Category Archives: Opening Statements

11th September, 2011

Disclaimer: If you haven’t read the previous post, you should do that first. It’s mad and ramble-y and talks about what this blog is going to be like, hopefully, if I manage to keep up with it. It’s the proper introduction to this project.

Here’s the thing, though. I finally got around to setting up this thing up, writing the first post, with everything ready to go. And the day on which I finally achieved this prodigious feat? 11th September, 2011. Yeah. As Marty McFly would say, this is heavy.

Now, of course, I had a few thoughts of how to handle this confluence of events. Easiest option? Wait until tomorrow to start the blog. Of course, then the terrorists win. But really, that was unsatisfactory to me because responding to something that momentous without acknowledging it seemed cheap and easy. Ignoring it seemed no better, nor did turning the introductory post into, well, this. So here we are, then.

But really, there’s nothing I can say that’s not been said 1000 times (and even that has no doubt been said before). So I’m just going to stand back and let a smarter man than I do the talking:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb3gInJAY6g [1]

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[1] Link is to Jon Stewart’s post-9/11 speech on The Daily Show. Just click ‘x’ on the message that comes up at the beginning, or wait 15 seconds or so. Bring tissues.

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What’s in a name?

So, following a year-and-a-half of good intentions and poor motivation, it seems I’ve finally started a blog. Embarrassingly enough, the main reason I hadn’t got around to it already was because I couldn’t think of a name for the damn thing. Juliet Capulet might not think much of such a trifling detail, but then she got herself and the boy she loved killed in such a spectacular fashion that that their names are still used as a byword for love in its most idealised form (on a completely unrelated note, our society’s attitudes towards romance can be kind of messed up). Point is, Juliet may not be the most reliable judge of these things. Shakespeare certainly didn’t seem to think so.

Anyway. I took a lot of time over the name, not because I wanted the best name ever for a blog (I’m not that ambitious), but because the title sets the scene, not just for anyone who might come across this thing, but for myself too. It’s not so much about content, but tone. Being the irredeemable arts graduate that I am, the content was pretty much a given – ramblings on culture, books, television, film, etc., etc. But the tone was up for grabs.

I spent ages (and this probably says a lot about me) trying to find an ‘appropriate’ literary quotation – this blog was very nearly called ‘The drunkenness of things being various’, which is a reference to a Louis MacNeice poem called ‘Snow’ (an exceptional poem, incidentally, and one I’ll probably come back to in a later post, given the excuse). It was nearly called ‘The Walrus’, or ‘Of Shoes – and ships – and sealing wax’, or something to that effect.[1]

These worthy references suggested the broadness in content I was aiming for. But I was going to have that anyway. So I’ve gone with a running gag from a 1999 Comic Relief special of a then-defunct BBC family show. Because, as a name, it’s whimsical and a little silly, and makes no claim to profundity. If you stumble across seemingly deep or profound thoughts in my writing, well, I can only assure you it probably wasn’t intentional.[2] And if none of this makes any sense to you, I’ll explain later.[3]

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[1] From ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’ in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, obviously, but I actually first came across the “Of Shoes -” quotation while studying R. C. Sherriff’s 1928 play Journey’s End at school. The play was set in the trenches of the Western Front, and in a memorable scene, the kindly old Sergeant Osbourne uses the quotation to distract the young Lt. Raleigh before they go Over the Top. I mention this mostly because the play is up there with the final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth (‘Goodbyeee’) as a depiction of the tragic fate of so many men, young and old, in the First World War.

[2] This may be a Clever Lie to lower expectations.

[3] I can’t believe I just wrote that. I am so sorry.