Monday, March 24, 2008


AIR: There’s something in the air. Selfishly, I’ve decided to present a summary of those blogs that I’ve read recently.

BREAK: Getting back to my blogging roots, my old friend Zinnia Cyclamen is taking a break from blogging – as peculiar timing would have it, so announced just before she received another mention by the internet reviewers at the Guardian. Her blog, Real E Fun (a deathly anagram) has undergone clear transitions – originally the accounts of a humanist funeral celebrant, this segued into part-fictionalising around a domestic set-up. Then, it shifted towards a more varied programme of posts about writing for publication, occasional rants and stuff that spoke of caring about the world and its inhabitants. Whilst commenters have begun to share a variety of electronic pats on the back, ‘missing you alreadies’ and general warmth, I sense it is the right time for ZC to take a blog break. Amen.

PILES: In his own phrasing, my old friend Genewill be reincarnating soon’. There’s a small army of mostly lady readers of his who will probably start some new religion when this happens. Gene sits comfortably, because he doesn’t have piles. Previously, he edited a newspaper and had a hobby of getting married. Nowadays, he’s an educator. We teach each other new words and develop one another’s understandings of each other’s alien culture. He’s wordy and witty. He once sent me a sweatshirt with a duck on it – one small fashion step for sports fans in Oregon, but one giant step for Shanekind.

FIGURE: Seven hours east of Gene, is Pi – not the mathematical kind, though her figure has been of interest to people. Actually, that sounds a bit tawdry, doesn’t it - ah well. Pi (Pat) lives in the south west of England. She used to be a model and an actress. Her’s is an interesting biography. Pat is an imperfect geneticist. She was convinced that I was related to Ghandi. Me, I didn’t like to argue – bit Ghandi-like, that.

PERIL: A little further east on the blog horizon, my fellow footballing anorak, LB, has been reflecting. Variously writing of travel and assorted oddments and sodments of pop culture, and as the father of a young daughter, I particularly liked his term ‘emotional compunction’, and the line ‘…I also don't feel the necessity to comment on everything I read just to leave a fingerprint at the scene to prove I was around’. As life reads as being calmer than it had been, say, six to twelve months ago, this seems to have spurred a series of posts declaiming the ‘Perils of the Middle Class’. Most recently, there was some fuss about economies of scale related to a 2-for-1 cocktail offer – ‘roughing it’, you might say.

CATTISH: Partly overlapping with LB, the Suburban Hen ploughs a posting furrow that is cattish, photo-savvy, travel-based in line with LB’s movements (and for good reason too), and occasionally marked by a sense of Other Side of the Worldness. She’s really not from round where she lives now. She also shared too much information regarding some medical procedure.

MAGNUM: South of most English places, Huw keeps a wordy, witty, and altogether smart blog. When he travels, he travelogues well. Ages ago – paleolithically – he did a series of walks with his camera. These were very good. Once, he raised his head above a parapet to help me out on a personal mission – it was a kindly thing to do. For a moment, he made me feel like I was Magnum P.I. and he was, well, I don’t know, the helicopter pilot?

UP: Up a bit and you’d find a couple of concise Midlands people persisting with a blog that was founded on an appreciation of creative thinking. Their mini-project is called A Post Box, though maybe they don’t realise that that concept or facility is like a well-worn trilby – old hat, like. We is all electronic nowadays, see. They try to seem like nice people who want to listen, but I do not trust them.

BECKHAM: In the north is Beth, a Girl on a Train. She is a stylish writer – cool, someone who refers to musicians that I’ve never heard of, a Leeds United fan. I think she’d not be a good person to cross or to be an idiot in front of. Her writing can be so concise that I think of her as the Victoria Beckham of blogging – too posh to gush.

TOURIST: Not unreasonably, that would make A Free Man in Preston the David Beckham of blogging – another of the witties… and so ended the credibility of the Beckham analogy. Tim’s office-based comic set-pieces and caricatures are rivalled only by those of Tired Dad (see below). He’s also an agent of LYTE - the Lancashire-Yorkshire Tourism Exponents. Do not mess.

