Wednesday, 10 December 2008

My Piece About Blogging, Written Last Week When I Was Moody And Thinking Too Much About Carrots

I have to ask you to indulge me with the following post. I scribbled it last week in a blatant attempt to pen myself out of a bad mood brought about by an unpleasant incident in Manchester whereby I was reduced to tears by a lactose intolerant leisure consultant and the work of proto-impressionist painter Adolphe Valette. You will find me, at the beginning of last week, doubting the value of blogging, though by Wednesday, I had moved on to doubt the value of dogging. By Friday, I was taking pot shots at logging and then the whole timber industry. Happily, I can now report that I’ve now changed my mind about all these things, except dogging, which still seems like a reasonable way to make new friends but I’m not so sure that it’s the most fuel efficient way of having a good time up a country lane late at night.

Change the sheets and polish that porcelain! I’ve decided that old Madeley is coming to stay with you.

But I don’t want you to worry or prepare anything special. I’ll only be with you for two weeks and I expect you to work me until I collapse. You want a pool digging? Just tell me how deep. Want the house repainting? A man hasn’t been born that can beat me around a Dulux colour chart. Work me hard, pay me nothing: that’ s how I like to be treated. It will feel just like being back at Channel 4. Damn their devious, back-stabbing, ‘O’Grady is more popular among the post-menopausal demographic than you’ hides.

But by now, you’re probably wondered if I’ve finally lost it. I too sometimes suspect that I’m walking east when my sanity is going west. Only, in this case, I don’t really think that I'm losing it is in the sense of walking though crowded markets whilst combing the hair of a heavily rouged coconut I like to call Molly. I just mean: how much longer can I go on like this?

Browsing the web, I stumbled across a group of my fellow bloggers talking about their monthly hits. Now, I know that you think you know what I’m about to say before I say it: that I’m about to wail on about how some other blog has forty times the hits that I have and that the most interesting thing they’ve ever written is the word ‘chiaroscuro’. And if you thought that’s what I was going to say, then you just take a merit badge and go stand at the front of the class. Bless the inordinate amount of soft fibrous fluff on your lovely cottony socks, for you are indeed right.

Blogging is an activity that most of us take up for purely narcissistic reasons. Those of us that don’t work professionally as journalists, will probably be writing in the vague hope that we can find work as journalists or writers or cartoonists or porn magnates. (I originally wrote ‘porn magnets’ but Judy won’t allow me to keep them on the fridge door. [Originally, I typed ‘porn midgets’ but that’s a story I’ve promised to keep under my hat. (I originally wrote ‘under my cat’ but that’s where I’m hiding the gloriously ribald account of my affair with a one-eyed Bulgarian vegetable seller called Molly who also happened to sell coconuts)]).

Anyway, to get back to my point: there can’t be many people who don’t open up their first Blogger account without thinking that they’re going to make a difference. The truth is that very few of us make a difference. There are ways to blog successfully and I consistently refuse to take those routes. I won’t post any videos of tap dancing dogs. I shirk porn (I originally typed ‘shake porn’ but... Oh, never mind...) I also won’t repost gags ripped from 'The Onion'. This blog is all me and is undoubtedly weaker for that. And, in a sense, every blog is about ‘me’. And ‘me’ isn’t very interesting. Have you read Iain Dale this week? Me, me, me, me, me. And Tories. Shudder, as Fry would say. Shudder.

The unhappy truth is that blogging is the poor relative to other social networking schemes that require far less effort and bring far more in terms of reward. Blogging also requires effort when a service like Twitter asks that you only write 120 characters a post. Facebook doesn’t even require that you write at all. You just send your friends vampiric bites to acknowledge their existence. ‘Dick Madeley has poked you with a carrot. Do you want to poke him back? Choose you vegetable of choice...’ Hardly the best advertisement for 'user created content'. After all: who likes being poked with a carrot? Not me. Not even Bill Oddie and I should know. I've poked him with plenty of carrots in my time.

Which brings all the way back to my offer. I’ve worked out the figures and I’ve calculated that the effort it takes me to do all my blogging is as profitable as if I came to work for each of you, my regular readers, for a fortnight every year. So long as you’ll pay my travel expenses, I won’t be out of pocket. For that, you’ll get at least forty hours of work out of me. Laying paths, decorating, fixing computer problems, teaching, or general administration: I can do the lot, possibly concurrently. And yes, if you want to, I’ll even let you poke me with a carrot.

Which reminds me of this story I keep under my cat...


greeneggsandtam said...

I can certainly say that were you to come and work for me here in Saskatchewan, the work would be easy and I have no propensity to poke anyone with a carrot but it's very cold here. Your best bet is to stay in England and we can continue to enjoy your writing without you having to endure culture shock and hypothermia.

Brian said...

I've been planning some mercy killings for some of the more disagreeable elements in my office, but didn't want to get my hands dirty. I'll send your Ryanair flight itinery as soon as I've booked. You may not find Dublin any less soul destroying than Manchester though, but on the upside, we can exchange cartooning tips between homicides.

percy stilton said...

Dick , I think your blog is the dogs bollocks. Your writing skills should have made you rich & famous by now, alas we do not live in a meritocracy more a mediocracy, where the vapid & vaccuous are the victors.
Maybe that is why I am recieving over 1000 hits a day on my blog, or maybe its because of the mushrooms.People just can't seem to get enough of them.
Maybe you should feature some fungi in your blog to pull in the punters, just a suggestion.
Peace & Light

Andrew said...

I dunno, i suppose it's sometimes a case of art for art's sake, isn't it? Yours is one of the few that contains mountains of great writing to revel in. if you look on my blog you'll see me bigging up a book that has just come out in aid of charity containing heaps of stuff from the best writers in the Irish blogosphere. Hopefully it'll bring some recognition to the really good ones. Mind you, a couple of them have already gained book-deals from their blogs, so hopefully it's not being entirely overlooked.

Barbara said...

I could seriously use some house painting but I'm not sure the cost of an international flight would be worth it. Since I live in the desert it is still in the 70's during the day here, maybe that would entice you to stay the whole month and I could hire you out half the time to recoup costs?

Dick Madeley said...

So tired tonight, I'm using the last energy in my tanks to for these replies. So apologies if they're not up to my usual low standards.

Greeneggs, but Saskatchewan sounds good to me. Do you know Manchester at all? Are you aware of what I'm about to endure?

Brian, Ireland too sounds good. I'm not too good with mercy killings, though, otherwise I might have mentioned it in my post. I'm still looking for places to send these cartoons but now I have to wait another two days before I can get around to sorting them out.

Percy, you're too kind. I'm looking for your email address to thank you... If you're getting 1000 a day, you're destroying me. I'm coming straight over to get some tips.

Andrew, yes, we have bloggers like that over here who publish books and collections. I'm never invited and my one big chance fell through a few weeks before I was supposed to be published. I'm thinking of having my ISBN number printed on a shirt.

Barbara, I'm happy to do the painting in that heat. It's freezing in Manchester. I've been told that I have a knack for door frames but I tend to make too many drips when painting ceilings. said...

Here are a few tips for starters...Carrotts are so 70's and cocnuts are just too hard....go with the fungii and your number of readers will mushroom beyond your wildest dreams.

lucecannon said...

Nice use of brackets in that post, Dick. Don't worry about the stats - it's an obsession that fades, apparently. Would you consider coming and poking my kids to school with a carrot and/or mushroom so I can blog less and actually earn some money?

Dick Madeley said...

It does fade, Luce, but it also comes back and makes you feel ten times worse.

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