Tuesday, 17 June 2008

FAQ Narcissus

If I had fifty thousand pounds for every time someone has asked me, Where the hell are your Frequently Asked Questions?, I’d still be in the poor house frankly, because no one has ever asked me that. And why would they? Frequently Asked Questions are ghastly. They may make a little sense on sites which provide services, particularly techy services where things are apt to go wrong, but on personal blogs they’re really horribly self-important.

As if keeping a blog wasn’t self-important enough, to then go and claim that there are yet more details about you that people are simply aching to know is tantamount to galloping narcissism.

So here goes.

(Actually, the real reason I’m doing this is because someone asked me to put a photo of myself online. And that was the second time I’d been asked that. Does two times count as frequently? Of course it does.)

Why do you write about your life on the internet, you big freak?

Principally, in order that I may have one. This blog came out of a need to start living properly. It allowed me to make promises to myself in public. This brought with it a sense of responsibility, which in turn proved a huge incentive. So essentially, it’s a way of taking responsibility for my life.

Still seems a bit iffy to me. All those personal details. Have you no shame?

God, yes. I have bags of shame. Mostly however, I’m ashamed that I was living such a hideously half-baked life for so long. Thankfully that’s changed. And that’s mostly down to this blog.

So what did you do before you started blogging?

I sat around watching films and eating peanut butter sandwiches. And I enjoyed it too. But there comes a time in a man’s life when that man has to take some stock of himself, and say to himself, ‘So - what am I?’ And if the answer comes back, ‘I am what I am, and what I am is a Man’, maybe accompanied by a little chest-beating and muttering something about Sparta, then that man should probably be tied to a rock and tranquilised. Equally however, if the answer is ‘I’m nothing but a big old blob, and I’m sitting here wasting my whole fucking life’, then again, it’s probably time for drastic action of one form or another.

So are you really as ugly as you say you are?

Well, no one’s ever actually vomited on me yet. I am however, differently-featured enough for people to stop in the street, raise their eyebrows and blow out their cheeks. Once someone spat at me and once someone punched me in the face for no reason, although that may have been wholly random and not connected to my appearance at all.

Also, my whole life I’ve been told that I’m ugly. That’s how ugly I am.

As a result of writing about my life however, I’m definitely getting less and less hung up about the whole ugly thing. And this pleases me greatly.

Incidentally, I am not – in my opinion – as ugly as Pete Burns. But it's all subjective. I can see how some people might find him quite striking. Weirdoes.

Why don’t you publish a photo of yourself and have done with it?

Have done with what, for heaven’s sake? I don’t publish a photo because this blog is not about what I look like. Rather, it’s about what I do. Or at least what I say I do.

Like I’ve said before, I don’t want to be a freak show. I don’t want people commenting on how I look. I don’t want to hear, ‘Oh, you’re not that bad’. And I especially don’t want to hear, ‘Yeah, actually, I see what you mean’. I don’t want any of that. I’ve had people making comments about how I look my whole life. This blog is the one place where that won’t happen.

Who was the last person you’ve been told you look like?

The last person was just the other day actually, and it was Tracey Emin. Unfortunately this isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds. I do look a little like Tracey Emin. Like Tracey Emin crossed with a bag of elbows.

And Hellboy. I get that quite a bit too. Oh, my aching sides.

Oh, your aching face, more like.

Shut up.

Touché. So on the one hand you say it’s not about looks, yet on the other hand you quite clearly use your appearance to bring in readers.

No, I don’t. If I posted photographs of myself, you could say I used my appearance to bring in readers. On the contrary, I use my words to bring in readers. And nothing more.

Did you really do that thing with the kitten? And that thing about being filmed having sex… is that true?

Is the Pope a Nazi? Do Catholics glow in the dark? Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes. If I’ve written about it, then it’s true.

More or less.

Cor. I like the way you write. Will you go to bed with me?

Hold on a sec. Is that really a frequently asked question?

Never you mind. I’m the one asking the frequently asked questions round here.

No, sorry. Surely I can’t possibly follow up a question about telling the truth by pretending that I’m frequently asked if I will go to bed with my readers.

Why not?

I just can’t. It's not ethical. Anyhow, I’ve had enough. This fake conversation is over.

Hey, would you like a six-figure advance for the story of your life?

