Shaggy Blog Stories: the official podcast.

As Shaggy Blog Stories approaches its 500th sale (just one more copy to go), the long-awaited Shaggy Blog Podcast is finally available for purchase.

Featuring readings by 14 of the 100 contributors, and with a playing time of 67 minutes, the Shaggy Blog Podcast can be purchased for a measly Two Quid, of which £1.60 will be donated to the Comic Relief charity.

A list of contributors can be found on the ordering page, along with a free two-minute preview.

Inevitably, the recording quality does vary somewhat – one of the contributions was even phoned in from Namibia – but the quality of the readings themselves is uniformly great, and That’s What Counts.

Hope you enjoy it. Perfect pool-side listening for the holiday season!

That “Woman’s Hour” April Fool post: were you had?

Judging by some of the earliest comments I received, a fair number of you were taken in, if only temporarily, by yesterday’s seasonally appropriate drollery. I’d apologise, but K and I are still pissing ourselves laughing about it (it was a joint conspiracy, conceived over supper on Friday night).

The clues were there all along, though. “Ria Poloff”, a woman about whom Google knows nothing, is an anagram of… well, I don’t propose to insult your intelligence (MWA HA HA!) by spelling it out. And check out the final sentence of the post: “If I merely sound foolish, then please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Mind you, that last one did rather rebound on me.

Mike, you’ve chosen something really complicated here as it involves trying to modify your own voice, putting on an accent, and the most important part which is conveying the humour of the piece. I think that you’d be more successful if you just work with the third aspect because, for me, the first two parts, are getting in the way of the third.


Ahem. Well, anyway. As you will have spotted, I didn’t exactly go to great lengths to Femme Up my little recitation. This is mainly because, when I experimented with a full-on falsetto treatment, the results were so painfully jarring that it just wouldn’t have been fair to inflict them upon you for the full four and a half minutes. So I went for a sort of Home Counties Lesbian In Sensible Shoes approach instead, concentrating mainly on eradicating all traces of Northern from my speaking voice. (K thought I sounded like the transsexual travel writer Jan Morris. I can live with that.)

Having said that, the recording did bear some of the hallmarks of a Rush Job; indeed, I ended up using the first full take. This was because I was using the only room in the cottage with a) a decent acoustic and b) an absence of those f**king de-humidifiers (or Dementors as I now call them, as they SUCK THE JOY out of everything around them). This meant banishing K to the upstairs bedroom for the duration, as I am a complete Prima Donna who Cannot Possibly Be Expected To Rehearse In Front Of An Audience. However, as I am also a Prima Donna With A Guilty Conscience About Banishing My Lover To A Cold And Lonely Place, I ended up spending less time on the recording than perhaps I should have done.

(Also, those “Hungarian” comedy accents were sheer bloody murder on the throat. How I suffer for your entertainment.)

My thanks to those of you who played along, and especially to Lionel for coming up with Ria Pollof’s reply.

Extra special thanks to Abby “One Track” Lee, for agreeing to let me desecrate her oeuvre in the first place, and for being such a jolly good sport about it all.


However. All of this knockabout japery has given me another Medium Sized Idea. (OK, it gave Lucy a Medium Sized Idea, which converted to a Medium Sized Suggestion, for which I now propose to take all the credit.) Why don’t we do a Shaggy Blog Podcast?

So. If you’re a) featured in The Book and b) are tolerably OK at Reading Things Out Loud, then please e-mail me with a digitised reading of your contribution, and I’ll stitch together a podcasty thing.

Yes. That could be a nice little Easter Project for us all. Well, it beats drawing faces on boiled eggs…

Shaggy Blog Stories raises over £2000 in 17 days for Comic Relief.

A few minutes ago, my esteemed colleague JP made the 451st purchase of Shaggy Blog Stories, thus nudging the total money raised over the £2000 mark. Considering that the book has only been on sale for 17 days, and considering that it has received only minimal publicity in broadcast and print media, this is a remarkable achievement.

A brief moment of self-congratulation may now be countenanced.

(Incidentally, I hope you’re all still keeping an eye on that eye-popping Flickr pool. Cleavage! Nudity! Prosthetics! Banjoes!)

Shaggy Blog Stories on BBC Radio 4?

