Saturday, September 02, 2006


Glory days

This is the Boss, Bruce Springsteen, one of my all-time rock heroes. I’ve seen him live in London twice – Earl’s Court Olympia in 1999 and Crystal Palace Stadium in 2003 - and I own all his albums. Sometimes I play his 1975-1985 live collection at full blast while reading Dostoevsky. I've cut down because the passengers in my car aren't too happy about this combination, the philistines.

Anyway: back in 1985 Springsteen had a single called Glory Days. It’s about baseball for the most part, but also about lost dreams.

Last night I took a mildly wine-soaked trawl through the scant history of The Fishwhacker Swindle – this self-same blog – and I concluded, once and for all, that three of the people I link to there on the left are actually one and the same person. They know who they are.

I also concluded that my own glory days were in January this year (2006). Back then I was starting to gain some commenters and a little respect. Even the great Gorilla Bananas used to comment in those days. I still regard this two-part post as my finest hour so far; yet the second instalment got fewer responses than the first. I’ve reached a wider audience in the eight months since then, and I’ve censored myself accordingly. Is this a good thing? I would never post something like The Neckrofyle nowadays.

I have two questions for you, gentle readers.

1. What do you regard as your own glory days, blogesquely speaking? (i.e. which is your favourite post on your blog?)

2. Which is your favourite post on this blog? (Supplementary question: should Coca-Cola bring back New Coke?)

I'm serious about this. Please let me know.

I have several that I like a lot.... "The Neckrofyle" is a keeper, definitely. Good perspective, clear writing, clever hook; keep it up.

As for your normal (?) posts, I loved "Sellouts," "The Best Laid Plans," "House of Horror," "Love Story," "The Day Dick Had His Face Chewed Off," and "A User's Guide To Doctors," which all made me laugh out loud, but I am a seriously warped individual with a very simplistic sense of humor. I giggle at fart jokes.

That being said, you have an excellent story-telling style that is cozy and confiding, immediately drawing your reader in, and you deftly play out the joke to include, rather than exclude your reader. We know the joke's on us, at the end, but you did it so well that we don't really care.

"The Depths" and "Chameleon" are good. Fairly clear descriptive writing, and "The Depths," especially, is one of those that you mull over the next day after reading it.

I would have to put my vote on the side of your "comedy" writing, but that's what I'm drawn to reading myself, so it's a biased view.

Why on earth would you censor yourself? Like you said, it's your gaff. If people have read through the archives, they should know what to expect. If it's your story, your truth, even your lies that you want to peddle, well, it's your soap box, isn't it? Your 15 minutes of fame. Just let it all out, you'll feel better. It's nice to have praise, and/or constructive criticism, but at the end of the day, you are the only one who can say what your best work is, and whether or not you have been true to yourself, right? Right? (says she, desperately looking around for reassurance)

For my favorite post on my blog, right now I'd have to pick "Bruce Springsteen is a nit on a homeless wanker's crusty pubes," Wednesday, August 9, 2006.
Ooops, I forgot to say that I like the new story, too.
Christ you've got a fan!
We've been down this road before but who are the three? I think you may be mistaken.
email your suspicions to
The Neckrophile: Exquisite and savage and definitely vintage Footles. It was about a month before my time and so it's new to me. What a treat! Top stuff.

Favourite Footie though? Hmmm. That's going to require some thought and snooping through the archives. I'll get back to you. (Off the top of my head though, I loved the cannibal saga and your guide to doctors was brilliant too, like fat sparrow said)

Fat sparrow, you better believe I'm coming over to your's to check out "Bruce Springsteen is a nit on a homeless wanker's crusty pubes," Holy Venereal Disease, that begs to be read! Buggrit though, I hardly have enough to read all the bloggers I already read and along you come, waving your intriguing titles... It's my children who'll suffer you know. I bet they dream of eating their greens:

"Mummy, when's tea? We haven't had it for a week, you know and`we're feeling kinda woozy and unreal".

"Ssh my petals, lights of my life, mummy's reading about pubic lice. Try the cat bowl if the wooziness doesn't pass by tomorrow. You can put the bins out too, my darlings. After all you're 4 now - big girls."

See? It's only going to end in tears and child-protection court. And I don't think I'll have internet access in prison. So you are the last, the very LAST new blog I'm adding to the list for a while, Fat sparrow. The very LAST. (Doing emphatic Woody Allen arms)

I'll try and give you my favourite post and why, by tomorrow Foots. I'm going to have to resnoop your archives for a while to give you the best answer. And I still haven't decided what to wear to Doccy's do yet! Heels? Or would they just sink into the field I suspect we'll all wake up in, with a still-warm lamb or two kebabed on them. Maybe with onions and potatoes too depending on whether we first stumble through Mr. McGregor's vegetable garden en route to our field.
Sam you tickle me.

"...You can put the bins out too, my darlings..."

You brought forth a rare laugh.
Foot, my favorite was the one about the family and at the end you realize that the boyfriend is dead and stuff....

I like the fiction stuff.
Woodborne, and the one about the boat.
I must not've been coming round when you did that two parter, and I'll need to read them to see if they are as good as you think they are.

I read every damn thing you post, and have yet to be bored into not comin' round.

I sound so silly, but I have a bad ear for names, and remember the stories more than the titles.

GB not withstanding, (he'd come round here more often if you had breasts or were named after a color) I don't know as I'd call those the glory days or not.

