The seven minute blog post. Oh, OK then, eleven minutes.

Ach, this just won’t do. I have, hmm, let’s see, about seven minutes to write a post today. But write it I shall, as this Not Posting For A Week At A Time thing is as vexing to me as I’m sure it is to you. Oh yes.

So, what’s new? Last night, due to a shock cancellation, I had my first Night In since coming down to London just over two weeks ago. And a very pleasant Night In it was too. The hotel have upgraded me to a Deluxe Room for a week. It’s exactly the same as a Standard Room, except for the following:

  • More carpet space.
  • Two slightly larger mattresses pushed together, but with the same unpleasant ridge down the middle of the bed where they adjoin. (The Princess with The Pea has nothing on me for Mattress Sensitivity.)
  • A posh wooden headboard.
  • A deluxe candelabra light fitting.
  • Ten coat hangers instead of four.

Such luxury! Truly I am not worthy.

As a result of my restful and recuperative Night In, I have enjoyed a day free from constant yawning, and the urge to doze off in slack periods. This reached its nadir over the weekend, where I realised I had become that which I have always dreaded: The Middle Aged Man Who Dozes Off In The Middle Of The Day.

Thus restored, I am now fit and ready for a Soho bar crawl with Marcus. Bring it on, Gay Village!

In other news (a phrase I’d normally avoid, but I’m now 2 minutes over schedule, so f**k it, it will have to do), my stay in London now looks like being six weeks rather than the initial four. This is absolutely fine. The exercise bike can wait.

The votes from yesterday have swung in favour of Amateur Strip Nite down the White Swan. I shall do my best. Right then: sushi, shower and shave. Ta-ta!

So, I lied.

Updates might be fractionally less sparse, my arse. What can I say? In this newly action-packed capital city life of mine, blogging would appear to be one too many things to think about. But I’ll see if I can’t try harder.

Basically, my life now divides between work – comfortably do-able, neither too stressful nor too dull – and an endlessly complicated social life, which requires all the rigourous planning of a military campaign. In particular, trying to construct a regular programme of social activities is rather like trying to knit with blancmange. What is it with Londoners and commitment? Because if I hear that dread phrase “Let’s pencil it in” ONE MORE TIME, I might spontaneously combust.

As a result, I am constantly juggling “provisional” bookings, swapping and switching diary dates accordingly. I have now taken to issuing standard disclaimers to my prospective evening companions, retaining the right to dump them in favour of anyone who can bring themselves to say Yes for definite.

When I do make it out, to cafés, bars, restaurants or gastropubs, the experience is somewhat similar to being on an extended Speed Dating assignment. Each evening, I sit myself down in front of the next candidate, whom I have invariably not seen in months (if not years), and trot out the same perky little off-pat speeches. Blah blah blah China, blah blah blah K’s business, blah blah blah Canary Wharf, blah blah blah journalism opportunities, blah blah blah blogging… it’s a wonder that my fork ever meets my mouth.

Oh, but hark at me whinging. It’s all lovely, really it is. Being here has reminded me that I know more people in London than anywhere else – even Nottingham. One of these days, hopefully in the not too distant future, we’ll be down here for good, dividing our time between London and the Peak District, and these friendships will form the foundation of a new life. It’s a little glimpse of things to come.

After a weekend split between the cottage and my aunt and uncle in Kent, I’m now here for two straight weeks. This coming weekend, I’ll be staying in town in order to attend the live recording of Making Your Mind Up, which goes out on BBC1 at tea-time on Saturday. Yes, the Eurovision season is already upon us. This year, I’ll be spending the whole week in Athens, armed with official press accreditation, covering the event for… well, more of that in due course.

If I’d had the time and energy over the past fortnight, then I’d have told you about: reuniting with the old RVT crowd at Horsemeat Disco; gazing upon the face of Natasha Kaplinsky (and Sienna Miller, Kelly Osbourne, Heath Ledger, Jeremy Irons, David Frost, Tara Palmer Tomkinson, Twiggy and Myleene out of Hear’say); reclaiming the word “growler” in Exmouth Market; The night of the Five C’s (or: When your oldest friends know you better than you know yourself); Miss Marple-ing in Maida Vale; celebrating 44 years on the planet by having laughing gas shoved in my mouth, down at Alt Dot Gay Dot Gothic Slash Industrial Nite; doing Soho with Mister Stranger (and subsequently freaking him out with a telepathic text message); yakking my bollocks off at the Best Gastropub Ever (Since The Last One); Ain’t Nothing Dirty Goin’ On: the heady delights of Amateur Strip Night at the White Swan (I’ll be back); Actually Having A Proper In Depth Conversation With Luca For The First Time Ever; exposing the thoroughly suburban core behind the gleaming facades of Canary Wharf (or: Don’t let those capacious lobby areas fool you); the peculiar gaydar-jamming properties of the above (or: How to flip a clothing fetish on its head); how David Sedaris kept me sane; and so very much more.