DIALECT: Also in the Up North, there’s the Tired Dad. Brutally frank, brutally educational – though not without the help of the likes of Thug Colleague and Human Resources Lady. Wrote an achingly gorgeous post featuring his Grandfather (06.03.08) – a chink in the armour. In some ways, his writing can make me miss my roots - family and hometown. He writes roguish north east dialect as well as I could imagine it being done.

BEHIND: In the south west, bearing not much in common with the REM song of the same name, but baring quite a lot most Thursdays, is the sex blog, Bittersweet Me. As with most of the blogs above, I can’t remember how I found it. At first intrigued, I read all of its archives. Then, I asked loads of questions of its author, ‘Me’. We had a really interesting email exchange. Some stuff I understood, some stuff I didn’t. With that blog, the sex itself seems much less interesting than the person behind the writing. It’s a blog that tended to leave me shaking my head at many of its comment(er)s, which is partly why I’m a less frequent visitor than I used to be.

DEER: Someone, somewhere, wrote: ‘Often, when I am wandering lonely along the shore, mist brushing my nose and wind whipping my hair, I grow melancholy thinking about the time I tricked a baby deer into falling down a well’. For a long while, long ago, Esther Wilberforce-Packard was writing my favourite blog, Topic Drift – an absurd, playful adventure with a smart turn-of-phrase. Then it seemed to get a bit dark, a bit angry and infrequent. Then there were glimmers of light – but far too infrequently.

OUTLET: Cheer Up Alan Shearer was originally an enterprise of LB (above) and two of his sidekicks. One of them seemed drop out, but Swiss Toni still helps to maintain this good outlet for some of my useless ‘knowledge’. They run a football predictions league and provide a space for occasional football-related preaching and alphabetising.

SCRATCHY: Prospect is the only magazine that I subscribe to – it features political essays and some arts and cultural stuff that’s good for the brain. Their blog is a bit scratchy but I occasionally drop-in to see whether there’s any further depth to others’ coverage of current affairs.

And that's that. Bit of an abrupt end, but so what.

If you're really bored, there'll always be the weather*.

* Until the link breaks.


bittersweet me said...

It is strange how one finds oneself in different places, without much idea of where one got off the usual path. I am a lurker at Huw's - have been for some time, so might have been there that i tripped over you. Or perhaps Free Man.

Huw said...

I like to think of myself as being in the Higgins mould.

PI said...

Gosh I'm honoured to be included with that lot although to be honest Gene (Hoss) and Zinn are the only ones I really know cyber-wise at this moment in time. Goody goody now I know what to do when time lies heavy. Hah!
You do know I am a northerner too? There's black soot in my blood and my Dad wore clogs.

suburbanhen said...

Sorry about that.

Shane said...

Hello chaps. I've been away for a few days. What pleasing responses to return to:-
Me - I am reminded - I think it was Free Man's.
Huw - I always felt that there was something of the night about Higgins.
Pi - Yes, I recall your Lancashire roots. (NB/ I was staying near Goathurst/North Petherton over the last few days - at an organic farm)
Hen - Apologise not - it's important that my barriers are challenged, and, you see, it's also important that I come to acknowledge that females are human beings too.

Beth said...

I'm honoured too! Although I don't think you can really use the words 'cool' & 'Leeds Utd' in the same sentence.

....and, yes, I'm afraid I did scroll down to see if I was on the list before I read the post properly.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

We don't say "so what" any more. According to our vice president, when asked a particularly difficult question, the answer is "So?" Which befuddles the would-be befuddler no end.

PI said...

'She is old and infirm, but at least she's clean.'
Just you wait 'enry 'iggins! Just you wait! Or should I say Bapu? Your end is very nigh!

Shane said...

Beth - I'm all for such checking ahead. An absence would have justified a dropping from sidebar, says I.
O - You are right. 'So what' is uncouth and it's tired, whereas 'befuddler' is much more up my street.
Pi - Ah, my dear friend Pi, you returned to Beth's. Might I just say, what a fine Martine McCutcheon you do - most convincing.