Blah, Blah, Blah, Blog On…Why I Quit Blogging Part 2

I couldn’t give a shit about your blog. I’d say it’s nothing personal, but in truth that’s exactly what it is, because your blog is you, your life, your innermost thoughts, out there, in the public domain. I should admire your courage, your openness and honesty. Your brutal truth. Your disarming humility, your humanity. The fact you’re so willing to open up and reveal your insecurities, the mechanisms of your daily existence. You’re real, you’re normal: we’re all insecure, we all eat, sleep, dream. I almost feel as though I know you, as if I’m living your life with you, like I’m there, a part of you and your life, your beautiful, brilliant, ordinary life, where I’m sharing your dreams and hopes, your knock-backs, disappointments and failures, the long, hard hours you put into your work, your family, your writing, your emotional release.

 

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Do as the sign says and love yourself a bit more

 

And therein lies the problem. We all do exactly the same, fundamentally, and it’s no secret as to what it is to be human. Get a fucking grip. you’re not special.

Half the people who have blogs harbour ambitions of being a writer. Stop telling me about how you’re so engrossed in mapping the plot, how you’re starting to live and breathe the characters, your creations, your babies and get on and write it. The endless hours spent writing blog posts about your writing process could be spent actually writing something. But then, so could the hours spent arranging flowers (and posting pretty pictures of your arrangements on your blog), baking (and posting semi-pro shots of your magnificent cakes and mouthwatering confectionary), taking coffee with friends, making – and photographing – endless pots of speciality teas in your humble, small but tasteful cottage kitchen. So you like Earl Grey, love brownies and hate confrontation but more than anything you want to write that book and see it published.

 

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So many blogs, so little time

Me, I like to keep quiet about my personal life, what I get up to. No-one gives a fuck that I suffer chronic insomnia, woke up at 4:30am in a state of panic and drenched in sweat as I wondered how I’m going to pay he next electricity bill and the rent while reeling amidst tumultuous thoughts whereby my abject failure both as an artist and a human being scream at me until the dawn breaks.

No-one cares that I stumbled downstairs in my dressing gown at half past six with a raging hangover, crazed and delirious from a fitful sleep punctuated by nightmares to make a cup of tea – no-brand with semi-skimmed milk from Asda, five days out of date and on the turn – that went cold while I emptied my bowels, a lose movement with a small trace of blood, before hauling my sorry arse into the spare room where the computer – hopelessly out-of-date and only semi-functional – sits and attempt to hack out some words. You don’t need to know how I pissed away my day in isolation, fielding phone calls from my mother and three different offshore sales departments. How I cooked a bland meal of pasty oven chips and a tepid frozen pizza before vegetating on the sofa in front of some brainrot ‘reality’ TV because there’s nothing else on on a Saturday night. No, you just don’t want to know.

Better just get on with it.

 

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You don’t have to have anything (important) to say to blog about it.

 

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk

Sales Fever! Looking Back on Christmases Past

I spent a large chunk of my day today at an out-of-town retail park, where I parted with a small fortune. It was hell on earth, but needs just: I’d been planning to sort myself a new laptop, printer and external hard-drive (I’ve learned – and re-learned – the hard way the importance of backing up all of my work) for months and had been stalling (and saving) for the sales because, being on a budget wanted to make my money go further. And so it was I returned home with an ASUS X53U, an HP Photosmart 6510 and a Samsung hard-drive that measures roughly the size of my wallet and has a whole Terabyte capacity, plus various other non-computing related items for the house.

Needless to say, it was a relief to get home again, and having reserved most of my items on-line in advance, the excursion kept the trudging and legwork and general pain to a minimum. But while out I was acutely aware of just how many people are out there raiding the sales just because goods are discounted, a point reinforced by endless footage n television. Haven’t people got anything better to do, and why do they feel the need to spend money just because? The justification that a £200 jacket had 50% off doesn’t wash – or dry-clean – when considering the flipside of the equation, namely that there’s still 50% on. The last I heard, we were in the middle of a financial crisis. Are people really still dim enough to max out their credit cards just because they can’t resist a ‘bargain’? It would appear they are.

So once again I was reminded that people are idiots, and of the adage that a fool and his money are soon parted. I was also reminded of a blog I posted back in the MySpace days, which I found on my old (and now full to capacity) 300G hard-drive. It may have been posted on this day in 2007, but most of the points still stand, and it’s somehow comforting to observe how little I’ve changed my position. I like to be consistent (although I have taken time off work this year)….

 

Sales Fever! (2007)

 

The fact I haven’t been present on-line for the last couple of days shouldn’t be misinterpreted that I was busy wholeheartedly embracing the traditional Christmas rituals. I don’t absolutely hate everything about Christmas, and for me, it’s a good opportunity to spend a couple of days not straining my eyes in front of the PC and to actually have something approximating a rest.
 