Ah, go on then. Pick one of the above, and I’ll tell you about it. Promise.

Updates might be fractionally less sparse…

…now that the laptop is back from the repair shop, and here with me in Canary Wharf, where the hotel bar has wi-fi access. As I have just confirmed. Whoop-di-doo!

Why is it that whenever life gets really interesting and blog-worthy, the time available to write about it shrinks to nearly nothing? I had this in China. And Barcelona, and Vienna, and Amsterdam, and Cologne, and all the rest of them.

It’s been an action-packed week. Mind you, I’d need a third secret-secret blog in order to write about some of its most action-packed moments. Please pause a moment, as you visualise my secretive faraway smile.

Many thanks to everyone who helped me celebrate the start of my forty-fifth year on Friday night. 48 hours later, and I’m still not entirely free of the after-effects. No pleasure without pain.

Speaking of which: as requested, K has bought me an exercise bike, in order to while away those midweek evenings in Nottingham. Totally cardiovascular! I shall have endorphins to spare!

Anyway, sliding quickly into predictability: I believe I’m up for another of those blog-award thingies.

[Checks the site, with its risqué URL that fell foul of the web censors at my new clients. Bright scarlet warning screen, to match my burning cheeks. That’ll learn me to ego-surf in snatched idle moments.]

Oh. Tant pis. Always the bridesmaid, etc. Petite‘s great, anyway. Yay for Petite. And thanks to the 25 nice people who voted Diva.

As I tap, I am surrounded by smug, braying, respectably inebriated business analysts and/or software consultants, whooping it up on expenses in London’s glamorous, thrusting, and terrifyingly soulless Canary Wharf. Misanthropy is rising. Bed is beckoning.

Updates May Be Sparse, yadda yadda yadda.

Apologies for the radio silence. I’ve been working behind the scenes on the proposed Post Of The Week site; the working party is in full flow, and the rest of the volunteer editorial team will be contacted in due course.

I’ve also been writing gig reviews for the Nottingham Evening Post. The first one was spiked, but the second one appeared in yesterday’s print edition: page 23, I believe. There will be more to come – but only after I get back from London.

Which is where I’ll be for the next four weeks or so – maybe a little more, maybe a little less. This is inevitably going to impact on the amount of updates to the blog, as I shan’t have much in the way of after-hours web access, and in any case I intend to be Out And About as much as possible.

(By the way: if we’ve met before, and you fancy meeting up while I’m in town, then please text or e-mail. I really don’t want to be spending any evenings holed up in the hotel on my own, if I can possibly help it.)

K’s off to Los Angeles on Tuesday, returning on Friday. Goodness, we do get about. There’s also an oblique reference to his company in today’s Observer Woman magazine, buried in an interview with an actress. See if you can spot it.

I’ll be in Horsemeat Disco this evening, down Vauxhall way, with some familiar names from the Good Old Days. Ooh, Sunday clubbing. It’s been a while.

Time to go and catch that train, then. Speak to you when I can…

ADULT. / Battant – Liars Club @ The Social, Thursday February 9th.

(An edited version of this review originally appeared in the Nottingham Evening Post.)

Now almost three years old, The Liars Club has built a reputation for hosting some of the most cutting-edge acts around. Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party and the Scissor Sisters have all played there, on their way to major success.

Tonight was the turn of two bands with a similar take on twisted, punked-up electro-pop: Battant from London, and ADULT. from Detroit.

Following a successful tour supporting Ladytron, Battant are quickly building up an insiders’ buzz. Their greatest asset is vocalist Chloe: a waif-like ice maiden, with a steely stage presence. Comparisons with Siouxsie Sioux are inevitable, and deserved.

