Thursday, June 24, 2010
As a general rule, my Fanny and I keep ourselves to ourselves. Don’t get me wrong - in my youth I was a prominent frequenter of the most exclusive gaming hells and a member of several highly specialised dining clubs, but these days I prefer a quiet life, largely because I find people en masse rather nauseating. It’s the lack of control that bothers me. I would much prefer to cloister myself with my Fanny and a family-size tub of Germoline than haul my old bones to a cocktail party where I might find myself forced to exchange pleasantries with a man in slip-on shoes, or the kind of woman who touches one’s arm while she talks.
This reviewing lark is rather like a cocktail party. You never know who is going to buttonhole you next, although you can usually tell within a few moments whether or not you are going to enjoy the experience. We all make snap judgements based on our own set of social markers and we are usually right. Personally, I avoid visible swastikas, t-shirts with comedy slogans and readers of the Daily Mail, but it’s different for everyone.
Of course, the most frightening words one can hear from a new acquaintance, the words guaranteed to put the kibosh on any kind of social connection, are any variation on the theme of, “I’m mad, me! Completely insane! All my friends say I’m just totally bonkers!” In my experience, this sentiment usually translates as, “I am a deeply conservative person who, out of the desperate desire for a personality, occasionally wears stripy tights,” and has me edging towards the door every time, no matter how divine the hors d’oeuvres.
Imagine my delight, then, when I saw the title of today’s blog. For a brief moment, I fancied that maybe I was judging too soon and that Mind of a Madwoman was going to be a stunning piece of online outsider art that would forever change the way we understand madness and sanity. For a brief moment, I was a fool. The Madwoman was Maggie, and when I saw her over the metaphorical punchbowl my first thought was that she had better be serving some pretty bloody extraordinary hors d’oeuvres.
This will not be a particularly link-laden review, best beloveds. If you pop over to Maggie’s blog you will soon see that it is a Möbius strip of repeating content. Maggie likes 'memes', you see, Random Thoughts Tuesdays and Self-Obsession Saturdays and all of that sorry business. She seems to have a particular soft-spot for lengthy lists of arse-clenchingly inane questions, real Paxmanesque posers like, “do you recycle?” and “do you prefer coffee or tea?” Maggie and her cronies swap these penetrating puzzlers, think up smart answers and then post them in reel after reel of arrogant banality. For the love of Princess Anne, why would anyone be interested in your favourite ‘BBQ’ food?
This post was the nadir, especially the part where she has the sheer lack of class to beg for corporate sponsorship. It was at this juncture that I was forced to have Fanny break out my emergency poultice and perform the Special Manoeuvres. I suppose it’s the kind of sassy ‘telling it like it is’ malarkey that is so prevalent in the milk-clogged world of ‘mommy’ blogging and I know there’s an audience for it, but I state for the record here and now that if I ever meet a member of that audience face-to-face, I will slap them until we are both weeping.
It’s all just laziness, and although I fully condone sloth as a lifestyle choice, it should have no place in your work. It’s a shame as well, because Maggie has her charms. She has a readable style, she can be funny and irreverent. If I were going to give Maggie any advice, which it would appear I am, I would say Maggie, stop pissing about and submit some articles to some magazines or something. You might not get published, but you’ll have to concentrate and you’ll have to stop relying on borrowed ideas, and that will make you a better writer. I think you can do better. You’re wasting yourself on this froth. If anyone ever asks you again if you prefer a shower or a bath, you just walk away my duck, just walk away.
I appreciate that I may come across a touch harsh, but I do feel strongly about this (Fanny’s heard it all before. She’s rolling her eye at me). There’s something about a blog that seems to make people think it’s better to post lazy content than nothing at all, and that makes me a sad, sad clown. And now I am a sad clown whose dreams will be haunted by a parade of self-proclaimed ‘madwomen’ waggling their ‘boobs’ at me and shrieking at the top of their lungs about their husbands’ toilet habits and exactly why they prefer foolscap to A4.
So I try to subtly shuffle closer to the cloakroom, pouring my drink in a potted plant and avoiding eye-contact with the hostess, my only comfort the thought that Fanny is waiting outside in the rickshaw. It’s going to take a long time and a lot of unguents for the poor thing to settle me tonight, and so on my Fanny’s behalf I feel I should make an example of Maggie. Consider her a casualty in the war against banality.
Two flaming fingers for you, Meggers. Feel free to return them when you’ve stopped squandering yourself on all this.