Now I’m getting linked to from sibling blogs, somebody might read this stuff. So I should make an effort to blog regularly.
Trouble is, I haven’t got the hang of the style. Everything I’ve done seems so turgid. I should try to produce something a bit more chatty. Like journos who are contracted to deliver articles at regular intervals and, being invariably devoid of inspiration, end up recounting some faux-amusing episode in their own utterly ordinary lives.
Not that I claim a wide knowledge of the current media, my weekly experience being limited to The Guardian (Saturday) and Viz monthly. And I’m already on record with my jaundiced views on the regular, thoughtless, lazy use of the same tired old phrases.
It can be done properly but it must be very difficult. Bernard Levin (may he fulminate in peace), somehow managed to create, week after week, beautifully written articles that were topical and relevant. He himself remarked on the strain of producing to a regular deadline. He was too true to his craft to fill in the gaps with bilge; he took a lengthy sabbatical when his inspiration dried up. And he had a healthy disregard for his own undoubted brilliance; he did allow publication of a couple of anthologies but many of his Saturday’s Times articles went no further than Monday’s fish-and-chip wrapping.
And then we come to the other end of the spectrum. People who achieved top marks at school for “What I did over the summer holidays” and decided to stick to what they were good at. I mean, how much does Tim Dowling (Guardian Weekend Magazine) actually get paid? This week the title is ‘It’s our anniversary dinner. But what will we talk about?’ Feel free to choose your own answer. I can’t print mine here but rest assured that Tim would find it certainly unhelpful, and probably physically impossible.
Journalists writing about themselves. Or each other. Journalism existing by, in, and exclusively for, itself. As far as it’s possible to get from the nobility of the Fourth Estate, the determination to speak out fearlessly, to challenge, to inform, to educate. Just self-serving, unimportant waffle, peddled to us in the guise of something worthwhile and relevant.
So, here we go, my new-style blog. I’ll call it “I’m going to Tesco. But what should I buy?”.
On the deli counter I saw some cheese that is “produced from proud Yorkshire cows”. I thought, in Lancashire? That’s pride bordering on arrogance. Cue images of Friesians sporting white rosettes, haughtily strutting around the Yorkshire dales. Then I saw Tesco own-brand “fresh bleach”, fresh from the chemical vat, I supposed. Moving on, I noticed “free range eggs”, now, that’s impressive – I’ve seen hens ranging freely, but eggs? Next aisle there was “Chinese chicken” I thought, is there anything we don’t import nowadays? Just then I caught my ankle on the trolley and sustained a nasty gash. I hobbled to the healthcare aisle. I hesitated at the Germolene. A security guard had just passed by the end of the aisle and was now out of sight. Should I chance it? What would I say? Surely they’d understand!
Just another 200 words to go – how am I doing? No, listen, my life really is as interesting as Tim’s. You must want to know about it. And this is free, the Guardian costs £2.70, sucker.