Greeted with whoops of recognition, the band’s stand-out track was Jump Up: a jerky, new-wavey number, evoking memories of the wonderfully batty Lene Lovich and Nina Hagen.

Headliners ADULT. – former darlings of the short-lived electroclash scene – took the same formula, and pushed it to new extremes.

With her vocals shrouded in heavy echo, it was impossible to discern what Nicola Kuperus was singing about. Instead, one searched her bizarre, witch-like performance for clues. Eerie, unsettling, slightly mocking, performing almost to herself, she wailed and chanted above the raging squall of the backing track and bass guitar, scarcely moving her lips throughout.

Unfortunately, ADULT.’s limited box of tricks was soon worn out. The audience divided. While the glowstick-waving Nathan Barley types at the front shimmied and swayed, those towards the back stood motionless and puzzled.

Sure, it’s good to be confrontational. But without any substance to back it up, it’s all too easy to wind up looking rather superficial in the process.

The Fallout Trust / Computerman – The Social, Wednesday February 8th

(An edited version of this review originally appeared in the Nottingham Evening Post.)

The last time that Computerman played Nottingham, their audience numbered just twelve. This time, despite an early start, they drew a healthy crowd of supporters, who were clearly not just there for the headliners.

Which is just as it should be, as the five-piece band was based in Nottingham, before moving to London and landing a record deal. Their current single, No More Broken Hearts, is a good representation of their live sound: fast, furious, and dramatic.

Vocals are shared between bassist Adam Pickering – a natural rock star, with a touch of the Tim Burgess about him (bet he hates that comparison) – and bespectacled guitarist Mark Sykes, whose voice was reminiscent of James Dean Bradfield from the Manics. The two singers had an endearing habit of mouthing each other’s words when they weren’t singing, as if they couldn’t wait to join in.

Computerman are back in Nottingham on February 17, playing Trent University. They deserve a bigger crowd still.

Following such a well-received support set, The Fallout Trust battled to keep the audience on-side. As time went on, the chatter at the back of the room threatened to drown them out entirely.

This was a shame, as they are accomplished musicians with a lot to offer. Singer Joe Winter gave an intense, committed performance, jerking around like a man possessed. The music was at its most interesting when it steered away from generic NME-approved rock, towards a more melodic, structured sound.

The potential is there; all they need now is the right audience.

Post of the Week: taking it to the next level.

Following a suggestion by Vaughan, patita has kindly registered for the next 12 months.

Now then. I think this could work really well as a separate entity, administered by a small and enthusiastic group, with the work spread out so as not to get too onerous.

If you’d like to get involved, then I suggest we use this comments box as a place for volunteering and discussion. We’re thinking WordPress or Movable Type, and we’ll definitely need some input on the design side of things – this needs to look nice and distinctive, and not just some bog-standard template.

Things to consider: Who’s up for it? How will nominations be raised? Will all nominations automatically go forward for judging, or will there be a pre-screening process to weed out obvious crap and dubious self-promotions? How will nominations be displayed on the blog? How will the current Post Of The Week be displayed? What about previous Posts Of The Week? What size team is needed, and how will responsibilities divide? How will the judging work: new volunteers each week, or a rotating team of regulars, or a bit of both? Who’s going to do the design? Where’s the site going to be hosted? What happens if the site gets really popular and we get shedloads of nominations? Am I over-thinking this already? And so on, and so on.

OK, the comments box is all yours.

Open Mike postscript: mopping up the questions which got away.

(Because I like to run a tidy ship.)

A while back, Em³ asked:

You receive an email which claims to be from yourself, ten years in the future (and there’s some proof of the sender’s identity in the email).

The email is a detailed list of instructions, telling you to avoid certain places on certain dates, to visit other places at other times and to giving you the lottery numbers for tonight’s Euro Draw.

Do you follow the instructions?

I’d start by experimenting with the lottery numbers. If they came up trumps, then it would be very tempting to obey the other instructions.

On the other hand, wouldn’t that take away some of the essential mystery of life? Remove that sense of an open-ended future, rich in possibilities, and what would you have left? Wouldn’t this kind of slavish obedience reduce me in some way?

Nah, bollocks to that. I’ve always veered towards the easy side of the street, and I often quite like it when choices are made for me. Provided I can trust the person making those choices, that is – and who better to trust than The Future Me?