Oh, shush.

OK, OK. Finally, are you Irvine Welsh?

No, ahm noat. Cunt.

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Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Obviously I'm a fairly new reader here and I always assumed that your self-proclaimed 'uglyness' was a medical condition. I hate the concept of people being brazen enough to comment on your looks.

I'm convinced that I'm stonking ugly. I won't look in a mirror, won't allow any photographs to be taken of me unless I have to and even at that I have artistic control over whether they get binned (if they've been taken from my left) or kept (only ever if they're taken of my right). I met my hero (Joachim Bjorklund) when I was 15 and had my photo taken with him, then tore up the photograph because I looked so dreadful and I must admit it's been since that point that I've craved plastic surgery. Alas my poor payscale precludes it from being a reality.

ANYWAY. This isn't about me, this is about you. Also I see you more like Christopher Brookmyre than Irvine Welsh. Less swearing and more big words that I need a thesaurus to understand.

Annie Rhiannon said...

I have an FAQ page because it makes me feel important.

Anonymous said...

Spliff on. I'd do ya x

Ann Anon.

Selena said...

For someone who doesn't like their virtual ladies to use the word ass during your cyber fun, you sure did throw the word cunt out there in a nonchalant way.

Hey! I'm just say'in, it's funny is all.

Je ne regrette rien said...

My educated guess is that you were never queried regarding FAQs. Rather, in reading my recent blog post on the dubious merits of happiness, you found my link to OJL's reference to being interviewed by Deep Muck Big Rake who is participating in Citizen of the Month's Great Interview Experiment. Being thoroughly miffed at not receiving an invitation (I can SO relate) ... you came up with this brilliant scheme in which you organize a fake interview.

Damn, why didn't I think of that? (this was fun. I'd say it almost made me happy ... if I believed in such a thing).

Timorous Beastie said...

I love your blog. Not least because I'm ugly too. And I have to stand up in front of large groups of beautiful young people on a daily basis. Most of them haven't the nerve to say the U word to my face, though.

Swineshead said...

Everyone's ugly and everyone's beautiful. Some people get uglier when they start talking, others suddenly become more attractive.

Your facial awareness levels are too high.

Sam said...

Crivens, squire, if being ugly makes you write this good then hit me with that stick. Alas, I've not been blessed with much fortune in the sexy department and my prose is still slightly tepid. You win some, you lose some.

I popped by after you won Post of the Week this week and haven't left, I remain in awe at the wonderful cabal of groupies you've managed to build. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

You are just a genius. (I've been lurking for some time, taking in the sights, doing some covert reconnaissance, etc.) I worship the webspace you write in. Sometimes this blog is so good it makes me sad, because I will never write such fabulous things. I attract readers primarily by using amusing swear words in the wrong context and by drinking gin. Sigh.

MarkF said...

"This blog came out of a need to start living properly"

I can really relate to that. At least writing about what is going forces you to see the good from the bad and to get some idea of which way life is going.

I started after a period of turmoil and wanted to prove to myself by writing things down that life was getting better and what I was forcing myself to do was having some impact.

Shame it didn't work on the waistline for me ...

La Bête said...

Vonnie, hi. No, not medical, excepting a little eczema scarring. Your Joachim Bjorklund story is very sad. Please don’t crave plastic surgery. You don’t look remotely ugly to me, and you have beautiful children. God, it really is all completely subjective, isn’t it? People are mad.

Annie, you are important.

Ann Anon, come and do me then. I’m ready.

Selena, it was a rather unsubtle attempt to amusingly suggest that I might in fact be Irvine Welsh after all. It didn’t really work. I see that now.

Sparra, your educated guess – and I hate to say this – was wrong. But thanks for introducing me to that Citizen of the Month blog. That’s some blog.

TB, thank you. And you’re not ugly either. I know it. Listen to Swineshead. He knows.

Swineshead. I think you might be on the money. I bet you learned that on EastEnders, you bugger.

Thanks, Sam. Nice to meet you. And thanks for the plug.

Fathorse, hush now. You’re making me swell. (Hope the move went well.)

Markf, keep hope alive.

Vulgar Wizard said...

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee heheheheheheheheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee *gasp* heheheheeheheheheeeeeee!!!!