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Virgins and Generals

It's been very odd, doing this blog. Truth be told, I'm not much of a fan of the blog. I read the odd one — someone will send me a link if they think the person is talking about something I'm interested in — but, really, I find it so sad when you read these huge outpourings of opinion and revelation and then scroll down to the bottom where you see the dread phrase — "0 COMMENTS."

It points up the other big problem with the internet as publishing forum, too — the world's a blog, a cyberspace Speaker's Corner: everyone's up their soapbox, shouting their heads off, reckoning their two cents is worth the same as everyone else'sthe world's a blog, a cyberspace Speaker's Corner: everyone's up their soapbox, shouting their heads off, reckoning their two cents is worth the same as everyone else's. But it never is, of course. Traditionally in creative fields, filters have been required: in publishing there are editors. There are A&R men and record companies in music, and producers and studios in the film industry. Now, this is far from a perfect system. Given that many of the aforementioned professionals — the editors, A&R men, and studio executives — are, of course, utter, utter spastics, a whole load of good stuff is rejected and a whole bunch of crap gets printed, recorded, and filmed. But at least it's a system.

I'm very old (40) and so I don't understand the younger generation's throbbing compulsion to share everything from holiday photos to your innermost thoughts with the whole world. The total abandonment of private space. (I keep wondering — would Joe Orton have had a blog? Oscar Wilde? Would Orwell?) Indeed, writing this has been a bit like being forced to publish your diary every day: thrilling in a way. But odd.

Of course, I don't actually keep a diary. I did for a few years, when I was struggling to get published, to have a career. Then, when all that happened, I didn't seem to have time anymore. Perhaps it's just as well. I'm very fond of that old dictum "Only virgins and Generals keep diaries."I'm very fond of that old dictum "Only virgins and Generals keep diaries." (And who said that? Sounds like Churchill to me. If in doubt on a quote, always go with Winston.) Anyway, being somewhere in-between the two, it's probably best I don't bother...

Oh, shed update: the plasterer is arriving this morning. I'm not sure what the American term for plasterer is. Probably "plasterer." Perhaps someone can enlighten me? (You see, I'm pulling out all the stops to avoid the dread "0 COMMENTS" at the foot of the page...) Or at least, he's meant to be. He rang me nearly an hour ago asking where he could park, Helen saw a van with "PLASTERER" on the side drive by the house, and then... nothing. I've tried calling his mobile, but no answer.

UPDATE! It's four hours later — lunchtime — and the guy seems to have driven off into some Plasterer Bermuda Triangle at the end of our street. He was literally outside our house, and then he never appeared and he will not answer his phone! I hope he comes back — the painters arrive at the weekend and then the guy comes to do the carpeting. None of which can happen until the plasterwork is done.

The mystery of the disappearing plasterer. Seems as good a cliffhanger to end on today as any...

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John Niven read English literature at Glasgow University and spent the next ten years working in the United Kingdom's music industry. His debut novella, The Band: Music From Big Pink, was published in 2006 as part of the 33 1/3 series. His second novel, Kill Your Friends, was published in 2008. He lives in Buckinghamshire.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. The Band: Music From Big Pink (33...
    Used Trade Paper $10.50
  2. Kill Your Friends (P.S.) New Trade Paper $14.99

John Niven is the author of Kill Your Friends (P.S.)

One Response to "Virgins and Generals"

    Brockman January 22nd, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Orton = possibly.
    Wilde = definitely.
    Orwell = never!

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