The answer is a Yes, then.

Andre asked: If you were to run the bloggie awards – would you do it any different?

1. I would expand the “I want to be a judge” section of the voting form, adding check boxes for each of the categories, and asking would-be judges to tick the categories which they would feel happy to judge. (To a minimum of 10 categories.)

2. I would then issue bespoke long-lists to each volunteer judge, based on the categories which they had chosen. Each individual would only have to judge five categories, rather than the current ten. This would be harder to set up and administer, but I’d give myself more time to do the necessary work.

3. Before issuing the long-lists, I would check the nominees, removing duplicate URLs and any sites which didn’t match the categories. Again, this would take more time, which I would factor in.

4. I would remove the Podcast category, as a) podcasts are only tangentially related to weblog culture and b) they take too long to evaluate properly.

5. I would remove the “Best Tagline” category.

6. I would re-introduce the “Best Music Weblog” category.

7. I would introduce a “Most Original or Innovative Weblog” category, for blogs which have pushed the boundaries of the format in some way over the previous 12 months.

8. I would introduce a “Best Non-Profit Weblog” category, which would be restricted to ad-free blogs.

9. I would introduce a “Best Original Artwork” category. Photography would be excluded from this category.

10. I would introduce a “Weblog Post Of The Year” category, for the best individual posting.

11. In order to keep the number of categories to thirty, I would remove the “Best Group Weblog”, “Best Topical Weblog” and “Best Craft Weblog” categories.

12. I would sever the link between announcing the results and the SXSW Festival, thus bringing the announcement date forwards in time.

guyana-gyal asked: Do you feel that you have everything you want in life, or is there more, something else you’d like?

Although I suppose this comes with old age – indeed, I must have witnessed it many times over – I cannot yet imagine reaching a stage in life where I felt that I had everything I wanted. Isn’t this part of what keeps us going, during the active part of our lives? I’m not talking about a negative feeling of unfulfilment – of lack – but more of a positive desire for greater fulfilment.

On the other hand, if your question refers purely to material wants, then I’d say that I’m not so very far away from reaching that stage – and certainly much nearer than I was in my thirties, when my outlook was a good deal more materialistic. Simply put: shopping for pleasure no longer does it for me – unless it’s shopping for presents, which I still adore.

OK, let’s be more specific. Number One on the list would be a house with a south-facing aspect. In the whole time that we have been together, K and I have never lived anywhere which enjoys a decent amount of direct sunlight indoors. It has been our constant gripe for years.

That’s it, I’m done. No more questions!

Post of the Week: Week 10 results, and a hiatus.

Some weeks, you just know what the result is going to be. This was one of those weeks: a landslide win, with our Post Of The Week scoring 14 points out of a maximum 15. As one judge said:

A well-researched post which skewers the current fanatic obssessions of Muslim extremists with humour and intelligence, with several delicious sideswipes at the Saudi royal family. It’s topical, educational and funny.

As another said:

This posting has it all: good writing, ridicule of oppressive rulers, ridicule of religious fundamentalism, and relevance to a Scandinavian like me.

Yes, you’ve guessed it. Post Of The Week #10 is hereby awarded to:

The Religious Policeman: A Memo.

Thanks to Looby and Martin R for helping out with the judging, and thanks to Gert for alerting me to the post in the first place.

Alas, it is now time to bid a fond “Au revoir” to Post Of The Week, which goes into indefinite hiatus from today. The reason is a practical one: as I shall be working full-time in London for the next four weeks at least, there will be precious little spare time to perform the necessary administration during the week, and equally little spare time to oversee the judging process at the weekends.

Au revoir, Post Of The Week. You’ve been educational. Let’s look back at your best bits, shall we?

Update 1: Mind you, if Post Of The Week was still running, then this would stand a good chance of winning it.

Update 2: If you’d like to take over the Post Of The Week franchise, then e-mail me.

Open Mike #3.

I’ve got some time on my hands, so please fire away in the comments box. Any question, any topic. Trained operators are standing by to take your call.

By the way, I still need two judges for Post Of The Week. Please e-mail if interested.

1. Girl asks: Any nice plans for the weekend Sir Mike?

Why, indeed we have. We’re travelling to Cambridge tomorrow morning, to visit my mother, to exchange belated Christmas presents (both of us having being abroad on the day itself), and for me to receive an early birthday present (it’s a fortnight today).