Update: The following story is 100% untrue. Were YOU April Fooled? Oh, I do hope so…

Well, this is all very exciting. On Friday afternoon, I received the following e-mail from the BBC:

Dear Troubled Diva,

My name is Ria Pollof, and I work for the “Woman’s Hour” programme on Radio Four. I have recently heard about your “Shaggy Blog Stories” book, and would very much like to feature it on our show. As I expect you will already know, several leading media analysts have already dubbed 2007 as “The Year of the Blog”, and we here at “Woman’s Hour” are most keen to reflect this growing phenomenon.

I have been told that you already have radio experience, and so I would like you to consider the following proposal. Would you be prepared to record a series of spoken extracts from the book, that we could serialise as part of our “Book of the Week” feature? Obviously, we would prefer it if you could restrict your choices to work from other women bloggers such as yourself.

Sadly, we would be unable to pay you for your contribution. However, this could be great publicity for the book!

Please call me on [contact details removed] to discuss this idea further.

Kind regards,
Ria Pollof
Woman’s Hour

As I say, all very exciting – but perhaps you might have spotted a slight flaw in Ria’s proposal.

She thinks I’m a woman.

Deal breaker? Originally, I thought so. Now, I’m not so sure. After all, this would indeed be “great publicity for the book”. All I have to do is convince Ria and her team that I Am A Lady.

This is where you come in. Seeing as it’s a Sunday, and that no-one from “Woman’s Hour” will be at work today, we’ve got just enough time to run a little experiment. As I’ll almost certainly be removing this post before Monday morning, you’d better be quick.

Take a listen to this reading from The Book, which I recorded in the cottage yesterday afternoon. Does it sound sufficiently female? Could I “pass”? Please let me know in the comments. And if I merely sound foolish, then please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Our little baby looks all grown-up.

Thanks to Jonathan, a Shaggy Blog Stories contributor and an actual real life bookshop person, The Book can now be bought over the counter, in an actual, real life bookshop. Lookee here! Clicky the piccy to make it biggy!

Update: Here’s a very special Product Endorsement.

And speaking of actual, real life books: I shall be speaking at an actual, real life book festival at the end of June. (No prizes for guessing the subject matter.) More details as and when, but here’s what happened at last year’s festival.

Shaggy Blog Stories: a photo pool, and a suggested MEEM.

Until now, I’ve never been particularly grabbed by the whole Flickr phenomenon. But there’s a first time for everything, and I do find myself very much grabbed by this splendid “pool” of book-related photos. Do please feel free to add your own.

(taken by Timbo)

Might I also be so bold as to suggest a Shaggy Blog MEEM, as inspired by this fellow? If you own a copy of The Book, and if you have enjoyed reading it, then I think it would be rather lovely, and in the true spirit of our Community, to link to three people whose contributions you have particularly enjoyed. Especially if they are people who are outside your circle of regular reads. Credit where credit’s due! Spread the love!

God, I’m such an Internet hippy.

Shaggy Blog Stories: the first sightings.


Left to right: MissMish (page 152), Mike (page 11) and JP (page 54) discuss their favourite passages, at this afternoon’s impromptu signing session.

The first copies of Shaggy Blog Stories arrived through people’s letter boxes this morning. These lucky “early adopters” have received Version One of the text, which does contain a few super-rare (one hopes) typos. So if the last line of Page 198 contains the word “unsavourary”, you’re quids in.

You will also need to make one very important correction, as one of the pieces doesn’t make proper sense without it. Pencils out! Now, turn to Page 158, and cast your eyes to the bottom of the page – but please, WITHOUT taking a sneaky advance peek at the rest of the piece. You’ll only spoil it for yourselves.

Where the text says “Three hundred and (*)”, you need to add an R, thusly:

“Three hundred Rand (*)”

That was our one truly awful howler. The rest, I can live with.

Update: MORE TYPO NEWS: It looks EVERYONE has got the “rare” early version, which I corrected within the first 24 hours. Hooray! We’ll ALL be quids in!

PHOTO NEWS: Want to know what the book looks like? Dave Walker of The Cartoon Blog has the first photo of the beast in captivity.

MORE PHOTO NEWS: Here’s what two copies look like.

Update: STILL MORE EXCITING BREAKING PHOTO NEWS: Here’s what SIX copies look like.

While I was in the middle of editing this post, a DHL parcel arrived in our office’s reception area, bearing my colleague JP‘s copies. I have now cast mine eyes upon the finished article, and I can see that it looks Good. Really, really Good. Praise be!

