturbance amongst lezzers, you've no idea how weird these things can get.
And then I was tired, I had no money, certainly not enough money to pay for wine I wouldn't drink, then the charity donation after that, and it was in North London, on a week night, and ... and ... I didn't go.
Oh yeah, there's plenty of excuses.
The country walk is on the day I'm s'posed to sort out solicitor's stuff with Tybalt. The thai meal is the day after my replacement bank cards have failed to come through, so there's no cash to get there, or to pay for the meal, and if I didn't pull out with twenty four hours to spare, the organiser would be out by twenty knicker, and besides the only woman I would have known there, the one I fancied, the one I went to the opera with, she's got herself a girlfriend, and then she decided not to come anyway, and then it exploded as usual, and forty people were suddenly going ... and ... if I didn't ... if I .... if .... if ...
You know, though, anyway, what the fuck? I never met any decent mates on the scene.
So what do I do? All the dykes I know are in couples. Last weekend I felt shit and I felt cold, and I made up for it by buying some blue paint, and some blue bath oil and some blue explosive stuff, turned myself into a gigantic smurf and sitting in a lukewarm tub of Malice's Blue Pee while it snapped, crackled and popped. (Yes, there are photographs. No, you can't see them. This site gets enough damn hits for Va..ne..sa Bl..ue as it is.)
What do I do with the next forty years of my life if I'm too nervous to go out on the scene? Do I paint myself blue every weekend? Out of boredom?
Do I join some perverse online blue-painting sub sect of gay smurf fantasists that hold meetings? Where I won't fit in because I don't know many people, and I don't drink, and I feel uncomfortable with the blue-paint drug use? Pffft.
When did I become scared of dykes? Come to that: when did I become scared?
You know, I've been trying to think of an English equivalent of a particular Americanism today. Suck it up. I don't think there is one.
You ring in sick to work, leave a message, and they ring you back to ask if you were actually speaking in English or notFootnote:
When yidaho MSN's you, you refuse to believe it's actually her, and demand she text proof of her identity before you'll reply
You dream that peachykeenyboy has sent you to organise a work team bonding outward boundey thingy at the North Pole
Every time you speak it turns into a whinge
The phone rings next to your bed and it seems too far away to pick it up
Your hair is so greasy and dirty it's started to go all Alex Parks all by itself
When someone texts you, you put the phone to your ear and wonder why they aren't speaking
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I listened to the conversation, sniffling slightly in my four sweaters, my chair carefully positioned nearer the heater than theirs, but I didn't say anything. I couldn't contribute to the wonder at how far we've come, because your perspective switches incredibly rapidly if it's taken away. It's not the march of history or inevitable progress, because it only needs one or two little changes for you, here, now, to lose a lifestyle that you really made assumptions about.
As they talked about their dishwashers and washer driers and SUV cars, it brought it home how far removed my life has become from convenience and dishwashers, from yuppie smug success and that feeling of entitlement - in one fast month.
I was stopped from speaking out by a combination of poverty (the bank has cancelled my debit cards, I have lost my cheque books), cold (my flat's 'economy' heating system means it's warm at four in the morning, the rest of the time I have to sit here in scarf, hat, gloves, hoodie and blanket, and still my nose goes numb), pain (my car's still broken and there's no money to fix it, or to get transport, so I have to walk everywhere, which - being a delicate flower - means my feet have metamorphosed from lily white soft callouses into bloodied, blistered, raw gaping messed up wounds, and walking anywhere hurts), stench (no hot water to bathe in except at 6am, no washing machine to clean clothes in), and hunger (no money for food, have to fast at work, and eat the furry sprouting potatoes I brought from the last flat at night).
I didn't speak out - why? Was that shame? (and there I believed myself to be shameless) It's not exactly my fault this stuff is happening - living in two different places, paying two sets of bills has it's price.
Meh, cold does seem to make your brain work slower. It took me two weeks of sitting indoors under a blanket to figure out I could just go and buy an electric heater.
Cold, hunger, and pain make you sniffle and sleep with a hot water bottle stuffed up your sweater for longer than you should. I feel ill. In fact, that's my excuse for such a whingey rant of a post. So you'll have to make do with a crappy whining post. Hey, I tried to hold off on the Oliver Twist overtones, here.
Interestingly, yesterday, when my feet were bleeding, and I took four hours in the frost to ride the cheap buses up East to switch the heating on in the old flat, because the estate agent said people viewing it felt chilly, which was a psychological disincentive for them, I 'spent' more money than I've ever spent in my life. I dropped the price of the flat by ten thousand pounds. Oh boy, was I in trouble for that one. But dammit, I can't live a long time like this, I need a rapid sale, and that won't happen if the place is overpriced.
It's odd, being poor after years of being fairly rich. I mean, I was poor twice before - as a kid in the seventies, before moving south, when we lived on factory land and thought everybody couldn't afford puddings (by eck, it were bitter in our cardboard box) and during four years as a student, when pride wouldn't ever allow me to go to my parents' house for a single vacation. But it's different being poor and, well, old. In a way.
Old as in, I'm not seven and willing to believe that the second hand colour telly we waited years for makes us millionaires. And old as in, I'm not twenty two and there's no way I'm doing ten crappy jobs shovelling the shit from someone else's poor service skills just so I have enough money for a travelcard.
And you know what else? Old as in, I have a credit card.
Here's what Cyn wrote:I'm publishing this on here because I need to be less cowardly in the line I tread about what I allow to get out there. It's cowardly to pretend that nothing happened, or that I wasn't equally at fault in the general disintegration I was trying not to blog.
But mostly, it reminded me of what I've been reading lately of disturbances between cliques* in Brit Blogpuddle (only the yanks have a blogosphere), and the hurt feelings that have ensued as all parties have felt themselves judged, and critically at that.
* Oooer, hope they don't mind me calling them a clique - not very nice, is it?
Made me realise something: all these blogs are crap. I mean that in the kindest sense ... they're not truthful in the slightest. They make sense, if ever, only to ourselves.
And, conversely, if we publish our personal crap on the interwebnet, we deserve to dissected.
Blogging: At Your Own Risk.