There was a fairly massive “UK blog event” last week, which culminated in the publishing of a book called Shaggy Blog Stories (you HAVE ordered your copy, haven’t you?). It was a remarkable undertaking and everyone involved should be, and has been, rightly applauded. Plaudits well earned if you ask me.

Of course, as with anything and everything, there has been a little bit of a backlash which mike has handled with his usual aplomb (I do wish he’d stop making things looks so damn easy). I guess some people always presume the worst in these situations and I think that reflects more on them than they care to realise.

Now, I should point out that I’m not in the book. Nor was I involved in the creation process. Hell, I didn’t even offer a contribution. And I’m not for a minute suggesting that I wasn’t given the opportunity to be involved, and I’m quite sure that had I offered, mike would have found some use of my ‘talents’. This post is most certainly not a “toys out of pram” moan, nor a dig against anyone who was involved.

However the simple fact is that I wasn’t, for a variety of reasons that I’ll mention in a minute, involved with this project at all. On any front.

This irks.

And I’m not sure why.

Is it because I’m not involved in something that would reflect well on me?

Quite possibly, but I doubt that’s the main reason. I’ve done charity work in the past, and I’m quite happy with how (most) people see me.

Is it because I’m jealous of those that are involved?

This does seem more likely, but I don’t think it’s the full story. Yes, I’ll happily concede that part of me looks down the list of people involved and wishes I’d done more, done anything, to help out. The ME ME ME part of my personality craves attention, I’m certainly not unique in that respect. Anyway, one of the reasons I didn’t contribute any content for possible inclusion in the book is that I’m just not that funny. I don’t read anything I’ve written and end up snorting coffee all over the keyboard. And no, I’m not jealous of those people who ARE funny (or at least who WRITE funny… ohh you know what I mean), envious possibly, but not jealous.

As it happens, the fact that I’m not (that) funny wasn’t one of the major reasons why I didn’t contribute. It was more a series of unfortunate circumstance.

When I received the email from mike I was in the midst of swapping over to a new PC, as well as going through a fairly full-on induction week at my work. I was getting home around 7pm most nights and was in bed by 10-10.30pm. There was little time for anything that wasn’t in my direct line of sight, most emails around that time were instantly responded to or deleted. Only a few were left hanging around to action later on.

Ultimately I ignored mike’s email for a couple of days, figuring I’d get around to it at some point… but I never did. By the time I realised it was too late. The deadline had passed.

“Ohh well”, I thought. “I doubt I would’ve been able to contribute anything funny, but hey, maybe I could help out with the proof-reading. I do that as part of my job anyway so, yeah, I should drop mike an email and see if he needs any help”.

But I didn’t.

And that’s what irks me.

This funny little hobby of ours is largely dependant, like most ‘social’ phenomenon, on a few leaders and regular faces chipping in when required. Occasionally I’m one of those leaders (on a smaller scale) and I do like to chip in as and when I can. But this time I didn’t.

The outcome of that decision is that I wasn’t involved in any aspect of the production of Shaggy Blog Stories and, whilst that means I miss out on the kudos, publicity, and general well-beingness that was/is generated, it also means that I let myself down.

That conclusion has snuck up on me. I had no idea I’d end up saying that, and certainly didn’t envisage that this would become a public ‘apology’. In fact I’m cringing at the though of posting this… so let’s skip forward onto one last thought. One that keeps circling round my head and that I can’t seem to pin down or shoo away:

It irks me that I wasn’t involved because I consider myself a “reasonably well-known” blogger (in the UK at least), and I SHOULD have been involved!

Now, how far up my own arse does that make me sound? Apalling, I know, and yes I realise that the logic here is completely flawed, that I CHOSE not to be involved and have abso-fuckin-lutely no right to be thinking in such ways. Yet here I am, thinking it.


I wish I had some way of closing this post. Some way of saving a little face, but sometimes you can’t. Sometimes the truth just has to be put thrown out there into the ether.

I wonder what will come back…


  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “should” is the most dangerous word in the English language.

  2. I didn’t contribute because I really don’t think I write in a funny style. A funny (peculiar) style, perhaps, but not funny (amusing). Perhaps I’m occasionally amusing, but I don’t think that would stand up outside the context of my blog.

