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Wednesday, 16 August 2006

Absolutely The *Last* Word On Girl With A One Track Mind...

OK, I know we're all getting bored with this but as I'm starting to come up near the top of the search lists on shit like this one on Technorati [new addition] and this one on Ice (must be because we've bust through the 40,000 hits glass ceiling, I suppose) [and frankly, we need the traffic - recently installed corporate marketing and PR guru ed.] I felt it incumbent upon me to blab on about it a bit more. Well, there's nothing else to do here until the removals guys pick me, chair, table and PC up and physically haul me to Uxbridge...

Right. There's already been some (alarmingly) sensible debate about the whole Abby Wotsit business here in our comments patch. I'd just add that speaking as someone just outside The Spinster's catchment area (32-40, for the information of all you young bucks out there) and whose life experience encompasses the loss of both parents, one in sudden and the other in horrifically prolonged fashion, I find the whole thing about someone having money shovelled at them by publishers for stuff they are ashamed to tell their folks about a bit weird, to be honest. About the only pleasant thing about being left (as it were) to stand on one's own two feet is the - to use an Amis word - adamantine quality one acquires. In a very tangible way, there is suddenly no one there to pick you up on things or ask you to moderate your language etc. In short - you are stranded with being *you* and not someone else's son/daughter. I think it would be dishonest to say that once you get over the obvious grief and trauma of the loss(es) there's not also a sense that in some cliched circle-of-life way, one has in a funny way been necessarily liberated - freed to become oneself, without the sort of p & q minding that Abby Wotsit seems to be going through. So that's where I 'm coming from on this.

So this - I think - begs a couple of questions of GWAOTM. Firstly - if this is stuff that she really doesn't want her parents to see, shouldn't the decision to keep it under wraps have been made a little earlier in the process - namely, before the agents and publishers decended on her cyber diary with the intention of thrusting it under the noses of as many people as possible? You know - if you decide to dive into a tankful of sharks for a fish, you kind of run the risk of being bitten by sharks...

Secondly, doesn't it get a bit repetitive (and aren't there any vaguely feminist people left out there to get hot under the collar about) the fact that if you're a female blogger, they only way you'll get on is by (and I'm speaking figuratively here, obviously) dropping them? I think Abby Wotsit can be excused her callowness - she's a young lass whose life so far probably hasn't given her any conception of the horrors that time will ultimately unfold before her - and rightly so (youth being wasted on the young is a load of tommyrot. It's precisely the innocence of it all that one can't get back and misses). Good on her for getting a 'screw' out of all the other sort of screwing. But isn't that same callowness (or rather the preying on it) a bit worrying in publishers? You know - we have this whole end of days scenario playing out and they want us to be reading about GWAOTM's carnal carnival. Nothing wrong with that - but why isn't there the same interest in - and I choose a name at random here - The Spinster, for instance?

She writes beautifully, is witty, insightful and I think even if it's all a persona and she's really bathing in bacardi with Chipperfields models every evening, she's The Real Deal. I think she offers an insight into the realities of femininity that I for one have found riveting, instructive and consistently amusing. But it's an *awkward* femininity for the publishers, isn't it? Because the reality is harder to *market*... So instead of getting The Spinster's Morrissey, we get GWAOTM's Gwen Steffani. (Who, incidentally, I *would*)

So, let's draw a line under it. I was going to blab on about the use of personas in blogging - which I obviously wrote the book on, so I would be hypocritical not to allow GWAOTM a veil of her own. But, at the end of the day, in the unlikely event of the Me-Jah unceremoniously removing the mask of Bob to reveal dull and boring old Johnny, then - so what? What's to be ashamed of? And if - ultimately - you can't stand by it. Don't post it. Besides, it's much more fun on here, being unmediated in blogspace - isn't it? Just tell the publishers where to go.

There endeth the lesson.

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