You’d be forgiven for thinking that this blog has entered the terminal stage of its weary life cycle; indeed, you may believe it’s exited that stage and is done and dusted already. And you may be right. But the road to hell is paved with intentions, good and bad, and I intend to “reboot” this place, if reboot is the right phrase, and starting now. Or nearly now.
I’d been finding it increasingly difficult to find the time, inclination and trousers with which to blog, and so at the turn of the year decided to go on a hiatus, and to make the most of the remaining time I had left with the kids until they were both in full-time education. So I set September as my intended return date and put my feet up. In May I had my latest and last dust up with some phishers trying set up home in the hidden nooks and crannies of my WordPress.org self-hosted blog, and so I also resolved to leave the cuckoos to it and move over to WordPress.com, which I’ve done, and which explains the exciting fresh new look to this site. Now, with the kids in school and the removal of the distraction of having to maintain and update my own website, I reckoned I would suddenly have plenty of free time in which to write stuff and put the world to rights. Yet here we are in November, and nothing; not a word.
Oh I’ve got excuses, but they’re not interesting. And during my absence I can’t say I’ve exactly been straining at the leash to break my self-imposed abstinence. There was a brief moment when I thought I’d write about the summer riots, but before long I was so fed up with the claptrap being spouted by all sides, with people, as ever, proclaiming an absolute knowledge of the unknowable which conveniently also fully vindicated their existing prejudices that I completely withdrew from all news and comments programmes and turned off twitter because it was pissing me off (in particular the views of people I habitually agree with pissed me off, which I find really depressing; the David Starkey’s of this world can just be dismissed as twats.)
But I do like to write, and so I intend to return. And if nothing else I have rafts of drafts; posts which I had abandoned because before I’d finished them they’d stopped being topical; the world had moved on and I felt I’d run out of time. And now I have the time, theoretically*. I’m also, to my mind, the master of l’esprit de l’escalier; or in my case more like l’esprit de l’escalier, l’entrance hall, la rue extérieur et alors dans mon maison avec un cup de thé et un croissant, et quatre jour après le fact. You see, an event will have been in the news, but rather than have something to say there and then it’ll be days later when I’m still mulling it over that I suddenly come up with a killer line, or what I feel passes for a killer line. But I’d think it too late, now, to come over all smart, a bit silly to revisit old news, and so I’d let it slip. So from now on, on this blog, it’s never too silly to revisit old news, as long as I think I’ve got a feeble comment to make. And a draft is never too long in the tooth that it can’t still be published. If I think I’ve got something interesting to say then you’re going to get it, right between the eyes, and topicality be damned. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
And that, more or less, is that, for now; a tentative new mission statement for the all new Obscurer. Same as the old Obscurer. Stick around if you fancy your chances. This could go either way.
*Just re-read that line. Doesn’t really make sense in this context. Oh well. Fuck it.
Well, that’s me for a fortnight. Two weeks in Cornwall seems just reward for the hectic blogging around these parts recently. So just so’s you know, if this site isn’t updated between now and the 10th of June it isn’t because I’ve given up, but more likely that I’m busy eating a Cornish cream tea, albeit probably not one using Rodda’s clotted cream.
So, see you in a couple of weeks!
And a bit…
What a surprise. If you’d asked me five years ago whether I thought this blog would still be going today, I’d have replied “What’s a blog?” But if you’d asked me an hour later, after my brother had mentioned blogging in passing during a phone call, and after I’d subsequently investigated www.blogger.com and almost accidentally written my opening post here, I’d have told you that I’d doubt my interest would last five months. Or even five minutes. Yet here I am.
Why do I bother? Well, if you are in any way a regular reader you’ll know that I rarely do. This thing called “life” keeps getting in the way a lot of the time, and I am usually perfectly happy for it so to do. Unlike some of those ridiculously prolific – and for some reason, usually right-wing – bloggers out there, who seem able to spend much of their working day writing on their blogs about, say, how inefficient the public sector and its work-shy employees are, I simply don’t have the time to write anything from work, and much to my chagrin work has recently taken up more of my time that I would prefer. Even when I’m not at work, the children’s shocking lack of self-sufficiency is still such that my potential prattling-time here is often curtailed, especially during the school holidays when I am usually engaged as a metaphorical plate-spinner cum referee. Add in an impending holiday to Cornwall, and other ongoing real-life events, and with one thing and another I’m amazed I’ve even found the time to write this over-long commemoration of my five years of being largely ignored in cyberspace.
Another reason for my infrequent output is, I guess, a running out of ideas. Up until five years ago I’d had a short lifetime of pent-up pet theories with nowhere to go. That all changed with this blog, and at first there were loads of thoughts that I wanted to air and get out of my system; but now, while I wouldn’t say the well is exactly dry, it more often seems less worthwhile for me to dredge up another bundle of opinions that aren’t too dissimilar to what the next blogger is thinking. I try to write only when I think I hold an opinion that I haven’t heard expressed elsewhere, or where I feel, rightly or wrongly, that I have a different twist or angle on a subject. Very often I don’t think that is the case, and so this place will stay silent for a few weeks or more, save for those Twitter updates. Sure, the odd flurry of posts may escape me from time to time, but whether that signifies a burst of inspiration or simply the fact that I’ve found myself with a bit of time on my hands and blogging on my mind, I will leave for you to decide.
I guess I’ve settled into a frame of mind where I view my readership as imaginary – as, indeed, it largely is – and that more and more I am writing for myself alone. A case in point is this post, one of my personal favourites, and so an almost perfect example of my current attitude. Were I to visualise a real, living and breathing person reacting to reading that story, I imagine it would be a somewhat tortured, bemused and befuddled “WTF?” So I don’t do anything of the kind; I just write the thing, occasionally re-read it, and my imaginary reader, being a mirror of myself, considers it to be a piece of some worth.
It is an illusion that I think best explains the secret my longevity. If I wanted a large and loyal following for this blog then I would probably write differently and more often, and to read and comment on more blogs than I do; but I gave up that ambition of popularity long ago, and I have since become accustomed to my niche in the blogosphere. It suits me fine. And anyway, show me a really popular and frequently updated blog and the chances are, with a handful of rare exceptions, that I’ll show you a depressing, steaming pile of shite that makes one despair of humanity. The blogs I am mostly drawn to are exactly those rarely updated, quirky and often less-popular blogs where I feel more of a personal affinity with the writer, where the arrival of a new post in my RSS reader is akin to the joy of receiving a hand-written letter through the post; I often approach those more prolific bloggers’ updates in Bloglines with a heavy heart, a feeling reminiscent of hearing the thump on the mat of another load of junk from a mailing list I keep meaning to remove myself from.
So charge your glasses if you will and let’s raise a toast: to all of those infrequent bloggers out there who for me make the blogosphere what it truly is; and to those rare beasts the prolific and popular bloggers who aren’t crap, the exceptions that prove the rule, and who are usually ignored by the greater media as a consequence; and to everyone who has never written a blog, or no longer writes one, but who would (still) write a fantastic one if they did. You know who you are. And while it is considered bad form to toast yourself, since I write under a pseudonym this is me, Andy, raising a glass to my alter-ego, Quinn, and to the past five years of his witterings hereabouts.
And here’s to another five years?