SALES NEWS: We’ve just hit 400 sales, and we’re also straight in at Number Three on’s own best seller charts; just behind e-Start Your Web Store with Zen Cart, and just ahead of Unleashing Capitalism: Why Prosperity Stops at the West Virginia Border and How to Fix It.


Shaggy Blog Stories: first copies to be delivered on Thursday?

I’ve heard that quite a few of you have had your order statuses upgraded from “FULFILLING” to “SHIPPED” over the course of today, which would imply that the first few copies of the book may be arriving through your letter boxes tomorrow.

This makes me madly impatient, as my own orders are still stuck at “FULFILLING”; a state of affairs which is, of course, anything but.

If you receive a copy of the book on Thursday, could you drop me a comment (“Woo! First!”) and let me know? I might then ask you a few questions about typos, as it will be interesting to see which revision has been picked up. (We’re already onto Version 6.)

I deleted yesterday’s rather lengthy post, by the way. I don’t know about you, but I thought it carried just the merest whiff of paranoid, ill-tempered, stress-induced, slightly hysterical over-defensiveness, which could, just possibly, be interpreted as “over-reacting”. Thanks to all who responded, for helping to restore a proper sense of perspective. I now intend to Rise Above Such Things, with all the lofty graciousness that befits a man in my perceived position.

Shaggy Blog Stories raises over £1200 in the first 40 hours.

Yesterday, I said that for each copy of Shaggy Blog Stories sold, £3.63 would be donated to Comic Relief.

I was wrong.

As my share of the profits from the sales will initially be paid into my bank account, Comic Relief will receive it from me as a “personal donation”. This means that they can claim an additional 28% of the money directly from the government as Gift Aid.

So in actual fact, Comic Relief will receive £4.442 for every copy sold, i.e. 49.6% of the cover price. That, my friends, is a remarkably high royalty rate.

At 16:00 on Saturday, 40 hours after the book was launched, 266 copies had been sold, raising £1181.57 in total. Considering that my initial estimate was around £500, it’s a stunning achievement.

And of course, it’s far from over yet. So I’m going to start keeping a sporadically updated running total at the top of the blog. Keep checking for updates.

Some very early editions of the book may contain a couple of rather glaring typos, since corrected. If you are lucky enough to receive one, then cherish it. They’ll be worth a mint one day. You know, like stamps.

It has been suggested that a single signed copy of the book should be auctioned off for eBay. Now, obviously, posting a book between 100 different addresses would be a logistical nightmare, and would take months to accomplish.

So what I suggest is this. All 100 contributors (101 including our cover artist) are invited to sign their names on a sticky label, and to mail it to me at a postal address which will be supplied by e-mail. I shall then place each sticker inside the book, as close to the relevant entry as available blank space will allow.

We may not get the full 101. But I reckon we’ll come pretty close.

After the rigours of the week, I knew that I was going to come crashing down to earth with a bump. I just didn’t realise that half the morning room ceiling in the cottage was going to come down with me. As we discovered when we got there last night, in high spirits, and ready to celebrate the book launch with champagne and fish & chips:



Something had sprung a leak in the upstairs bathroom, and the water had been accumulating in the gap between the floorboards and the plaster ceiling, before bursting through some time during the week.

Well, that seagrass flooring was on its way out anyway. At least we can replace it on the insurance.

However, one thing that can’t be replaced is the beautiful Antonia Salmon ceramic which was bought for our civil partnership, using the money that K’s sister had set aside for a present before she died, shortly after the ceremony. K had chosen the ceramic himself, and regarded it as our memorial to her.

Various friends in the village spent nearly two hours last night fixing the leak, salvaging our possessions, and clearing away the rubble. Meanwhile, other friends looked after K, who was too distraught to remain inside the house. The evening finished with a dozen of us getting merry round D & T’s kitchen table (chicken pie and home made chocolate cake also provided), thus allowing us to forget about the wreckage for a brief while.

Once again, we were reminded what an amazing village this is, and how lucky we are to live here. If we’d had the same problem in Nottingham (we live in The Park, which is a kind of posh person’s ghetto), our neighbours would probably have invoiced us for their time.

K and I rolled back at midnight, shut the door to the morning room, opened the bottle of vintage champagne which had been earmarked to toast the launch of the book, and got steadily plastered in front of an Old Grey Whistle Test highlights DVD, stumbling to bed at 3am.

After all the work that has been taking place in the Nottingham house over the past couple of months – new kitchen, and now a new garden – the cottage has been our sanctuary. No longer. (K, in a major Drama Queen moment: “Both our properties are in turmoil!” It’s OK; we know what we’re like better than anyone. And yes, we’ve both read My Tornado Hell, thank you.)

