Happy birthday to me. Well, not exactly to me. It’s just that my blog turned 10 yesterday, as a numerate reader kindly reminded me.
The blog was born on the same date as Winston Churchill and Mark Twain, though in all modesty I can’t claim any other than a chronological commonality there.
But never mind megalomaniac parallels. Instead I’ll answer the question that must have haunted you all these years, keeping you away from any normal routine and driving you to sleeping pills: Why the hell did he decide to do this?
The answer is as short as it is embarrassing: crass commercialism.
The idea, nay demand, came from my publisher. I had a book coming out at about that time, and he insisted that any hope of decent sales rested on “getting my name out there more”.
He knew that by then I had fallen out with most conservative editors in town, those who could get my name out before a big audience. My own bloody-mindedness and exaggerated sense of self-worth were to blame for those fissures.
Having spent 30 years at ad agencies, writing what and how others told me to write, I decided that in my other career I’d do things my way or no way. Editors agreed – and happily went for the second option.
They hated my tantrums thrown every time I heard the sacramental phrase “You can’t say that”. I hated their passive complicity with woke subversion.
They felt the need to edit my style. I protested that their sub-editors were illiterate.
They feared a lawsuit every time I wrote something ‘controversial’, and they certainly got flooded with torrents of PCC shrieks (the Press Complaints Commission, in case you’re wondering). I screamed freedom of speech.
Above all, respectable publications didn’t know how to handle someone who rejected post-Enlightenment modernity root and branch, not just its various excesses. Editors of even conservative papers didn’t feel I was on their side. I didn’t feel they knew what exactly they wished to conserve.
It just so happened that at about the same time my friends Paul and Jacqui also mentioned the possibility of doing a blog. Paul, aware of my computer illiteracy, even volunteered to set it up.
That he did, and he is still managing this space, gently but firmly overriding my Luddite objections every time the software gets more sophisticated. If Jacqui is this blog’s godmother, Paul is the midwife (midhusband?).
Long story short, the blog was born and, in common with so many children these days, there was no pre-planning involved in its conception. Also in common with many children, it failed to live up to lofty expectations: the new book didn’t do noticeably better than my pre-blog books had.
Yet the child isn’t exactly unloved. I’ve grown fond of the idea of running an abattoir for the sacred cows of modernity. And thousands of readers around the world don’t mind indulging their voyeurism by looking at all the blood and gore.
Thus the child has grown to a mature age of 10, but it’s moribund. Unlike most children, it’ll never outlive its father.
That’s it. No more self-indulgence, mawkish or otherwise, not until the next 10-year anniversary. Dum spiro spero, eh?