I have two presents for her:

  • A nice spice grinder from the David Mellor factory shop, which looks similar to a pestle and mortar, but with more of a hem-hem sculptural appeal (and can I just say, before you all faint at the price, that the factory shop offers a substantial discount). Incidentally, I wrote about the trip to the factory shop last November. Although the trip was rather overshadowed by the purchase of The Bobbly Fruit And Pillows.
  • An amateur watercolour (dated 1907) of the house in which she grew up, which I bought off eBay and have had framed. This was meant to be a fantastic surprise – except that I foolishly blogged the painting, thinking that she wouldn’t see it, as she doesn’t own a computer. Of course, what I forgot about is that she has friends who own computers, and sometimes looks at her blog on those computers. Quelle twit. (One day, she’ll stumble upon this place. Once she hits that sidebar, I fear my days will be numbered. Parents: always the last to know, aren’t they?)

2. Lynne asks, with spooky synchronicity, just as I was adding a few extra sentences to my previous answer: Aren’t you a bit buggered if your mum reads this, Mike?!

Indeed I might be. But only if she pops round to a friend’s house between now and tomorrow lunchtime, asks to use their computer, works out how to use one, discovers Google, types in my name, finds this site, and reads it. I walk such a narrow tightrope.

3. Dymbel asks: How’s the f**s* ***e* coming on?

T***i***. P***r***i***i** *n* **a* **i** *o** *e ** *h*** d***l* **b***e, *** g***t ***n* ** n** *n***h ** *r** *y***f ***m **. *h* **s***, o* **u***, i* ** J*** D* **. B** *h** *h**’* t** *n***r ** *o ***y ***n**, *n* ** a***e* **i** * h*** s***t ***h ** *y ***e ***e***d** *a***n* ** h***. H***e *** t***a**. *e**, *o* **d ***.

Update: Major respect to Clare for decoding the above, and only getting four words wrong.

4. Making his first visit to my comments box since April of last year, A Reader asks (with a certain degree of thematic consistency): What’s your favourite Take That song?

First of all: welcome back to Troubled Diva, A Reader! You have been anonymously with us almost from the start, haven’t you? Loyalty: we like that in our readers.

It’s an easy and obvious one. My favourite Take That song is Back For Good, followed by Pray, followed by Could It Be Magic, followed by Relight My Fire. (“Cue Lulu!”) Roll on April 26th at the NEC…

5. The newly relocated Jack of Pandemian (née Green Fairy) asks: Interesting ways to die: would you rather be smothered in plum jam and buried up to the eyebrows in a termite nest or stretched flat and squeezed very slowly between two ginormous weights?

Strewth, do I have to choose? Is this a case of: you choose or you die?

I’d opt for the quickest method, but I can’t decide which it is. Do termites eat flesh? There’s nothing on Wikipedia which suggests that they do, so maybe I’d just be tickled while I suffocated.

Yes, rapid suffocation trumps slow squashing. I choose the jam and termites.

Also, I’ll make a better corpse: either fully intact (if a trifle sticky, but that would wash off), or else neatly bio-degraded, depending on dietary habits of said termites. I wouldn’t wish my weight-squished carcass upon any funeral director. Far too undignified.

At least I’d die with a nice taste in my mouth. Mmm, plums.

6. MissMish asks: What will you be wearing on your birthday m’dear?

Oh, do you mean my birthday that takes place exactly two weeks from today? That birthday? The one I mentioned earlier? Lovely!

My daytime wear will depend upon the dress code of my new clients, down in London’s vibrant Canary Wharf district, where I shall have been working all week. It has not yet been confirmed whether this dress code is “smart casual” or “business casual” – and yes, Virginia, there is a difference. Mainly in the trouser department. However, we can safely assume that a nice smart shirt will be a given.

As for my evening wear: what does a self-respecting middle-aged homo wear to a gay/bi/trans gothic/industrial night, without risking cries of “Mouton!” from the pierced-and-tatted throng? Last time, I stuck my glow-in-the-dark Camembert Electrique T-shirt over my vintage 1991 Paul Smith leather kecks, mainly to hide the fact that I could no longer fasten the top button of the kecks. This is not a look which I am prepared to risk a second time.

