Weekend round-up of stuff in general

I used to do this occasionally, I don’t do it so much now. So here we go for a bit of a round-up of things that don’t fit anywhere else.

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Firstly, and interestingly, I have discovered that I am enjoying writing again. I didn’t for a while, mainly when I didn’t have much free time due to a Demanding Baby, and it became a bit of a ‘thing that I felt I ought to do’ rather than a ‘thing that I loved doing’. Plus, when your job involves writing for money, sometimes it is not quite so easy to write for fun.

If anybody would like me to do some writing for them, for money, then do get in touch.

(If anybody would like to offer me money to STOP writing then I will consider that as well).

I’m trying to work out at the moment if I should write a bit more on here, and do it in different styles, and not worry about whether it’s much good or not… or whether I should stick to the particular approach that everybody knows and is used to. The chicken guide thing was very popular, for instance, but I don’t know if it was out of place and should have gone in a separate ‘chicken’ section. Should I have a different blog for different things, for example? Or put things on different pages, or on a different RSS feed? I do not know. I would be interested in your comments in the comments box, if they are sensible and do not basically say ‘give up, your shit.’

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I met one of my Twitter followers the other day (the pie lady). It was disconcerting, as I hadn’t expected to, despite the circumstances (I was at her pie stall). Plus I had a hangover and was thinking that I might be sick, which I thought would not be great publicity for her, and all I could really think of to say was ‘I am a fan of your work’ which even though it is true was a bit weak and possibly made me sound like a bit of a dick. Anyway, I didn’t realise it, but she mail-orders her pies, so if you want to share in the top-notch pie experience then I would heartily recommend it. Here is her pork pie website.

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A commercial break for two more friends and readers of Private Secret Diary:

I have never read a chick-lit book before, so French Kissing by Catherine Sanderson, who is mainly famous for not blogging any more – worried me a bit, as it has a pink cover. Plus I had to use pliers to uncurl my toes after reading the advert the publisher had put at the back for their ‘fiction for women’ promotion (‘And of course we realise that even when she’s reading, every girl wants to look her best, so we have heaps of beauty goodies…’).

But blimey!!! It is a real page-turner – I can see why people like this sort of thing – genuinely. I ended up annoying the LTLP by exclaiming things like ‘OMG! OMG! She’s going to shag the bloke in the other apartment!!!’ I hope it does well, as Cath’s a good friend and far from being a publicity-hungry velociraptor, she will be a bit embarrassed that I have written about it. Buy it for a female companion, then sneak a read yourself under the duvet.

Neil Forsyth’s Let Them Come Through is gripping – big time. I’ll stick my neck out and say that I think he’s been slightly ill-served by the publishers. The cover doesn’t match the content, the quote on the front doesn’t really say anything and the whole package seems to want to give the impression of some Ben Elton take on spiritualism.

Whereas actually it’s seriously well researched, and hits you with a pacy and plausible world of small-time crookery, casual corruption, cruel lies and general seediness. Neil’s background is in crime journalism (as I recall) and it shows – he pulls off the difficult trick of making you root for an unsympathetic character, and the end leaves you wanting to spend more time in his world, which is always a good sign. It’s his first novel – I hope he’ll write more. Buy it for a male companion, then sneak a read yourself under the duvet.

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Commercial break and round-up over. I shall be going on holiday in a week or so. Remind me to turn the comments off before then, as there are a lot of Evil Spammers around at the moment.

41 Comments

  1. Much happiness at the ‘enjoying writing’. I understand what it’s like to have it feel like a chore and sympathise.

  2. I enjoy all of it, I don’t see any reason to set up a chicken ghetto. Apart from anything the chickens may rise up and fight back. Inclusion is today’s watchword, whether dyslexic, chronically fatigued or beaked-and-feathered.

    Am I allowed to say ‘give up you’re shit’ now?

  3. I don’t care what you write or how you write just don’t stop writing!

  4. do not basically say ‘give up, your shit.’ *Tchoh!* That’s panda grammar right there.

    Anyway, you can relax, Jonny. Those are four words you’ll never hear from me, if only because I’m just not that invested in what you do anyway.

    That said, giving up your shit is generally accepted as the healthy thing to do. Might help with that bloated sensation you’ve been struggling with, not to mention the bloated look…

  5. Just write whatever you like, in whatever style you fancy, about anything whatsoever. But please leave it all here in one place because I’m too lazy to go look for other pages and tags. Thanks.

  6. Nononono – Lola – – it has to be ‘your’ shit. (NB too, Ivan). It is a law, I can’t remember whose law it is, but it’s definitely a law, that people who leave those sorts of comments (see ‘Comment is Free’) will always manage to include something in their comment that makes them look a bigger cock than the person who they are criticising.

    A law.