I shall take this as an opportunity to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in suffering with some of the very people that Comic Relief is trying to help – several of whom don’t even have morning rooms.

Oh, did I not mention that we’re having a new garden (PDMG II) installed in Nottingham? The work started on Monday, the first task being to rip out all the thick concrete from the sizeable yard area that’s being converted. Great week to write a book, eh? During most of Wednesday afternoon and for much of Thursday, as I worked my way through the submissions, the typesetting and the proofing, a loud pneumatic drill was being operated just beneath the study window. Although to be honest, I was so focussed on the task in hand that I barely noticed.

Oh, and we’ve been Instapunditted. Hello America! Buy our book!

Shaggy Blog Stories: a collection of amusing tales from the UK blogosphere.


Well, we did it. With mere minutes to spare, and with no time to format a contents page… but we did it. In seven days flat, from start to finish.

This afternoon, I received some fantastic news. The book’s publishers,, have very kindly offered to donate their share of the profits to Comic Relief. Lulu, I kiss you.

To order your copy, all you have to do is click on the following VERY IMPORTANT URL:

This will take you directly to Lulu’s ordering page for the book.

The cover price is £8.96, of which £3.63 £4.64 will go to Comic Relief once external manufacturing costs have been deducted.

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: our list of esteemed contributors. We decided to settle on exactly one hundred of you… and, in strict order of appearance, these are they.

1. An Unreliable Witness
2. Emma Kennedy
3. Oh, quelle surprise, Princess Pushy has gone and stuck herself at the front…
5. Sarsparilla
6. Petite Anglaise
7. Sally Morten
8. Richard Herring
9. Edvard Moonke
10. The Overnight Editor
11. Scaryduck
12. Chase me, ladies, I’m in the cavalry
13. Tim Worstall
14. Sashinka
15. Diamond Geezer
16. The Bedside Crow
17. Smaller Than Life
18. The Web of Evil
19. Drifting in and out of consciousness
20. Kitchentable
21. Jamie4U – yeah Gay Pride and all that shit!
22. bob’s yer uncle
23. Pandemian
24. Argy Bargey
25. A Free Man In Preston
26. This Is This
27. JonnyB’s Private Secret Diary
28. (Contains Mild Peril)
29. Real E Fun
30. Tokyo Girl Down Under
31. Hydragenic
32. [from fuck-up to] fab!*
33. Tired Dad
34. Crinklybee
35. The H factor
36. Confessions of a Psychotherapist
37. Betty’s Utility Room
38. NHS Blog Doctor
39. Naked Blog
40. Mommy Has a Headache
41. Random Burblings
42. Momentary lapses of insanity…
43. DanFlynn’sblog
44. Acerbia
45. This Is The Goo I’ve Got
46. Rise
47. Quinquireme
48. Kaliyuga Kronicles
49. Grantham New Town
50. Tippler Does Brussels
51. NewsElephant
52. Doctor Oddverse’s Different Dictionary
53. Non-workingmonkey
54. Andrew Collins: Where Did It All Go Right?
55. Blogadoon
56. Deacon Barry
57. Chicken Yoghurt
58. The Fishwhacker Swindle?
59. The World of Yaxlich
60. My Blog Ate My Homework
61. Moobs
62. Living for Disco
63. Everything Is Electric
64. Fuddland
65. Blaugustine
66. I am livid
67. Office Space
68. Boob Pencil
69. Diary of a Goldfish
70. My Boyfriend Is A Twat
71. Chocs Away, Old Girl!
72. What I Wrote
73. DramaQueen, Fag-Hag, JAP
74. Blue Cat
75. Reluctant Nomad
76. The Cartoon Blog
77. Swish Cottage (closed)
78. David Belbin
79. The Singing Librarian Talks (or Writes…)
80. Invading Holland
81. Ganching
82. John Soanes
83. 1000 Shades of Grey
84. What’s New, Pussycat?
85. Tranniefesto: A Crossdressing Adventure
86. Struggling Author
87. Other Men’s Flowers
88. The Big Side Order
89. Neil Writes the Blog
90. Beyond The White Cliffs
91. Girl with a One-track Mind
92. Just A Blog
93. An Observant and Desperately Ironic Teenage Perspective
94. meish dot org
95. Tales from the Canalside
96. Speaking as a Parent
97. Keir Royale
98. A Sideways Look At Womanhood
99. Mitzi (URL withheld)
100. The Albert Tatlock Persuasion

Before we go any further, I have a few people to thank.

