Greatest Hits

January 3, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Posted in Blogging about blogging | 4 Comments

Since it worked out rather well for me last time, I’ve decided to test that old cliche about lightning not striking in the same place. Yes, I’ve put myself forward for the Orwell Prize. Yes, I realise that I’m full of it…

Anyway, the list below comprises what may or may not be my greatest hits. I’ve not really ranked ’em in order of preference, but the first post is the one I’m most pleased with.

    1. The Politics of Pulp

    Whilst pulling this all together, I realised just how much this blog exists in a permanent state of identity crisis. Some of my posts will be wry or irreverant, some wistful, others furious. Some posts will have a quite chatty tone; others will be formal, as if I occasionally forget that blogs have commenters. Some (the majority of this list) will be quite personal and relate to background or past experience; others (the majority of the blog as a whole) will be more dry, wonkish discussions about social or foreign policy.

    One of the big pieces of advice that would-be bloggers are often given is to ‘let your personality shine through’. Alas, The Bleeding Heart Show doesn’t have a personality; it has six.

    I think I do that because I wouldn’t be able to sustain blogging for this long if I wrote in one particular style or about a single subject. I always thought the reason I quit writing about music because I’d run out of things to say; in hindsight, I realise that I stopped because I’d exhausted the way I said things. I’d become bored of my writing style, so I stopped writing.

    So I guess it’s the fluctuations in style and subject matter which have kept this blog going for far longer than I thought I could. I realise, of course, that this is probably quite disorientating for readers who’re used to some… oh, I don’t know… consistency from their bloggers, so for those of you who keep sticking around; cheers! You’ve shown far more tenacity than me.

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    1. You needn’t worry. It is usual for people to disparage their own efforts, but looking from outside I hail what you do. I don’t think you’d end up as my choice for ultimate victor but certainly you should storm through the early stages. It is probably Heresy Corner or People’s Republic Of Mortimer (as much as the former’s latest post is rather questionable & the latter deserves to be rebuked for never posting!) that I would plump for.

      Having said that, it is a yearly reminder of how excellent some writing is. But also of how utterly shite some writing is- do you remember last year how we were all tearing our hair out at the thought of certain gossip columnists doing so well?

      It seems to me, though, that you’re a natural blogger. A bit like I’m a natural commentor, but may not fare so well were I to have a blog of my own.

      As for regular reading. Generally people of worth are added to my roll & stay there until they offend me, which you’ve managed to avoid doing thus far :)

      Although I suppose some moderate self-doubt is a spur to work harder, which is always nice. You don’t have to always be writing your Ph.D thesis in every post. But as I say with regards to my own comments, as much as they may seem to be incoherent, I don’t think any of them are, & that goes for you whatever you or certain readers may think. Being as you are well informed & a thinker by nature, even if you shoot from the hip it will work.

      I suppose there is sometimes a problem, though, when dealing with an audience that isn’t of your exact culture- I still go to that blog “The Anchoress”, I like reading it, but I can see how some of the commentors view me as a sort of alien form of life because my culture is so wildly different from theirs- a problem I’ve never had with first, second or third generation immigrants, bizarrely enough.

      Sorry for saying all about me- but it is about you & your blogging too. Right, you’ll doubtless want to go & blush now :)

      • Blushing over. In a situation like this, my Nan would respond with something like “ah, you’re a good’un”.

        I too would be thrilled if Heresiarch got more recognition, and would be equally happy if Alix Mortimer just blogged a bit more often. The difficulty with this prize is that there are actually too many good bloggers both in amateurville and the mainstream media. It was surprising to find that Laurie Penny wasn’t longlisted last year – so much of a surprise that I actually felt a bit guilty about it!

        Yeah, I seem to remember Justin of Chickyog nearly being flogged by a certain somebody for suggesting that a writing prize should be, y’know, a prize for writing. Wasn’t anything particularly edifying about that little spat.

        At the end of the day, tastes for certain kinds of writing are just as subjective and personal as tastes for anything else: clothes, film, books, music, food. There are some who love Iain Dale’s writing and think Guido’s riotously funny. There are some who love Unity’s forensic investigations, and others who think they’re a drawn-out bore. Because I vary a lot, there’ll be some who’ll like me on some days and think I’m a pretentious prat on others.

        For my part, I just think the best way of keeping this thing moving is to keep questioning & critiquing myself, and exploring whether there are other, better ways of expressing my own thoughts on stuff.

        You’re right, though, that culture can be important. Because I understand the stuff you’ve written about your background, I can often get a sense of where you’re coming from with your writing. I imagine the “First Things” crowd have trouble with that, partly because you’re literally thousands of miles apart, but also maybe because the internet creates a bit of an empathy gap.

    2. […] of Orwell Prize longlisted 2009 Neil’s top ten are worth a […]


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