  7. Like the Greengrocer’s Apostrophe, you mean. I find it extremely embarrassing that I misspelled Conference pears two or three years ago and Al refuses to change the sign as bad spelling is traditional at a fruit’n’veg shop.

    Good for you for having continued, even though not enjoying it much. If you had stopped you probably would not have started again and (mutters shyly) I’d have missed you, not just because this was one of the first blogs I ever read and I’m the loyal type, but because it’s still one of my favourites.

    Please, just write what pleases you and don’t worry about us. I rather like shifts in styles and don’t think it offends the purity of your blog at all, but I won’t be vastly impatient at having to follow signs to other pages if you prefer that. No need to give up your shit, I was highly amused, quite early in your blogging career, at the description of you ‘hurry-waddling’ to the loo at (I think) a DIY shop.

  8. I’m glad you are enjoying writing again as I am a recent returner to blogging and I am so pleased to see you are still going. I see no need to seperate bits out – I think it’s your blog, you can do what you wish with it!

  9. I humbly appologise. Give up, your shite.

  10. Ha! Bonus points for brazening out the missing contraction there, Jonny. Of course, we can’t prove that the error was inadvertant, but on the other hand this isn’t a court of law, so I think I’ll stick with my original interpretation, thanks all the same.

    Mind you, being crap at grammar is no reason to quit writing. If that were so, there’d not be a single blog left by the end of the week. I’d hate to live in a world where that could be true…

  11. Chicken bits intermingled with your shit is just fine.

  12. Put it all here. Don’t have different blogs for different things because, eventually, you will find it difficult to keep them all going.

    The chicken guide was perfect for here because you’re the chicken chap.

    You’re also the post office hero. And the bowling boy. And the pub guy.

    I have a feeling you’re thinking it’s time to change, experiment. Why not share it all here, on your ivate, secret dia, with your…uh…ahmm…fans?

  13. Put it all here. Don’t have different blogs for different things because, eventually, you will find it difficult to keep them all going.

    The chicken guide was perfect for here because you’re the chicken chap.

    You’re also the post office hero. And the bowling boy. And the pub guy, the [bumbling??] dad [heh], the fumbling lover [hehheh].

    I have a feeling you’re thinking it’s time to change, experiment. Why not share it all here, in your ivate, secret dia, with your…uh…ahmm…fans?

  14. argh, how did TWO comments end up there…I was trying to re-write.

    As you can see.

  15. Not to worry, Guyana Gal – neither post said “your shit”, so your little mishap remains uncocklike according to Jonny’s definitive criteria for cocklike comments.

    As for Jonny’s many parts, well, chicken chap, post office hero, bowling boy, pub guy, and bumbling dad I’m all very comfortable with. The fumbling lover, on the other hand – **shudder** please God no, let’s not open that door. That’s one Jonny part I never want to see exposed in writing, anywhere, ever…

  16. Have a great holiday, come back refreshed, and carry on doing whatever takes your fancy here. One can never have enough chickens, as I keep telling my poulterer.

  17. Keep up the fine writing Sir.It’s always a pleasure stopping by.

  18. Write what you want, where you want, when you want. I’ll read it.

    One proviso: the toddler’s arrival didn’t turn you into some mushy daddyblogger. I salute you for that.

    What I’m saying is, you can write what you like but, please, spare us your feelings.

  19. Hazelb – I am very proud of that…

    Thank you everybody for your comments – I was/am genuinely interested to see what people think. I suspect in one way I am a bit shy of ‘diluting’ with other things.

    The chicken thing was perhaps a bad example – I should have cited stuff more like the real-life misery memoir posts I am planning about growing up in a small orphanage surrounded by hate and abuse.

    “Spare us your feelings” – always have, always have. This is unique amongst internet web logs.

  20. Oh please lets have as much misery memoir as possible! It will provide a moving contrast to the chickens and bowls and Drinking in Pubs With Local Characters. Also we will admire you terribly for how well you’ve come through it all with only minor grammatical phobias (there was some apostrophal hate and abuse, wasn’t there. Remember, this is a place of love and support. Except for Ivan, natch, who provides the much needed counter-view which only places the love and support into higher relief [and hides the fact that Ivan has a small cuddly bear named JonnyB]).

  21. If you want to distinguish between chicken stuff and your stuff and other stuff, just use categories – that’s what they’re for, after all. Maintaining more than one blog is a pain, and I should know because, regretfully, I do.

    The law you refer to in comment 6 is Muphry’s Law, also known as the Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation.

  22. Ooooo, Megan, you’re in so much trouble when my lawyers get hold of you!

    I do in fact have something called JonnyB in my bedroom, but the defining adjective would not be “cuddly” so much as “inflatable” – much like the real thing…

  23. Erm. Yerse. Goodness! That’s, rather…

    JonnyB rather than, say, Inflatable Isobel or something?

