I receive an email.
This is unusual. People do not normally email me these days. At one point, during the emerging glory years of British blogging, I would get several emails a day from the people, telling me how wonderful my stuff was, that I deserved a book/magazine contract, how I had changed their entire life etc. etc. (I paraphrase.) These emails have inexplicably dried up.
I open the message, and am stunned by what I see.
The Mysterious Parka Stalker of British Blogging has returned.
My head swims. It is barking mad; like being back in the ancient days of 2005, before Twitter and Facebook, when people with blogs ruled the Internet (not that this is a blog, it is a serious and learned diary).
Would I like, the message asks, to be sent a parka?
The mysterious parka stalker of British blogging is a bit difficult to explain, but basically he/she went through a phase of gratuitously sending parkas to bloggers for no discernable motive or return. Anonymous, unprompted free parkas. There is a useful and quite detailed write-up on Jonathan Cricklybee’s blog here, which will give you some background.
Then, one day, the MPSoBB got his coat and disappeared, never to be heard of again.
I think hard before I reply. Although I am always interested in something for nothing, I am keen to attempt to find out more before deciding whether to accept or not. It is a little frustrating, as I feel that I have to ask gentle and courteous questions whereas what I really want to establish is whether the MPSoBB is some sort of con artist who will somehow rip me off by sending me a parka and/or will have masturbated into the lining.
It is a quandary. It would be quite easy to get my used parka sent to a business address or the Post Office etc. so that I do not reveal my own home location to a complete stranger, let alone one of potential liner-masturbating persuasion. But parkas are not very common, and I feel that walking around Norfolk wearing one might then blow my cover. I have no wish to become blogging’s John Lennon.
I am not sure what to do.