Lest you think otherwise, this has been far from a one-man show. I have enjoyed the services of a crack editorial team, who have spent many hours helping me select the 100 entries, and generally pitching in with advice, support and encouragement: Anna, Jack, Peter and Petite. Scaryduck has given much helpful advice, and is responsible for the domain name. Anna (again) and Deborah have helped with the proofreading. Peter (again) wrote the blurb for the back cover. Dymbel and Siobhan, professionals both, have advised me with the layout. My darling K has been the very soul of patience, and has been on hand with glasses of red wine at strategic moments. And can I just thank Anna a third time? She has been in on the idea right from the very start, within minutes of the thought popping into my head on Wednesday afternoon. Without Anna, I doubt that this project would have happened.

VERY SPECIAL THANKS to the hugely talented Lucy Pepper, for the stunning cover art.

And last but not least, a big THANK YOU to the literally HUNDREDS of you who have submitted entries, and pimped the project on your own sites.

For my part, this has been the most mammoth undertaking of my entire life. Seriously. Since Sunday afternoon, I have literally done nothing else but work, eat, sleep, go to the loo, and put the hours in on this project, until 2am every night. (OK, I took half an hour off for lunch on Monday. But it felt weird, and wrong.) I have read over 300 submissions. I have received and processed well in excess of 1500 e-mails. I have learnt a vast amount in a very short space of time. It has been stressful, but also hugely, HUGELY enjoyable. Even tonight, I was beavering away right up until the deadline; believe it or not, the book only “went to press” with 45 minutes to spare.

I tell you what, as well. Make no mistake: this is one absolute BELTER of a book: a showcase of British Blogging at its finest. Most of the entries, and indeed many of the submissions which didn’t make it to press, have made me laugh out loud. Sometimes, I have been in stitches. Yes, that might have been simple hysteria. But never has hysteria felt so sweet.

A word on the editing process. In certain cases, I have had no option but to tinker with your words; sometimes to make a piece fit neatly on the page, without awkward overspills, and sometimes just to make your words look better in print. Grammar, punctuation, stylistic tickles, that sort of thing. But rest assured that I haven’t done anything which would compromise your own individual voices. If you’re anything like me, who is still fairly new to the freelancing game, you won’t even notice what I’ve done. Blog posts are often immediate, chatty, full of asides, bashed out in snatched moments during the day. The demands of the printed page are subtly different. It goes with the territory, darlings. (Ooh, hark at her, Miss High And Mighty Editor all of a sudden, who does she think she is… )

And now to the next stage of the project.

PLEASE, PLEASE, pimp this baby HARD. We need the sales. Lots and lots of them. Link to the book from your blogs. Copy and re-use the cover art (450 pixels at the top of the post, and a sidebar-friendly 200 at the bottom), or grab it off Flickr. Get your friends, family and colleagues to buy it. Digg, Redddit,, all that guff: USE THEM. Badger your local media: come on, it’s a story. Work every contact and connection you have. This book needs to be the biggest story in blogland. Christ, I’m turning into Bob Geldof.

Here, have a press release. Scaryduck wrote this. Use it.

Bloggers publish book for Comic Relief.

100 bloggers have published a book to raise funds of the BBC’s Comic Relief appeal on Friday 16th March.

‘Shaggy Blog Stories’ features hilarious contributions from Richard Herring of ‘Fist of Fun’ fame, BBC 6Music presenter Andrew Collins, comedian Emma Kennedy, and James Henry, scriptwriter from Channel Four’s ‘The Green Wing’.

Authors Abby Lee, David Belbin, Catherine Sanderson and The Guardian’s Anna Pickard have also contributed pieces to the book.

The vast majority of contributions, however, are the work of many of the lesser known and unfamiliar heroes of British blogging; going under pen names such as Diamond Geezer, Scaryduck, Pandemian and Unreliable Witness.

Also contributing to ‘Shaggy Blog Stories’, and hoping to raise funds for the Comic Relief Appeal is local writer INSERT YOUR NAME, LOCALITY AND BLOG DETAILS HERE.

The book is the idea of blogger Mike Atkinson who writes the ‘Troubled Diva’ weblog. ‘Shaggy Blog Stories’ features comic writing from not only the cream of British blogging, but also the best up-and-coming and undiscovered writers publishing their work on their own websites.