    I mean

    Not that I want details or anything but

    It does shine a new light on the overall tone of comments and things

    A red light. A red, sordid light.

  24. Now I want to know if I have to put spelling and grammar mistakes into all my posts, or just the abusive ones? Does “ur shit” count?

  25. Like Billy Joel, I love you just the way you are

  26. *sigh* Have you never encountered JonnyB brand condoms, Megan? As in Rubber Jonny, of course, but advertised with Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode”? You have obviously led a very sheltered life, and I salute you for it.

    On the other hand, your stampede for the gutter with Inflatable Isobel suggests that maybe it was not as sheltered as all that, after all…

  27. I will read anything you want to write. I love your blog – it’s like a really good novel that never ends. Keep going!

    Jennifer
    Portland, OR
    USA

  28. [Note – sorry Jonny, obviously this diversion in comments is done with total devotion to you and your brilliant writing. No, really]

    Ivan I had the most difficult of all sheltered lives – I was raised Mormon. I really truly was. So no, Rubber Jonny was not a part of my innocent youth. Of course, I promptly corrupted myself as thoroughly as possible after, hence the diversion into top-end polythene companionship.

  29. I find that an occasional Blogoliday clears the creativity delivery channel (in my case the colon), especially if you have to write a bunch of highly disciplined logically structured stuff in real life.

    And getting appreciative comments helps refurbish the ego after getting an editorial stiletto in the gonads.

  30. You were brought up in an orphanage? Abused? How did you develop your sense of humour then? Oh silly me, you’re British.

    After all the funny stuff, I’d love to see how you write about the orphanage. I think you’ll do ‘misery’ well. Oh, as Clive James said, being a writer is one of the best ways to get revenge. [Something like that, I don’t remember his exact words].

    Pandammonium’s suggestion @21 to use categories is good.

    P.S. Ivan, you like JonnyB, don’t you? All this is just your tough exterior…

  31. I am very alarmed at the direction of this conversation!!! Dolls!!!

    Albeit interested in the branding opportunities.

    Am really pleased to see the stuff about Muphry’s Law, pandammonium. I had no idea there was a written-down law about it – I just thought it was one of those common law things. Brilliant.

  32. Do you want to do a relaunch? As in, you make a big song and dance about it, and do a really jazzy site for a week or so, and then it settles down to being just the same as things were before?

    I like the chickens. More chickens please.

    If you want to branch out a bit, how about guinea pigs?

  33. Like you EVER take any gorm of anything I say!
    However I have soft spot for the bumbling idiot who hasn’t got a clue how much of a BI he is. Totally believable and quite endearing.

  34. I know you are quite techy – would it be possible to fix it so I didn’t have to fill in my details every time? The others are much better at it.

  35. Mormon, eh, Megan? Enough said – not much call for condoms given the standard-issue lingerie, I hear…

    Quoting Vogons from memory, Guyana Gal, I do not comment here to disguise my true feelings for Jonny’s insufferable web-persona. I comment here to throw my true feelings about it into sharp relief. As for the real Jonny, who knows? I might have heaved an empty Newcastle Brown bottle at him during the Edinburgh Festival, but that would have been purely coincidental. I beaned that Pub Landlord guy with a baseball bat, after all, and I’ve never read his blog in my life.

  36. NB I think the LTLP will be very upset if she discovers you called her a Demanding Baby. A preemptive gift of chocolates and flowers may be in order…

  37. At the risk of controversy, I’ve had enough of factual. chicken information but enjoy the humour about them. The best stuff is the ‘last of the summer wine’ stuff involving ST et al.

    By the way, are you still talking to the neighbours, haven’t read about them in a while.

    It’s all funny whatever you write.

  38. Strop – I did that once… exactly that…

    Pat: that should happen automatically, by the power of cookies. Perhaps there is a cookie problem? I don’t know much about them, I’m afraid.

    Ooooops – next post especially for mac…

  39. Ye Gods… ‘Give up, your shit’.

    Give up, a comma, inflecting a moment of pause within the sentence, followed by grammatical failure.

    “You are shit”. Thus may be used “You’re shit” but not “Your shit.”

    “Get your shit out of here.” A correct form of usage perhaps.

    However, One might sympathise with the weight of such criticism. It is wearing indeed to suffer the floundering of imbeciles upon One’s creativity.

    For myself, One is a singer of fine excellence. One is troubled that many ask me to sing “In The Next Street”, which despite much searching, the lyrics and tune elude me. Any assistance appreciated etcetera.

  40. Muphry’s law in action.

    Mac, btw, there is no risk of controversy. It’s exactly why I asked.

  41. Keep doing what you’re doing – my lunch breaks wouldn’t be the same without you!

    Although I am a little lazy so all in one place please – I live in a first floor flat but still read the chicken guide!

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