Why Do You Blog

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.”  Ernest Hemingway

It can be said of life that it’s a mix of successes and disappointments; one grubby little compromise followed by another until eventually the whole thing ends.  But less bleak than that because it also involves cocktails.

It could also, perhaps more accurately, be said of life that it’s all a bit too messy and complex to be distilled into trite slogans.

Sometimes it’s as irritating as the comedy series Miranda.

It can leave a sour taste, an itch you can’t reach, a sneeze that won’t come, a stranger’s tinny earphone leakage; the invasion of the yuppie and his sterility into the places where the wild things (used to) play.

When you’ve had your fill of the intimate smells of others on crowded trains and buses, or you’ve seen one too many shitty memes tagged LOLZ!!, or yet another cod-spiritualist aphorism swiped from a greeting card and posted on MyFace.  When (shudder) the gin runs out…

That’s why I write.

Or as someone else once put it

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”  Graham Greene

Then again it’s bloody difficult

I’ve always considered writing the most hateful kind of work. I suspect it’s a bit like fucking—which is fun only for amateurs. Old whores don’t do much giggling.”  Hunter S Thompson

Luckily, the gin can help

Write drunk; edit sober” Ernest Hemingway

That’s better.  Why do you write?


PS: Yes this was just a transparent excuse to use that Hunter S Thompson quotation.


“In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”

We were somewhere outside of Guildford when the clock tolled the passing of this foul year of our Lord twenty hundred and twelve.

Foul-tempered phrases flowed from the acerbic typewriter keys of Hunter S Thompson.  In particular, his magnum opus (or at least the one I like the most) Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas is a pungent mix of pithy bullshit and addled insights – a pulchritudinous gumbo, clever lines floating to the surface then sinking to the depths in a cavalcade of putrid bubbles. I highly recommend it.

Apparently, today finds me in a florid frame of mind.

That an abortive attempt at gonzo journalism should prove to be the basis of such an extraordinary novel is probably a life lesson.  Life has many roads and you don’t know where you’ll end up and stuff.  I’ll leave you intrepid cod psychologists to work through the details.

I’d not read Fear and Loathing in years, nor even thought about it.  But the mind is a wondrous/bizarre/specious (delete as applicable) contraption with the power to spew up old tangents and past memories and then proceed to be fascinated with them, turning them over like some species of curate’s egg.

If one were so inclined, one might wonder what Hunter S Thompson would’ve made of 2012.  All those scandals and appalling events, freak weather, hideous tragedies and an extraordinary amount of fatuous twaddle from the mouths of our elected officials.

What would the man who described GW Bush as a baffled little creep have made of the GOP nomination process, or Romney’s electoral strategy, for example?  Would any vitriol have been spared for the LIBOR manipulation scandal, or the apparent truth that corporation tax is increasingly an opt-in scheme?  What would he say about the ever-growing use of drone strikes, not to mention the general sabre-rattling and chauvinism?

War has a brutalising effect on those who wage it same as it does on those against whom it is waged.  Something to bear in mind as we enter the second decade of the war on terror.

In the mournful absence of the man himself, I’d suggest the opening quotation as a fitting if cynical epitaph for the year as a whole.  

Apparently, today finds me in a somewhat bleak frame of mind.

I blame it on January – it’s cold, it’s dark and it rains.  The world is bathed in the orange glow of artificial streetlights as sunlight recedes into the memory – a myth from childhood, like the Easter bunny or tooth fairy.  And while I like rain and darkness and streetlights on the tv screen, in really real reality it gets a bit trying after a while.

This, incidentally, is why New Year’s Resolutions™ are so patently absurd.  It would be better to have new school year resolutions, or new financial year resolutions – start when the weather is balmy and people wear fewer items of clothing, that’s what I say.

That being said, January is probably as good a time of year as any to reconsider one’s life choices – including whether it’s advisable to use ‘one’ as a pronoun given it reeks of pomposity and general twatishness.

On that note, here are my own vague intentions to be noted and then forgotten by January 12th:

  • Take more pleasure in the little victories – they’re not more important than the big ones but they are more frequent.  Conversely, don’t sweat the little stuff so much.
  • Stop sounding like a daytime tv therapist.
  • It’s ok to be bad at things.
  • People take life in general too seriously and don’t take either the kitchen or the bedroom seriously enough.  Don’t do that.  Low blood sugar and not enough sleep are probably detrimental to the soul.  Also, if you have more sex you’ll obviate the need for dieting and a gym membership.  And the hormone release IS good for the soul.
  • You used to know the difference between righteous anger and self-righteous anger.  Learn that again.
  • I’m in love with Victoria Coren.  And Camilla Long. And Hadley Freeman.  And AA Gill.  Basically, make me laugh and I’m yours (I’m that sort of cheap hussy).  That’s not an intention, more an observation. But it’s generally considered advisable to focus on the things you like.

Predictions for 2013:

  • Comic book films by Marvel and something with darker lighting and more serious faces from Nolan (sort of).  Stephanie Meyer adaptation.  Katniss Everdeen.  Hobbits.
  • Skinny jeans.
  • Bad year for manufacturers of Mayan calendars.
  • Tabloids to continue to mix prurience with moral hand-wringing – aroused in all senses of the word.  Scandals, doom ‘n gloom and general oblivion to continue to be the order of the day.
  • (I will re-read Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.)

Ladies, gentlemen and miscellaneous others, 2013 has arrived: say hello to the new king, same as the old king.

Fortunately, I quite liked the old king.