Yesterday’s outage.

Apologies for the extended break in service yesterday; this was apparently caused by a wonky server at my (normally faultless) hosting company.

While the site was down, I amused myself by compiling a “state of play” round-up of life in the Big Blogger house, six weeks into the experience. My character over there has been showing occasional signs of going a bit “panto villain” (see also the recent “party manifesto” task), and I’m wondering whether to build on that further (for the sake of entertainment), or whether to rein it in (for the sake of gamesmanship). We shall see.

K and I are relieved to hear that our newest friend Quickos made it back to Belgium safe and sound. He has already started telling his readers all about his exciting adventures with K in the Princess Diana Memorial Garden, and his Daddy tells me that there will be plenty more to come. We are already missing his cheerful little face around the place. No, seriously, we are: it’s the weirdest thing, but we have never before met a glove puppet with so much natural charisma.

Finally, don’t miss the excellent “Consequences” guest post below, from brand new blogger on the block, (and Kevin Ayers fan, woo!) Rob of Eine Kleine Nichtmusik. A full day later, and I’m still quietly seething…

12 July 2005: task 8: the mean mike party.

“Heal the world, make it a better place, for you and for me and the entire human race…”

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Spare me the tree-hugging hippy shit, please. Now, let’s get real, shall we? Because the true primary task of every successful politician is, of course, mercilessly slagging off the opposition. And this is a task from which I do not intend to flinch.

So let’s see who we’re up against. The Don’t Kill People Party? Yes, all very nice. I’m sure. But since when have single-issue gesture politics but bread on the table? Eh? EH? Oh, do stop hissing like that. The Mean Mike Party is the party of straight talking, and straight actin…

Moving swiftly on. Over here, in the fetching brown rosettes with the red diagonal lines, we have the No More Bull Shit Party, with their promise to banish “flannel, lies, spin and sound bites” from politics. To which I say: you might as well banish competitiveness from sport, the profit motive from business, and roast turkeys from Christmas Day. What’s that at the back? No madam, you may call it cynicism; I call it realism.

Let us turn now to the fluffy inanities of the Party Party, whose woefully muddle-headed thinking is swiftly exposed by its frankly terrifying conflation of “fun and games” with “clowns and bouncy castles”. Let’s face it: if you are of voting age, and clowns and bouncy castles are still your idea of fun, then perhaps you and the Party Party deserve each other. Now run along and play, and let the grown-ups get along with the job of running the country.

Finally, we have a potentially lethal personality cult, whimsically masquerading as the JonnyB Party. Now, just because someone has a certain facility for weaving gently amusing vignettes of rural East Anglian life, does it follow that they should be entrusted with one of the great offices of state? Two words: Gyles and Brandreth. Evidence enough that light entertainment and politics make distinctly queasy bedfellows. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with the colour orange.

All of which leaves you with just one clear alternative: the Mean Mike Party. Vote for us. Not because we’re going to insult your intelligence by dangling pie-in-the-sky idealism in front of you – but because, like all the truly great politicians who have come before us, we are simply driven by a healthily crazed lust for power, glory, posterity, and a rather smart address in Central London.

July 13 2005: the big blogger house in repose.

As his sixth week in the Big Blogger house draws to a close, Mike takes a good look around the premises. With the initial rush of excitement long since faded away, the blogmates have now settled into established, familiar routines.

Normally such a vocal presence, Zoe has been strangely muted of late, spending most of her waking hours languishing in the Pimms-filled swimming pool, and leaving it only to whisk up the odd cocktail or two in the special shaker that Clair was kind enough to leave behind. Frankly, it has proved difficult to get her onto any subject other than vegetables, with which she seems to have become unhealthily obsessed. Maybe the re-appearance of her beloved Quickos will finally drag her out of this sorry state of maudlin, mumbling, booze-addled torpor.

We haven’t seen much of NML lately. Has she “done a Clair” and locked herself in the shed, or has she escaped through the blogflap for even hotter, even sunnier climes? Either way, Mike finds himself sorely missing their late night dancing and karaoke sessions.

As for JonnyB, he seems to have taken up permanent position by the toaster. Indeed, woe betide anyone who tries to usurp his position as Toast Maker In Chief, as he is liable to get quite prickly. Especially if the toast comes out too orange. For some not entirely unconnected reason, he has also hidden all the marmalade and apricot jam. Frankly, we’re getting rather concerned. Also, he will keep spinning us whimsical little vignettes concerning his alleged encounters with orange-skinned minor celebrities. Can he really be so well connected?

Alan has formed his own little clique within the house – “Team Wiggle” – which consists of him and a bunch of frankly rather tatty looking glove puppets. They spend most of their time hogging the sofas in the living area, and glaring at anyone who comes within spitting distance. Except for Quickos, whom they have welcomed back with open arms. Are Team Wiggle trying to “recruit” the little fella? Mike is sure that this won’t wash. (Much like Quickos himself, for that matter. K did remark upon the smudges.)

Miss Mish has rather gone to ground since the weather took a turn for the tropical, preferring to spend her time buried beneath her largest parasol, book and gin in hand, wreathed in plumes of smoke from her Karelia Slims (or Sobranie Pinks, as the mood takes her). Worried that she might be suffering from Shoe Retail withdrawal symptoms, we have made repeated entreaties to Big Blogger to set up a makeshift Shoe Boutique in the Diary Room – but alas, to no avail.

With so many subdued housemates mooching about the place, not even The Girl‘s repeated and strenuous efforts to “sex things up” can lift their spirits. Yes, Naked Jacuzzi night was certainly lots of fun (not to say educational, in Mike’s case at least). Yes, all those games of Pin The Tassle On The G-Spot certainly had pulses racing for a few nights, back in the early days. But frankly: when you’ve seen one “intimate piercing”, you’ve basically seen them all. The rest is mere positioning. And so, sadly, it looks as if The Girl’s determination to have the first ever Actual Real Life Sex in the Big Blogger house is destined to come to nought.

Finally, crouching over her sketch book in the corner, we have the bookies’ favourite,Vitriolica. Once again, our resident artist (and sole remaining wibbler) looks to be comfortably ahead in the voting. Niceness personified, that’s our Vit. Besides which, the Portuguese have rather a good track record in this sort of thing. But, lo! And hist! Is it mere “projection”, or does Mike espy the first hints of complacency crossing Vitriolica’s serene visage? Such smugness could be fatal, Mike thinks to himself. For, when all is said and done, there is but one central truth in here: that nothing in the Big Blogger house is ever certain.

Comforting himself with this thought, Mike smiles softly to himself and reaches once again for his iPod and headphones. Just three weeks to go now, and the most coveted honour in the UK blogosphere could be yet his for the taking. All he has to do is watch and wait…




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