Giving himself a “ridiculously short” seven days from idea to finished product, Atkinson admitted that he was overwhelmed with the response, which gleaned over 300 submissions for publication.

With a pool of talented writers, and the latest publishing-on-demand technology, Shaggy Blog Stories bypasses the usual snail-paced publishing industry, and offers a mail order service to customers who will receive their finished copy within days of placing their order, and only a couple of weeks after the original idea.

“Blogging creates complex, worldwide networks of friendship and contacts on the internet”, says journalist Alistair Coleman, one of Shaggy Blog Stories’ contributors. “By creating a buzz about this book, we can reach out to hundreds, thousands of readers who’d be willing to part with a few quid for this very good cause. Mike’s got some excellent writers on board here whose work deserves a wider audience. Everybody wins.”

For details of how to order the book, visit

For the background story on the creation of Shaggy Blog Stories, take a look at

After days of surfing on nervous energy, I suddenly feel very tired. Back to the office tomorrow. It’s been a blast, hasn’t it?

The VIRTUAL LAUNCH PARTY is now in full swing in the comments box. It’s an all-dayer, so don’t worry, we’re well stocked.


Shaggy Blog Stories: the deadline for submissions has been reached.

OK, time’s up. If you haven’t mailed me with your submission for The Book by now, then I’m afraid it’s too late.

I shall be spending the next two days catching up the with ever-growing “unread” pile, and slowly assembling the manuscript. The goal is to release the finished book for sale at midnight on Thursday night/Friday morning, i.e. at the start of Red Nose Day itself.

At that point – but not before – I’ll be posting a link, which will take you straight to the dedicated page on where you can purchase the book for yourselves. You can then post the same link on your own sites; e-mail it to your nearest, dearest, and that awfully nice couple you met on holiday last year; and generally Spread The Word All Over The Land.

As part of the same announcment, I shall also be revealing the full list of contributors, in the order in which they appear in the book. This will be a list of blog names only; I won’t be listing the authors by name, and I won’t be listing the titles of the individual posts. You’ll have to buy the book to find all of that out.

This brings me to the most awkward and regrettable detail of the project.

If I had any longer than seven days to complete the work, then I would absolutely pay everyone the simple courtesy of letting them know, by advance e-mail, whether or not their contributions have been successful.

However, I simply cannot spare the time to send out over 300 e-mails, when I’m going to need every last minute to get the book ready. Think about it: 300 e-mails. How long is that going to take?

And it wouldn’t just be a matter of sending the e-mails out, either. Think how long it would take to deal with 300 excited/disappointed bloggers all replying at once, with woo-hoos or boo-hoos, and all manner of supplementary questions. No. Can’t be done.

So, and it pains me to do it this way, most of you will have to wait until midnight on Thursday to find out whether or not you’re in the book.

I know, I know. But at least you won’t have Kate “empathetic” Thornton waiting behind you with a camera crew, claws outsretched, as the boys in VT cue up something suitably ecstatic (“Let Me Entertain You”) or plaintive (“Fix You”). Such cruelty has no place in our gentle World of Blog.

For similar reasons, I shall not be posting a sample of “hilariously” crap submissions – NOT THAT THERE HAVE BEEN ANY CRAP SUBMISSIONS YOU ARE ALL TALENTED AND SPECIAL – for everyone to have a good snigger over:

There was this Englishman, this Irishm…
…no, wait, can I start agai…
…oh, PLEASE PLEASE Mike, can y…
…no I WON’T come FOOKIN quietly, I…

I shall now return to my duties for the rest of the evening. Please remember me in your prayers.

Shaggy Blog Stories on BBC Radio Five Live.

If you’d like to hear me talking about the Shaggy Blog Stories project on the wireless, then go to the Five Live Pods and Blogs page and click on the “Listen” link on the right hand side of the page.

Or you could just click here instead, I guess.

My spot begins at 00:53:13, and lasts for five and a half minutes. Apart from not knowing the difference between days and weeks, I think it went rather well. (K was secretly listening from outside the study, and commented that I had my “radio voice” on. Where does that come from?)

In the comments last night, Milady de Winter suggested the following:

“Right – those of us who DON’T get shortlisted should start a renegade charity book and see who raises more £££.”

It could be like Hear’say versus Liberty X all over again, couldn’t it?

Shaggy Blog Stories: a progress report.

