So I’ve been doing a half-page column (really, it’s a few different columns where you are supposed to be funny or controversial or you could just engage with the over 65s and write about things that interest them, if you had basically given up). Aaanyway, it’s a tad of a poisoned chalice. On the one hand you get to write about things you are interested in / find funny / find annoying etc but on the other you please pretty much nobody, any of the time.
Each person that does this page has a different style. As I’ve mentioned before, former boss of the backhanded compliment gave me the best compliment of all by saying I made him laugh at 6am and apparently nothing does. Nothing would make me laugh at 6am either to be honest. I’m assuming it was the phrase “2005 called; they want their website back”. Harrrrr.
But aside from that you’ve got the haters. Thing is about newspapers is that people feel a real Ownership of them, whether they buy them or not. It’s our media, you are shit and I’m going to tell you that, usually with no basis in fact and with BIG SHOUTY CAPITAL LETTERS even though I’m a complete tool who has no idea what I’m talking about.
Of course there are some readers who have a point, like the two who emailed because I’d, in my panic and delirium, gone back to the 1980s and forgotten how to do grammar and shit and written ex-pat instead of expat. I sent them both nice responses because, in this instance, they were correct.
However I did righteously school some muppet who disputed who actually said “there are lies, damned lies and statistics”. I didn’t write Disraeli because there is no empirical evidence he said it. But I did say “as Mark Twain was fond of saying” because whether he stole to or made it up, he is recorded, in his books, as having said it at least twice. I have an MA English Lit degree don’t fuck with me on matters of books and quotes, this I will make sure I am especially right on. Said reader was all like “mmmeeeh Disraeli and mmmeeeeh you should look up wikipedia”. So I righteously schooled him in why we do not ever, ever reference wikipedia and why I wrote what I wrote because I could not prove, depsite extensive time-consuming research on two goddamn centimetres of copy, that Disraeli said or coined it. I can however confirm that on beating Gladstone “I help women of the night in my spare time because I’m nice like that” in a speech-down in Parliament, he and his wife celebrated by going to Fortnum and Mason for pies. I know. Isn’t my brain amazing? I know this and yet after watching a tyre being change at least five times I have no idea how to do it. WEIRD. Anyway, it was almost the nicest put-down I’ve ever done. In the words of a dear ex and friend “kill em with kindness”. Oh yeahs.
I did not send a response to the people who whinged about the regular (and boring) segments that are basically space-fillers (hey! if you want to know what happened on this day in history FUCKING GOOGLE IT. You’ve emailed me. Use the Internet)
Anyway, I’m tired and emotional. It ain’t easy filling 90-120cm of columns each day and I haven’t finished Monday’s because I’m an idiot so I’ll probably have to go to work on Sunday. Gah. But here be a little paint by numbers of the week and a bit I had taking over the (will not name) column page with my big fat massive smug face on it. There may also be a bit of cleavage there. Which makes one of the points even more salient.
1. Nice things/texts/emails I have had from people who love what I write: 9
2. Complaints specifically about me not being the regular person: 1
3. Complaints about rubbish filler bits not being included: 2
4. Complaints about the one typo I made that the subs did not pick up: 2
5. People on Twitter who think I’m shit: 2
6. Number of breakdowns I’ve thought of having: 6
7. Number of people who have sent a handwritten letter in copperplate script addressing me as “Mr” (my fucking face is on the fucking page I am a fucking women FFS): 2
8. Number of people who have called me to ask if I am from New Zealand (I’m not): 2
9. Number of people who have basically called me for a chat to tell me what they thought about stuff and things and occasionally my columns but yet basically and fundamentally have wasted my time but I’ve had to be nice: 9
10. Number of times I can do this page without losing my mind?: no more for at least a few months and then for a week only or I will spontaneously combust.