Judy had been massaging my neck all morning, trying to get rid of the tension.
‘You don’t have to decide now,’ she said as she poured a little more oil onto her hands and began to knead it into my non-responsive muscles. ‘Give it the rest of the day. Nothing is going to happen on a Sunday.’
‘But isn’t it only right that I join them?’ I asked her for what must have been the ninth or tenth time. ‘It just seems to have my name written all over it.’
Judy tutted. ‘Is it really what you want?’
And there she had me. Was it really what I wanted?
The whole thing began some months ago after I wrote the first entry on this blog. One visitor who passed himself off as a member of the German aristocracy started to leave comments and I was intrigued enough to track him down to his homepage. The man also travelled under the name Higham and he was part of a group of bloggers who had the word ‘Blogpower’ tattooed on their foreheads. For all of ten seconds, I had thought about asking to join them, but being an independent spirit, wary of grown adults who form themselves into societies, I decided that it wasn’t for me. I would cut a lone furrow and plant in it what I liked.
And I was happy with this arrangement until this morning when I saw a new outfit getting together in the blogosphere. It made me feel rather like James Coburn in The Magnificent Seven. I wanted to be one of the first at Higham’s side, armed with my throwing knives, six shooter, and a small bearded helper called Oddie.
I suppose it was the name that attracted me: The Martin Scriberlus Alliance. ‘The Dunciad’, as you know, is one of my favourite poems and heavily influenced my own much maligned ‘Mock Heroic Epistle on the State of Jeremy Paxman’s Sock Drawer’. I remain one of the few men to consider himself a Scriblerian, carrying on the work of the greatest English writers of the eighteenth century. The Scriblerian Club was a small group of like minded men of huge wit who produced some of the most biting satire of their day. Whenever they gathered it was like an episode of QI but without the third-rate standups. Their whole habit of mind was that of parody. Their humour was ripe with caustic epigrams and extravagantly pointless footnotes, all of which bewailed the leaden fools of London society. The peerless Swift wrote ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, which over the centuries has become something of a children’s story, yet in the unabridged version is a joyously vile and scatological rant against people in general. That a new Scriblerian Club should be forming close to me on the web made my heart beat a little faster. All of which I explained to Judy this morning.
‘Well you should clearly join it,’ she said as she finished on my neck and set to work on my shoulders. ‘If there’s a group of satirists out to undermine the fabric of society with their cleverly written parodies of modern manners and life, then you should be there leading them Richard.’
‘Parody?’ I asked. ‘Who said that this has got anything to do with parody? The Martin Scriberlus Alliance is about bloggers gathering together under a label to signify good quality blogging.’
Judy’s hands slipped from my back. I thought it was because there was too much oil but then I felt them grab me around my neck.
‘Quality blogging? Quality blogging?’ She screamed as she shook me. When she let go, the tempest had passed. ‘If there’s really such a thing as quality blogging, you certainly shouldn’t be allowed within a mile of it. Not when fourteen percent of your readership think you should quit!’
And there was nothing I could say to that.
I pulled on my shirt and came sloping in here to type this up. Any other bloggers out there who think they write a good blog, I recommend that you head over and check out The Martin Scriberlus Alliance. Unfortunately, because of issues to do with quality control, I’ll be unable to join in with what is sure to be an excellently run project.