A long time ago, whilst I was busily tying myself up in some other ridiculously over-ambitious collective blog-based stunt, someone (it might have been him) cheekily dubbed me “the fairy godmother of British blogging”.

At the moment, sifting through the ever-growing stack of submissions for Shaggy Blog Stories, I feel more like the Simon Cowell of British blogging: “Congratulations, you’ve made it into the book” replacing “Congratulations, you are going to London”. Only I don’t have to hug anyone, or get glasses of water thrown in my face.

Occasionally, in my more delirious moments, I feel like the Anneka Rice of British blogging. At the Nottingham blogmeet on Saturday afternoon, I was tempted to run into the bar in a canary yellow jumpsuit, squawking “OK gang, we’ve got SEVEN DAYS to WRITE A BOOK!”

To say that I’ve had an “enthusiastic response” would be an understatement. I have received around 200 submissions over the last three days, and have read about 100 of them so far. 45 of that 100 have definitely made it into the book, taking the page count up to just over 100 and counting. An editorial team of four has been recruited, to assist with the decision-making process and to ensure that the whole kaboodle isn’t dominated by one individual’s personal taste.

Not surprisingly, some of the best known names in British blogging will be included in the book. However, we are judging on the merit of the submission rather than the reputation of the blogger, and the book will certainly not end up as a roll-call of the “in crowd”. One of the great joys of doing this is that, as with Post of the Week, I am constantly discovering brilliant material on blogs which I’ve never seen before. About once every 45 minutes during yesterday’s marathon 10-hour stint, I would find myself doubled up in hysterics, slapping my thighs, and shouting “YES! YES!”. This is what we call a Fringe Benefit.

I have also, reluctantly, had to face reality. If I leave the submission deadline as Wednesday at 6pm, then I will never be able to read everything that has been sent. Therefore, I’m bringing it forward by one day.


When making your submission, please bear in mind that the sheer weight of numbers means that, statistically speaking, the probability of making it into the book is less than 50%, and decreasing by the hour. So you do need to be comfortable with the idea of rejection. Having said that, please be assured that your piece WILL be given a full and fair reading.

(Here’s a tip, though. Try to imagine what your piece will look like on the printed page, to someone who has never read you before. Does it work out of context, as a stand-alone piece in its own right? Does it need editing, maybe to remove some of the more chatty asides to your regular readers?)

I’ve had a sneak preview of Lucy’s cover art. ‘Tis genius. You’ll love it. DAMN, this book is going to be GOOD.

And finally, a Media Alert: I’ll be talking about the project on BBC Radio Five Live‘s “Pods and Blogs” show, which goes out at the ungodly hour of 2am on Tuesday morning. It’s OK, there’s no need to wait up specially: I’ll link to the “Listen Again” archive link when it becomes available.

My thanks to everyone who has linked to the project thus far, and to everyone who has submitted material and/or offered help in other ways. I *heart* you all.

Shaggy Blog Stories: a collaborative blog-stunt for Comic Relief.

I have had a Big Idea!!!

Next Friday (March 16) is Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day day in the UK. What I’m proposing is to assemble and publish – in the space of just seven days – a paperback anthology of blog writing, that can be sold to raise funds for the charity.

The book will be called Shaggy Blog Stories: a collection of amusing tales from the UK blogosphere.

Here’s a short version of the Big Idea.

1. All UK bloggers are invited to select one post from their archives, suitable for inclusion in the book.

2. Because it’s Comic Relief, the watchword here is Funny. So I’m looking for posts with a pronounced comedic content.

3. Please e-mail your permalinks to me at Alternatively, you can mail me with a tickled-up version of the original text.

4. The absolute final deadline is 6pm UK time on Tuesday evening (March 13) – but please send your stuff to me as soon as you can, as I’ll be assembling the book on the fly.

5. The book will be published through – a site which specialises in self-publishing, and which doesn’t require any upfront costs or pre-planning. Once they have the text, the book is more or less immediately ready to sell.

6. All money raised by sales – ie. minus the fees charged by the website – is donated to Comic Relief. I would expect to raise between 3 and 4 quid per book, as Lulu’s charges hover around 4 or 5 quid (depending on page count).

All with me so far? Good. Now, here’s how you can help.

1. By publicising the event on your own blog, and asking your readers to pitch in with contributions. Please link directly to this URL: (Digg users can also do their Digg-stuff here.)

2. By contributing to the book itself.

3. By buying the book next Friday.

4. By pimping the book on your own blog, once it goes on sale.

If you’d like to contribute, then please follow these guidelines.