    Which also left me feeling slightly bereft. I’ve been blogging as long as pretty much anyone in the UK (I started around the same time as Vaughan, only a little later than Meg and waaaay before those Johnny-Come-Latelys that win awards) and somehow I felt that that longevity meant that I *should* contribute something. But I didn’t feel that I had anything useful to offer in terms of content and, like you, lacked time and focus to offer any other assistance.

    Hell, I’ve yet to post a link to the project on my blog.

    So, perhaps, next time (if there is a next time) there should be a project for unamusing, time-poor, long-in-the-tooth bloggers like me (and a few others, I’m sure). Just so that we don’t get a guilt complex.

  3. I think, at the very least, you have to set your non-involvement in SBS against all the hard work you’ve done for Post of the Week, which has helped so much to make the site such a success. And, come to that, your excellent design work on the thrice-garlanded MBIAT. You do loads! You can’t do everything!

  4. Great idea graybo.

    Boring Dog Stories anyone?? 😉

    Hg, you have indeed. I don’t learn that fast though…

    And mike, that’s an excellent way to put it. I wasn’t really fishing for compliments though, honest!! (but if anyone else wants to chip in with one.. or three, feel free!)

  5. How about Black Dog Stories, in which all UK blogger depressives (seasonally affected or otherwise) recount their tales of metaphysical woe?

    God, I almost want to do this…

  6. i missed that post yesterday? wha’ happened?

    ANYWAY gordon! i think you make a cracking contribution to blogland through all your projects, you’re a hero!

    (btw, i know the charity is called ‘Comic’ Relief and all, but perhaps next time they could do a book of non-comic entries. this would be more in line with what they put on the telly for Comic Relief, which is hardly ever that comic, unless you define comic as “hiding behind the couch and cringing”)

  7. Been thinking about this myself, although I’m in no way irked at not being included. I have written some funny stuff (mainly code) that at least one person over the last 4 years has laughed at but didn’t submit and didn’t get involved. However, I’m not irked in the least because there’s absolutely no reason to be. My readership only consists of the London Olympics Organisation Committee and they haven’t commented for ages.

    Curiously, however, I was thinking of something vagualy similar to the Black Dog suggestion but with a title more along the lines of Miserable (or Grumpy) Old Bloggers.

  8. There is a pub near my parents that used to be called the Black Dog – except now it is called the Olive Branch.

    Just an aside.

  9. I submitted a contribution, and wasn’t included. I was pretty hurt, to be honest – far more than I should have been since I don’t set out to be funny. I missed the backlash, but I did post about my own upset on my own blog, which I think I’m perfectly entitled to do.

  10. Black Dog Stories?

    Oh I really don’t like to talk about my woes.

    Though it is a *very* good idea.

  11. I think you’re being a bit too hard on yourself Gordon. I’ve met you and you make me laugh, as does your writing.

    As for “..but perhaps next time they could do a book of..” isn’t it SELF-publishing we’re talking about here? SBS is surely an idea that could run and run and any of us could do it. How about a SBS Scottish edition later in the year for a more local charity or Children in Need? Different sections could have different themes (funny, political, techy, cats, whatever..)? Give ourselves more time to do it and hammer the Scottish Blogs community hard? Before we know it, we’ll be in a Glasgow tv studio holding a big cheque and chatting up Jackie Bird backstage.

    And then we badger the Scottish publishers. How great would be it be to walk into Waterstones and see Shaggy Scottish Blog Stories piled high at the front door?

    Something for the agenda on May 19th?

  12. So you get to be in mike’s book, but he doesn’t get to be in yours. And the next time a blog initiative originates in England there’ll be an understandable “Scots need not apply” clause. Yes, there is some mileage in what you say, Neil, but there are risks too in becoming too parochial. (Or National, whichever way you cut it.)

    The conventional publishing route would be a nightmare too, UNLESS you can persuade contributors to work for nothing so that you (or someone) takes all the loot. This has been done successfully (for the proprietors) twice to my knowledge – first Tim Worstall’s 2005: A Year In Blog, and then 2006: A Blog Directory (or words to that effect.) Both of these were UK-wide projects, and I contributed to the 2005 book.

    None of the above means to undermine or belittle your idea, rather just to air a viewpoint. Scots do like to get the best of both the UK world and the Scottish world, and with the transparency of the internet, rather than the obscurity of the Diddy Parliament, we might not get away with it this time.

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