Hastings Battleaxe emerges from her lair......
Silly me, thinking that the fuss about my blog had died down. How wrong could I be? Last week Battleaxe was in national media s**t storm. Note to other bloggers - you may think massive explosion of attention directed at your blog would be good - but be careful what you wish for.... Was also looking after grand daughter for the week... who, as readers will know, is not the easiest. Special thanks to Philosopher for helping to fend off press and for long-suffering support.
|Mowgli and Kaa the Python - see below..|
I know I was totally responsible for what I wrote, and I upset people who really didn't need it. As a blogger, it is too easy to forget you are playing with fire, and next thing you have this out-of-control firestorm...
Fellow bloggers - why do we write blogs? I know some people do it to help sell books, make money from promoting products etc., but I know plenty are like me - just do it because?
It was all a bit like working through classic stages of trauma - first, I couldn't believe what I was seeing - numb disbelief and shock. Then, grief, guilt, fear, paranoid anxiety, followed by anger until now, just about, acceptance.
Last week's papers are now lining cat trays and wrapping chicken carcasses.
I have learned plenty about the media, and also about how journalists mine social media for news leads. In my view, the worst are the 'stringers', journalists who work for news agencies and who go to any lengths to whip up a story out of nothing so they can sell it to the papers. We had phone calls, text, FB messages, Twitter messages and even weasly little man on the doorstep...
The horrible Daily Mail was the first national daily on the scene, shamelessly twisting my words to fabricate a 'story' - in this case, the classic favourite, 'war' between women. Why does the media love creating, then feeding readers this ridiculous trope?
Where the Mail led, all the others followed, like vultures, lazily using the same material, yet making their pieces increasingly fatuous and inaccurate. Finally, the local press trailed along behind, getting even the most basic facts hopelessly wrong. Also think Radio 4, BBC News, ITV, local radio and finally, the extended edition of Have I Got News For You. I hate to say this but bits were almost funny - I liked 'hipsters and artificial hipsters....'
Among the many calls, one that stood out was a demon temptress from Femail (part of the Mail I believe) - like that python that coils down from the tree in the original Jungle Book cartoon film. 'Trussst me, I can help you, it will make you feel so much better', she hissed beguilingly. 'Why not just talk to me, you know you want to.....' As if. No chance. Go away. No Comment all round...
However, reassuringly, I also learned that things that appear in the media just pass many people by. One day last week - the worst day, I went down to town with GD. I was feeling sick with dread getting on the bus for fear of judgmental pointing fingers..... GD, as ever, galloped straight for the back seat, so I had to follow her down the aisle past people reading their free copies of the Metro. My photo was plastered all across it. Did anyone notice me? Of course not.... We went to the Automata exhibition on the Pier, ate lunch in a cafe and spent what felt like hours and hours in H &M. Did anyone notice me? Of course not.
Even better, yesterday I was coming home on the bus from town - lovely sunny day, sat outside Cafe Nero feeling almost human. Anyway, a man I know gets on the bus as well.
'How are you?' sez he. I shrug - 'So-so'.
'What? have you been ill? You look well enough to me...'
'No - it was the national media storm'.
'What? You'll have to speak up! I'm a bit deaf these days...'
'NATIONAL MEDIA STORM!'
'NATIONAL... WHAT? HEALTH?'
'NOO! MEDIA STORM!'
'WHAT ABOUT? SURELY NOT YOU???
'I HAVEN'T SEEN ANYTHING!' Even now, the other passengers are not interested... but of course, this is Hastings....
Anyway, I promise this is the very last on this. Normal Battleaxe service is now resumed.