Probably the same T-shirt (as it’s my one remaining sartorial concession to “rock and roll”), teamed up with some dark jeans and my nice Prada shoes. (Five and a half years old, and they still look box-fresh. Best swanky designer buy EVER.)

7. Apropos the previous question, Siobhan asks: Ooh, and have you any fashion advice for a young-girl-about-town who wants to tag along?

Goodness. How do you dress an almost award-winning Lancastrian transvesite for an “nite” in the upstairs function room of a real ale pub down the bottom of Hockley? I am quite out of my depth.

In lieu of a useful answer, can I give you a Fun Fact about the night in question? Last time I went, the organisers had laid out little Occasional Bowls on each table (white plastic, nothing fancy), each bowl containing a lollipop and a sachet of lube. Now, that’s what I call thoughtful.

8. Martin R asks: Far be it from me to question your divine status. But why “troubled”? You seem to be a pretty happy man these days!

Yes, but would Self Satisfied Diva work so well on a coffee mug? No, no, brand consistency is all.

9. Waitrose David asks: How have the fellow bloggers whom you have met in person differed from your expectations ? You don’t need to name names of course. I suppose water will be muddied if you have exchanged e-mails with them separately as well.

I’ve just been trying to locate my favourite observation on this subject, which I think was left by Gert in an old comments box, circa February 2003. (But I might be wrong.)

Anyhow, the observation went something like this. When you meet a fellow blogger for the first time, they’re never exactly as you imagined – but on the other hand, they’re only slightly different. It only takes a few moments to re-align your expectation with the reality, after which you can continue as normal.

I’d also say that, in general, you can sidestep a few of the usual tentative getting-to-know-you stages and checking points which occur on first meetings. You will often (but admittedly not always) end up feeling as if you have known each other for ages. It’s a weird but pleasant sensation – and the more often you experience it, the less weird it gets.

Have I ever met a blogger who has been nothing like I imagined they would be? I’m concentrating very hard here. Yes, I can certainly think of one. No, two.

(That’s not different-in-a-bad-way. Just different.)

As of now, there are no more outstanding questions to answer – so that’s it for this week.

(Oh dear, did we only make it to nine questions again? I guess those Shanghai stories will have to wait a while longer.)

An analogy has just occurred to me.

Troubled Diva Proper is like the front room at a party, with everyone making polite – if rather strained – conversation on the couches.

Troubled Diva Xtra is like the kitchen at the same party, where all the juicy trash-talk is going on, and no-one gives a damn because they know the host so well.

(Except that there aren’t any comment boxes on Troubled Diva Xtra. At which point the analogy collapses, and I become more tempted than ever to add comment boxes to Troubled Diva Xtra, just to save the analogy. God, you think this stuff is planned?)



That’s an awfully pretty sidebar, isn’t it?

Yes, isn’t it.

Have you visited the archives recently?

Excuse me, I’ll be right back.

Pro versus Am.

I’ve left a comment at Gordon’s place, attached to this post, where he talks of wanting to make a clear distinction between “pro” blogs and “hobbyist” blogs. The comment makes more sense in context, but I found that while writing it, my own thoughts on the subject of pro-vs-am blogging finally clarified. So here it is:

My take on it is this: we would do better to think of a “blog” as merely a description of how a website is formatted. If a website is built around reverse-chronological dated entries, it’s a blog. End of.

The problems occur when people try to load this neutral descriptive term with their own subjective interpretations of what blogging should be “all about”. There is no such thing as “the true spirit of blogging”. A blog is the end result of a number of content management systems, and that’s all.

Pro-blogs represent one subset of blogs. Personal blogs represent another. Very occasionally (eg. Dooce), the categories might overlap. But in any case, as with genres of music or literature, the category boundaries will always be blurred around the edges. Therefore, while thinking in terms of categories can be a useful shorthand at times, it’s dangerous to let that sort of thinking take over.

The problems occur when ANY group of bloggers start thinking and acting as if their own particular paradigm is “what blogging is all about”. Personal bloggers do this; pro-bloggers do this; political bloggers do this possibly most of all.

It’s a neutral descriptive term for websites with reverse-chronological dated posts. The rest is up to the blogger. Live and let live. Peace and love.

Yeah, it’s an off-the-cuff ramble, which could use a little editing, structuring and expanding. But then what am I, some sort of professional blogger?