Goodnight and Good Lack May 30, 2010Posted by markswill in About me, Media, Navel Gazing, Politics, Schmolitics.
In my last missive I described the remnants of a not especially notable ‘80s pop group as being “mighty full of themselves” in lately claiming enhanced plausibility for their ancient efforts, and I must now apply the same sentiment to myself. However the last proper band I was in was ironically (for those that know me more intimately) called The Jailbirds and whose last ignominious gig was on Deal pier in 1960something, and being full of ourselves doesn’t feature in my abiding memories of that evening.
No, I apply the expression to my efforts in the bloggosphere – like so much other techy jargon a word I hate but occasionally perforce use – which I am about to bring to an end, either permanently or for a summer break. Rather to my surprise, since I began working this digital seam I’ve managed to spew out 38 of the buggers all of which are characterised by a kind of intemperate, smug punditry whose lack of justification has been offset, at least nominally, by a degree of cheery self-deprecation. Increasingly I also find myself relying on the same themes of political duplicity, economic dismay and media myopia, with a soupcon of willful nostalgia thrown in for good measure, and this frankly must be becoming as tedious to read as it is dispiriting to pen.
Once again referring to those who know me well, over the past 40 years I have achieved (very) minor celebrity in the (very) niche markets of motorcycle, car, and rather longer ago, rock journalism with columns that applied the same stratagems to mouth off about whatever took my fancy in those areas. I actually love the form of column writing and over time became quite adept at it, but I now realise that the broader canvases of politics and media are not so well suited to this unless, of course, one has a reputation, and a well-deserved one at that, for its practice.
Uncoincidentally, having tried on and off over the past four decades to break into what I will wistfully call ‘mainstream journalism’ and – sour grapes alert – found it a shop closed to all but the families and friends of those who were already there, many of whom admittedly much better scribblers than I ever was, a blog became a means to exercise what I felt I was capable of beyond my usual comfort zone. Candour demands that I also confess a hope that my wild digital opinionating might reach an audience wider than friends and acquaintances and perhaps even a bit of paid writing on a proper paper… or even a proper website. But sincerely grateful though I am for the loyalty of the 250-300 of you who regularly read and sometimes respond with considerable fervour to these rants, audience numbers stubbornly refuse to rise much further, so essentially I preach only to the converted. And my attempts to ping the relevant links to the few folks I actually know, or know of, in the national media are met either with total disinterest or in several cases a curt “stop sending me these e-mails”.
Which is perhaps symptomatic of the rude and incurious times we live in, times where demands for our attention have escalated wildly since the onset of the digital age. Indeed I noted with a weary resignation that as a nation we are now surviving on at least an hour’s less sleep a night as a consequence of this, and as a consequence of that are becoming more fractious, intolerant and afraid of losing out on vital if polymorphous ‘life opportunities’.
Although having benefited substantially from some of its advantages, I’m thinking Google and to a lesser extent fleaBay, this is a world I do not really enjoy so much anymore, but with further supreme irony I am currently trying to get backing for my first ever totally digital publishing venture. The need to concentrate on one last push with this is another, albeit lesser reason to stop blogging, others being a determination to read more books (while we still have books), and attend more to my sadly diminishing pool of friends (while they’re still around), many of whom have been lucky or worked hard enough to retire early whilst the rest of merely live in hope.
Moreover if I can’t get this enterprise off the ground, then I plan to forswear media in all its forms… unless of course the Telegraph Magazine commissions that 2000 word article on road movies I’ve got in me, I get offered a gig subbing for The Week, or that print publishing enjoys an unexpected renaissance and I start getting consultancy work again –which in truth is somewhat more interesting and rewarding than scribbling!
In the meantime those who’ve only recently stumbled on these witterings might care to trawl back through earlier efforts to understand why I’ve run out of ideas as well as justification for promulgating them, and if I do somehow find myself re-inspired, and/or with nowt better to do in a few months time, then rest assured I’ll be in touch and begging your attention again.
So have a nice what’s-left-of-the-summer.
Please pen a comment, read previous blogs, sign up to get ’em automatically and/or access my website using the links on the right.