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.