(Last revision: January 22nd 2009.)
Hello, I’m Mike Atkinson, and this is my personal weblog.
Firstly, and despite frequent evidence to the contrary, I am not “Troubled Diva”. That’s the name of the blog, not the name of its author. I dreamt the name up in a hurry, before I knew what I was going to do with this site, and then it stuck, so here we are. I particularly dislike the forced glottal-stop between the “d” at the end of “troubled” and the “d” at the beginning of “diva” – but hey, what can you do. It’s a brand, of sorts.
I’ve been writing Troubled Diva since October 2001, which either places me at the end of the “first wave” of British blogging, or at the start of the “second wave” of British blogging. I’ve probably got a foot in both camps.
I’m in my mid-forties, I’m as gay as a goose, and I’ve been sharing my life with my partner K since 1985. We registered our civil partnership in April 2006, and as such are now legal, decent, honest and truthful. Farewell, twilight subculture! Hello, equality under the law! That we should have lived to see the day!
During the week, we live in central Nottingham, where I work as an IT consultant, and where K runs a company which specialises in improving the detection and treatment of cancer in pets. From Friday evenings until Monday mornings, we de-camp to a village in the Derbyshire Peak District, somewhere between Ashbourne, Bakewell and Buxton. We’re a little bit country, and a little bit rock and roll. But I’m more rock and roll than he is.
Ah yes, rock and roll. I’m a freelance music journalist in my spare time, and I provide regular gig reviews, album reviews and interview features for the Nottingham Evening Post. I’ve written for Guardian Film & Music, Stylus and LeftLion, and I’ve also covered the Eurovision Song Contest for Slate and Time Out (London).
Ah yes, the Eurovision Song Contest. I’ve attended it in person on five occasions, and I have to warn you that, for two or three weeks a year, Troubled Diva does go Full On Eurovision Crazy. I’ll leave you to negotiate around that in the way which suits you best.
As for the rest of the blog: it’s primarily a “personal” site, which means that the main subject matter is Me And My Fabulous Life. There are diary-style pieces; there are autobiographical reminiscences; there are various scraps of half-baked commentary on what we must loosely term “popular culture” (as I’m too shallow to engage with anything else); there are competitions and collaborative stunts; there are occasional excursions into podcasting and vidcasting … but there is also much linkage to other sites of interest, and to other blogs in particular. I’m one of those bloggers who does feel very much like part of an extended community, and blogging has introduced me to many wonderful like-minded souls, many of whom I now regard as good friends.
(Of course, the downside to all of this community-mindedness is that a certain self-referential cliquiness does creep in from time to time. Advance apologies, but it can’t altogether be helped. Such is the nature of our medium.)
My “site style” is a wildly inconsistent one, and I have no wish to make it more consistent. Consistency is for freelance work; the blog is where I cut loose, muck around, take risks, and generally do what I damn well please – but, and this is crucial, only if I think it will entertain others. I may swing between wild extremes of self-aggrandisement and self-deprecation – frequently within the same blog post – but I do my best to steer away from self-indulgence. Troubled Diva isn’t written for myself; it’s written for its readership.
As for frequency of posting, that also varies considerably. I might post six times in a day, and then not at all for two weeks. This depends on all sorts of factors, but mainly on the ever-shifting balance of priorities in my life. I do have a tendency to over-commit, which is a tad awkward when you’re as fundamentally lazy as I am. So bear with me, reader. It all evens out in the end.
Troubled Diva has received more than its fair share of bouquets over the years. It has been shortlisted for all sorts of blogging award doo-dahs – most notably the 2005 Bloggies, when it made the final five in the Best Gay Lettuce Bacon & Tomato category. I’ve talked about blogging on the radio, I’ve given lectures about blogging to a writers’ conference, a book festival and an MA Creative Writing class, and the site has been featured in various newspapers and magazines, both in the UK and abroad.
I also administer a site called Post of the Week, which ran as a regular feature on this blog before being launched under its own domain in January 2007. It’s basically an attempt to promote good writing on personal blogs, and to draw people’s attention to blogs they might not have heard of before.
I have edited and published a paperback anthology of British blog writing, within the space of a week, in order to raise money for Comic Relief 2007. The book is called Shaggy Blog Stories, and copies are still available for sale. I’ve also contributed a piece for another blog anthology, You’re Not The Only One.
In March 2008, I launched a community blog for the aforementioned village in the Derbyshire Peak District. The village blog has gone from strength to strength, and I spend a lot of my spare time helping to administer it.
To get a flavour of to what expect around here, I have assembled 25 of my favourite posts on their own dedicated page. There’s a massive archive to dip into, and I’ve provided links to the highlights over here. Ooh, it could keep you busy for months.
I hope you enjoy the Troubled Diva Experience. Comments are encouraged – indeed, I can be quite the petulant little madam if I feel I’m not getting enough of them – and a range of quality souvenir merchandise is available in the foyer.
Further assorted “about this site” / “about the author” posts can be found here:
troubled diva: the first 5 years, summarised
4 things · 100 things · 100 other things
BBC Nottingham profile & interview
what makes me “good”?
the zbornak mini-interview
the ages of mike (in pictures)
“finish this sentence” meme