Still, because I don’t consider Christmas to be quite as big a deal as many, and don’t consider it a reason to go on a month-long bender with everyone I’ve ever met, and don’t feel the need to eat my own body weight in poultry and pork, I didn’t feel the need to book the days between Christmas and New Year off work. Being at the office – a place I abhor with a passion – is always more bearable when there’s no work, no phone calls and no other staff in to drive me to distraction with their inane waffle.
 

Business as usual it isn’t. and while I’ve been able to potter around without distraction and amuse myself by switching the contents of people’s drawers and so on, I’ve also given a thought to those thousands of people who work in the retail sector. As I’m writing this on January 27th, I’m quite relieved to be hiding out in an office: I learned from Breakfast on BBC1 that today was expected to be the busiest shopping day of the year. And the footage I saw of the queues and the rucks on Boxing day were disturbing enough. It raised a few issues, not least of all the question ‘why?’ I mean, after a month of intensive shopping, why would anyone want to go shopping through choice? It’s insane. We’re a nation in financial crisis, in case no-one had noticed. But then, it’s this inherent greed and an inability to say ‘no’ – or to be seen to be unable to keep up with the pack – that’s got us here in the first place.
 

But irrespective of whether or not we (collectively) can afford to splurge, one would think that the last thing anyone would want to do after a period of intensive shopping in the run-up to Christmas is go shopping. I mean, it’s hell. It’s not so much a jungle out there as it is total war. There was an item on Breakfast in which some ‘fashion guru’ was giving tips on how to succeed in the sales, revealing a handbag full of energy-giving drinks and snacks (‘bananas are great for energy…’) and advising that in order to grab that must-have bargain, if you need to kick or punch, then so be it. To condone or promote such behaviour is beyond me. It’s not a loaf of bread in the middle of a famine, it’s a fucking handbag. Let’s get things in perspective here.

Despite my general disregard for many of the traditional aspects of Christmas, this eagerness to hit the shops on Boxing day or the day after is concerning. One issue is the fact that people seem to expect shops to be open all the time, and we do appear to be very slowly heading the American way, toward a 24-day society. The demand is for convenience, and that demand is coming to be supplied. And why not? Well, it’s all very well to demand, and to receive supply, but what of those who are required to deliver that supply? I’m talking primarily about those in retail here, of course, because 24-hour shopping requires 24-hour staffing of shops, but there’s inevitably a knock-on effect. We already have 24-hour / overnight couriers and so on… and where’s it going to end? And 24-hour is one thing, but what about 365-day-a-year?

Time was when everything closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Now, banks are about the only things closed on Bank Holidays (well, the clue’s in the name). A friend of mine said “they’ll have us working on Christmas day soon, mark my words.” Now, he’s a cynical old goat, but I think he may have a point. And similarly, the synchronicity of Christmas and the exchange of gifts may actually become a thing of the past the way things are going.

Consider the facts: the January sales now start on Boxing day. December 27th is the biggest shopping day of the year. Many take unwanted gifts back and exchange them for things they ‘really’ want in the sale, and I’ve heard a number of people say they’re waiting till the sales for their presents. So it’s not that much of a stretch to see, 10 years hence, people going shopping on Christmas day when the sales start, perhaps having a slap-up meal in the evening, and exchanging gifts on New Year’s eve, with New Year’s day remaining the only day the shops are closed because half of the population’s too hungover to go shopping. Of course, the reaction to this may eventually be to put the sales back to January again, and dog knows what kind of mayhem or rioting may ensue as a consequence.

The trouble is, the people who are at the head of the queues, who will punch and kick and trample to get their bargains and are demanding most vocally to be supplied appear to the, somewhat ironically, the same people who most rigidly adhere to the notion of a ‘traditional’ Christmas – extended family round for dry turkey and Aunt Bessie’s roast potatoes, followed by falling asleep in a cloud of flatulence in front of Eastenders, before re-enacting Eastenders with a major drunken barney of their own over something petty but that will prevent the different factions within the family from speaking to one another until the same time next year.

I’m not defending Christmas as a religious holiday of course, but given that I’m of the opinion that people should hibernate during the winter months, do think that in terms of maintaining a work/life balance, the demand for everything on tap at all times there should be some time off.

So I’m keeping out of it (I’ve quite enough handbags already, thank you). But alas, I may not be able to avoid the sales entirely. Whereas I usually receive more calendars than I have rooms in the house, this year I didn’t receive a single calendar. Ok, so I’ll buy my own. I just hope I’m not too late and won’t have to end up with a Russell Brand picture calendar.

 

 

 

 

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at christophernosnibor.co.uk