1. Brit bloggers only! You should be currently resident in the UK, or else an ex-pat Brit living abroad. (So, yes, foreign ex-pats in the UK are also welcome to join in.)

2. Please send me ONE POST ONLY. It’s your choice, not mine.

3. Posts should contain TEXT ONLY – we won’t be using pictures.

4. Posts should not include copyrighted material, e.g. song lyrics.

5. Short posts are preferable, i.e. under 1000 words. Absolute top whack maximum is 1500 words, if it’s a really really good one.

6. Although a couple of us will be proof-reading, it would greatly assist if you could check and re-edit your posts for grammar/spelling/punctuation before submitting them.

7. When e-mailing, please tell me the author name you’d like me to use. I know that many of you like to be anonymous on the web, and that’s fine – but as Google doesn’t index the printed page, this might be a suitable occasion to use your real name.

If you’re concerned about copyright: don’t be, as Lulu don’t retain any. The copyright rests with you. They don’t own your words.

If you’re concerned about not being “good enough”: don’t be. This is a quick-fire wheeze, not a major work of literature.

(Having said that: if I receive more material than I can squeeze into the book, then I’ll be enlisting the services of a small editorial team, to help me select the best posts for inclusion.)

And if you’re concerned about the workload I’m taking on: bless you, but don’t be. I’ve got clear evenings all through next week, and I’ll be taking Thursday off work to prepare the manuscript for publication.

My thanks to Lucy Pepper of Blogzira, who has kindly offered to design the cover – and also to Anna Pickard of, for her advice, encouragement and support.

So, people. We’ve got SEVEN DAYS to produce A BOOK! Are you up for it? Of course you are.

Hooray for collective collaboration! Book deals for all!

Now go forth and publicise.


Links to this post: rARsh!, Tired Dad, Edvard Moonke, The skewed worldview of Lubin Odana, Blogzira, Mock Duck, the craic girl, Living for Disco, huskyteer,, I am livid, JonnyB’s Private Secret Diary, Tokyo Girl Down Under, Naked Blog, Everything Is Electric, Peach Arse, Becky’s T-Blog, David Belbin, pandemian, Merlot and Missives, Miss Tickle, Smaller Than Life, Reluctant Nomad, Cartside, Advancing the sum total of human knowledge and endeavour!, Rise, A sometimes blog, Mat Bowles, Darren’s Journal, The Sad Case Of Mr. X, My Boyfriend Is A Twat, Time For Tea And Cake, TheCatGirlSpeaks, Boob Pencil, Chicken Yoghurt, Tim Worstall (by proxy), This Is The Goo I’ve Got, Kitchentable, enduring ramblings, Nicole In London, you and me and the devil makes three, Random Reflections, An Unreliable Witness (which deserves to win some sort of prize), petite anglaise, blue cat, The Oracle, 1000 Shades of Grey, Struggling Author, Comfy Pants Production Co, meredic, DundeeMedStudent, Just A Blog, Stately Moans, [from fuck-up to] fab!*, Niles’s Blog, There’s life Jim, but not as we know it…, Grantham New Town, The Beauty Offensive, Rites of Passage in 60s/70s NE England, So Many People (you’re telling me), Wu Wei, Argy Bargey, Quinta das Abelhas, Better Oot Than In, Goodballoon’s paunch, Tampon Teabag, Music Man, The Cartoon Blog,,, Chocs Away, Old Girl!,, I’m A Seoul Man, Betty’s Utility Room, (Contains Mild Peril), Ignorminious’ Misty Mind, The Bargain Basement, Longstory, Incessant, pointless barking, journeying, Rullsenberg Rules, Savage Popcorn, papersurfer, The Girl with The Golden Mind, Blaugustine, For Which Relief Much Thanks, The Curmudgeon, rachel-catherine, The Windsor Castle Hot Air Balloon Festival, the further adventures of boz, Tomato And Basil Sandwiches (aren’t you just loving some of these blog names?), TGI Paul, Between The Pavement And The Stars, the (French) mountain dweller, Medication Time, itisi, A Simple Equation, what’s new, pussycat?, Clairwil, L’oeil de Mouche, Pickled Politics

…and probably many more – but I’m going to have to stop linking to them, in order to give my full attention to the submissions. Many, many thanks to all linkers.

NEW: Click here for progress updates. And please note the revised deadline, which is now Tuesday at 6pm.