Peter, at the highly esteemed Naked Blog, has said some kind things about me and says he has now lost his monopoly as the country's leading fifty-plus blogger. As a result, several people have made the journey to Lupin Towers, a couple putting calling cards through the door and others gazing across the moat from the public footpath, deterred by the packs of Rottweilers and the clouds of cigarette smoke emanating from the windows. The Filipino houseboy got so excited at seeing people mid-week that he forgot to iron my shirt cuffs and has been threatened with the sack.
I don't think I'm yet much of a rival to Naked Blog, which is more quintessentially a blog than this one. Or, to put it another way, it's a more bloggish blog. Peter takes you into his world and moves seamlessly from his aches and pains to current affairs. He's also unpredictable: sometimes very funny, sometimes writing movingly about the futility of life.
When you start a blog, you have no idea how it will develop. I began very earnestly and journalistically and slowly realised that the joy of blogging is the freedom to say what you like, unedited and uncensored. It's also nice to be able to write your own headings. Many people think newspaper columnists write their own attention-grabbing headings, whereas they're written by sub-editors. I used to play a game of deliberately putting the word 'sex' in a column in an innocuous context, for example 'suitable for either sex'. You could guarantee that 'sex' would appear in the title. One sub-editor sometimes gave me a lift to work and would proudly tell me the title he'd put on my column that week. I had to pretend to be pleased because if you upset a sub-editor their revenge can be terrible.
It's quite a shock to a lazy bastard like me to find I've already written over 4,000 words without the threat of a deadline. Can I keep it up? Possibly, if only with the help of the Viagra that is the rage at a world gone mad which comes to us at a certain age. The greatest threat to my current prolixity is that I soon become sick of my own voice. That's why I could never be a politician. I think a lot of writers (if I can be so presumptuous) think their work is good but that many others are better and are irritated by their own quirks of style and idiosyncracies. James Henry, for example, has a light, easy and whimsical style that I could never emulate. He must also be very versatile to have written things as different as Green Wing and Bob the Builder. My own writing is a bit too showy. There's too much artifice, even when I don't re-write. You can often see the strings. And there's that love of Latin, obscure and polysyllabic words. This may be a result of overdosing on the 19th century English novel in my youth. Aspiring writers are always told to read a lot but it can create its own problems.
So, in an outburst of the vernacular and the colloquial (shit, there I go again) I'll stop dissing myself, putting myself down and beating myself up and just hope that I don't get on the tits of my handful of readers as much as I do on my own.