When an admirer asked Philip Larkin if he would dedicate one of his books to her, he agreed, but said she would have to wait a long time, because he was only a Sunday writer. That’s what I am these days. Except that I suspect he only said that to convince the Hull City Library that he didn’t write poetry on payroll time. I never write in payroll time, but not because I'm writing immortal poetry: it's because no one pays me. Weekly blogging is not nearly as satisfying as the inspirational spur-of-the-moment kind: by the time Sunday comes around you’ve forgotten most of what pleased or angered you during the week – in fact you’ve almost forgotten how to blog. The solution, as every writer knows, is to carry a notebook and pen at all times – but my most brilliant thoughts come in the shower and the notes get soggy and unreadable.
Among the plethora of important anniversaries last week: Dixie Dean, Saint Sebastian, etc – one slipped by unnoticed except, understandably, by me. On January 15, 2006, I started this blog.
At dinner the other evening a friend wanted to know why we blog. A number of people have asked me that, but if I told you that this questioner is a writer whose opinion I respect, you would find it – as I did – surprising. It’s tempting to give the short answer, like Louis Armstrong’s to the person who asked him to explain jazz - ‘If you have to ask, you ain’t ever gonna know’. But the real answer is much longer.
Friend said it was self-indulgent. He’s dead right: of course it is - but then so are eating, drinking a crisp white Burgundy and lots of other things, yet no one asks us why we do it. I don't understand why people play golf, grow orchids, watch Big Brother, support Manchester United, sail and so on – but chacun á son indulgence.
Although RivieraWriter may now be a mere shadow of its former self (which some would say was already pretty shadowy), I have to say, 167 posts, 3,854 hits, 6,221 page views and 71, 361 words later, that I look back on my twelve months of blogging as - for me at least – a very enjoyable and satisfying experience. I’ve improved my typing rate if not its accuracy; had a lot of fun and met some wonderful and amazing people. Try it Mike, what have you got to lose?
Sky Television commentator on Arsenal game this week: ‘Arsène Wenger is not generally known as a man who lets his feelings show, but tonight he has run the whole gambit’.
Less is more. I was putting it out the rubbish last week when the postman handed me the mail. After one glance, it went straight into ‘Rrecycled Paper’. It must be frustrating to be a postie, delivering mail that no one wants.
There’s a great magazine called The Week It has no political leaning – it just selects the best writing from every paper and magazine in the world and I wouldn’t be without it. But last week it came with EIGHT pieces of junk mail - the junk weighed almost as much as the magazine.
One of the worst culprits seems to be Dell. Mr Dell, if you’re reading this, I don’t care how good your computers may be, I’ll never buy one because of what you’re doing to the planet.
Less is more in the junk mail business. It’s obvious to us, so why can’t the PR agencies see it? The answer is they can, but they have clients who want splash, and it’s their money. How can I get word to these people that every red envelope; every IMPORTANT MESSAGE!!!; every ‘free gift!’ of a 29p biro; every ’Chance to win a luxury holiday in Paris!’; and every 24-point exclamation mark; goes unopened into the recycling. If you want my attention, send something that looks like a letter and is addressed to me and I'll read it - especially if it has a postage stamp on it.