Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Of Eaten Hats and Backpedalled Bicycles.

I was a twenty-something atavist. Limoux, France, 2005.

"Everything popular is wrong."
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).

"To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance."

Oscar Wilde, Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young, 1894.

Okay fuckheads, so I've started blogging. This comes largely in response to the slew of people who insist I should be doing so, or to those who ask to see more of my writing. I have always appreciated your interest, but thus far just covered my ears and cried "Laa-laa-laa-laa," digging my heels deeper into the dirt with every confounded request.

The reasons for my resistance were twofold. Firstly, I always thought of blogging as egotistical and onanistic. (There was once a time when I hated cock rock and jazz for the same reasons). Secondly, working at newspapers and magazines led me to champion the traditional publishing model: that any content worth its salt must first pass the quality control of editorial scrutiny, and that there is no substitute for the printed word.

I still believe these are valid arguments, but to cling to them as truths in this day and age is pitifully conservative. And, frankly, conservatism is something I've always loathed... far more than sloppy proof reading, lazy journalism, bodged layouts, bad grammar, vanity presses, self-indulgence, rehashed content, bandwagon websites, introspective sixth-form poetry, inane diary entries about working at Starbucks, over-pimped Myspace pages, the Facebook mafia, gaming slobs, Second Life social morons, cellphones, virtual reality, e-cards, viral comedy, downloaded music, txtspeak, incomprehensible smilies, ludicrous acronyms or any other past criticisms I've levelled at blogging and the digital revolution at large. (ROFL!).

Starting a web log represents a significant swallowing-of-pride on my part. It is the ingestion of a misplaced esteem born of collections of tattered notebooks and A4 refill pads, carrier bags full of scribbled post-it observations, smudged punk rock epistles crafted with a fountain pen on the back of dole correspondence, and hundreds of incendiary nights spent tap-tap-tapping towards what I believed to be some kind of destiny.

But it's not all humble pie here. Hell no! — blogging is as vain and self-centred as it comes. But so what? So is fashion; so are tattoos; so is playing in a band — and I never raise a stink about those things. Like Morrissey or Nico, the narcissism may in many ways be part of the appeal.

I'm well aware my acquiescence to Web 2.0 will amuse some people. Judging by the shitstorm of "Ha ha, I told you so"s I received after going on Facebook recently, my peers evidently misread me as a sort of outspoken Luddite. They watched me fumble with 'walls' and 'adds' and suchlike with the same smug fascination one might reserve for a hardcore kid breaking edge, or a notorious ex-alcoholic falling spectacularly off the wagon.

The truth is, tossers, even though I don't carry my mobile phone everywhere I go, and don't obsessively update my Facebook status, I am far from a technophobe or cyber-skeptic. It might surprise you to know I made a pilgrimage to Britain's first cybercafe back in 1994 (I believe ‘WOOT’ is the phrase), and later failed a media exam on account of an heretic prophecy that some flight of fancy called the World Wide Web would make the TV revolution look like a piss in the ocean.

Anyway, enough of the ranting; wouldn't want people to think I'm a blogger! To set the record straight: I embrace technology but don't automatically assume it improves our lives. Despite a love of books, newspapers, magazines and the art of letter writing I am an advocate of The Internet Manifesto. And finally, [DEEP BREATH]... with an eaten hat, an eggy face, a mouthful of humble pie and a backpedalled bicycle, I am willing to concede that were Oscar Wilde alive today, I would be retweeting his epigrams on Twitter.

Welcome to The Ruin. It's all downhill from here.

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