As for my "glory days" I don't think I've had any. By readership, I suppose it might be earlier in the Closure series, when Sarah and Redhead and McCrumble were readers.
Best post of mine? I have no idea. I liked my super hero application. I got no real idea. I can more easily tell you which I hated.
Doc -- Yep, I'm a fan. I'm new, so I had just got done reading through all the archives, and it was all fresh in my mind. Perfect timing for the question.

Sam -- I see we have similar styles of child-rearing. By the age of almost-4, it's high time they learned to microwave their own cat food, dammit. Leave out a bunch for them, and I'll be looking forward to your visit. It's always the titles that hook them in, heh heh.
He is just a bit like a cheesier version of Bob Dylan though isn't he?

Am I banned?
Yes, Footsie - pray tell, who are the suspected 3?
A bit like your Unoriginal Miscellany, you seem to be reflecting on blog cycles and where you're going with them.

It seems to me that nearly everyone goes through a point of crisis with the blog once they realise they have regular readers and feel the pressure to start producing regularly.

For some, like El B and Anti-Barney, burn out and resentment overcomes everything else and they have to stop.

Dr Maroon falters then springs back from another angle.

I think I'm fairly settled into 2 or 3 posts a week, but I've definitely been through the bit about chucking it all in.

I don't know whether I've had glory days. Sometimes I post something I'm delighted with, othertimes I'm not so keen, but it comes and goes.

As for triple identities, considering how difficult it is to keep one blog going, I'd have to take my hat off to anyone who could keep three separate characters going.
Fat Sparrow: thanks, very helpful. Censorship is not quite the word... once you have an established readership you start writing to them, and unconsciously you modify the content and style of your writing. So I've found, anyway. I'm in two minds about whether or not it was a good idea to post The Depths, Chameleon and The Woodborn. They're stories I wrote years ago, and they don't really fit here on the blog, somehow.

Your Springsteen post is outrageous, by the way. I hope he sues.

Maroon: consider yourself emailed, unless this is a wind-up.

Sam: thank you. I'd be careful about this party of his if I were you, though. It's probably one of these new-fangled 'raves', where lots of young people in floppy T-shirts and cycling shorts take illegal pills and dance about in a field to very fast music.

SafeT: that Superhero Application is utterly brilliant. I was turned down, by the way, but hey, that's the way the cookie crumbles. (Have you ever considered that it's precisely the losers who get rejected in this sort of process that go on to become megalomaniacal villains bent on world domination? I think a little more social responsibility on your part is called for.)

Kieran: no, you're not banned. I feel too sorry for you to do that. Watch Bruce's 'Live in Barcelona' DVD and tell me then if you still think he's cheesy. I haven't forgotten my promise to check out those links of yours, by the way.

Binty: my lips are sealed. Then again, if you're Dr Maroon, you'll have got my email.

Kim: the funny thing is, I don't feel particularly burnt out or blocked at the moment. Far from it, in fact; I have loads of ideas for posts. I just suddenly wondered why people keep visiting my site.

A lot of this is about expectations. If you or Binty or Gorilla Bananas stopped posting for a week, people would get alarmed. Maroon has a little more leeway as we know he can be sporadic, even if we don't like it. If Joke Mail missed a single day, a state of national emergency would be declared. Brewski, on the other hand, has hiatuses lasting a quarter of a year and yet we still keep checking his site and greet him when he returns as though he's never been away. I did, anyway.
Foot, you can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself.

Which is why I have a vibrator.

As for content, toss it all out there, and let people sift through it. It may be old to you, but it's new to us.

I have found that putting your writing out there is like telling someone about a bad dream. It gets it off your mind, and opens you back up for new material. Otherwise, you brood over it too much. Once it's out there, it's out there. It's a lot like raising kids. You have to know that you did your best, with what you had, at that time, and let them go out in the world on their own, once they're grown.

Your fic opens up your blog, which is good. Complexity and diversity is nice. If I wanted to read kitty blogs, I'd talk to my neighbors.

Springsteen suing me? I'm pretty sure I won't be contacted by him. The last time he contacted me, it was to inform me that the hubby was being served with a restraining order.
Right, I have just been through the whole of your archives and I even had a wee peek-see around that room marked STAY AWAY! TOP SECRET! UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES ENTER! (You really ought to lock that door you know...).

I present to you now my findings: Footles work has been of a very high quality consistently. He does wriggle in his seat a bit too much, and giggles at the back with the Ayres boy, McShae (and that peculiar SafeT - remind me to have a word with his parents about octopi). At the moment it is difficult to see whether he's a bad influence on young Maroon or vice versa. And you might want to discourage this increasingly unhealthy preoccupation wih the feet of the dead.

Reading stuff over has taught me more things about you, for example, that you lived in S. Africa as a child.

Really, Foots, the whole site is as near perfection as dammit and I get the impression you're just beginning to hit your stride.

Personal favourites: the Dylan and Kate Bush homages and your twist in the tale tales - you're spot on at these.

I need to get some sleep now but I hope that helps. I had a blast (re-)reading all your stuff.

Might email you about it after I've had some sleep. I's nearly 1am and I'm nodding off as I type. Back soon when refreshed by slumber.
Footsie, is this a double bluff? Are you and Philip Challinor the same blogger? Or is he just writing his Jackal story in Footsie style?
my favorite post of mine was the one i wrote about my niece. i can't read it without bursting into tears.

i don't know if i could pick a fav. on your site, i sure do like your new story, it's very amusing.
I did consider it. In fact, many of the questions are intended to flush out the supervillians before they assume their horrible mantle.

But at least we've got their social security number and last address....
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