Friday, 25 July 2014

Good blogkeeping

Oh god, all I do at the moment is eat and drink. Roll on two weeks of wholesome Yorkshire outdoorsiness* (*constant crisps, pubs lunches, bacon every morning, gin), so I can hide my lumpy shame in the forgiving embrace of a waterproof poncho. Yesterday I had lunch about 10 feet from Idris Elba, which was incredibly distracting. Idris was wearing a blue jumper despite the intense heat and ate a fish and drank some beer. This concludes my report from the frontline of celebrity lunch.

I have been to London, mainly because the builders have forced us to leave so they can get on with covering every inch of the house in thick, possibly toxic, dust. It was steamy there, I think more so even than Uccle (Me to my dad's cleaning lady, who I have known for twenty years and who is amazing: "How are you finding the weather Grace, awful isn't it?" Grace: "DISGUSTING").
The oligarchs had all deserted their Notting Hill mansions for, I suppose, their yachts. The tourists walked slowly and stickily up Regent Street in unmanageable herds. Sitting on a Central Line train was like being swallowed by a giant, sun-warmed anaconda and then marinating helplessly in its unsavoury digestive juices. On the plus side there was night scented jasmine and gin on pub terraces and green tea frozen yoghurt.

Now I am back and whilst the number 4 tram is glacially air conditioned, the house looks much as it did when I left, ie. full of toxic dust and equipment. I am writing this sitting on the bathroom floor. In my eyeline, a very orange pine chest of drawers which has no business being there, a ladder, a plush tortoise, a basket containing a novelty ghost, a pillow slip, an infant's toy and a length of cable, a plush shark and one of those super bright decorating lights. To my right seven lever arch files, more pillow slips, some books and a copy of the European Cartel Digest, as co-authored by me in a far distant lifetime.

Nevertheless, this is better than the rest of the house.

Hall floor: collapsed.

Chickens: escaped.

Garden: comprehensively fucked over by chickens.

Builders rubbish: also filling garden.

Walls: grey (this is correct, but not I think, a great success. Yet again I have succeeded in making aesthetic choices so poor the house looks like a mid-level provincial accountancy firm in the mid-1990s).

All rooms: filled with crap and dust.

Look, this used to be a sitting room:


Expressing misery through the medium of hindquarters

My weekend will involve walking from room to room with a binbag, muttering furiously. I can't do tidying by halves, so mainly I don't do it at all, but when I do fall off the slattern wagon, I go pop-eyed crazy and have to be forcibly restrained from eg. washing all the light shades and sorting Lego bricks by size and colour.

On a brighter note, my post:

200 pairs of Laser Lite earplugs (£21.99 for 200!) bought in a fit of extravagance. There is something wildly indulgent about a vast box of new pairs of ear plugs into which you can just plunge a careless hand at will, no, you'll just have to trust me on this.

A bag of Epsom salts.

The blagged copy of the new Tana French, which took forever to arrive and which I feared lost, OH MY GOD HAPPINESS. I am saving this for Yorkshire.

There is no point whatsoever to this post, but I suppose you are used to that. Oh, no, hang on there IS a point. In the autumn I am teaching teenagers Humorous Blogging for a week (YES I AM TERRIFIED) and I have a couple of requests.

First: are there any funny blogs (or posts) you particularly like that I might not have encountered?

Second: what are the 'rules' of good blogging? And are there any that are actually not total bollocks? Whenever I try and research this I get assailed by dismal SEO fanatics' posts about, I dunno, core brand values or 'engagement' or similar and fall into a coma before the end of the first paragraph, which, SEO experts, seems to rather undermine your points.

I realise I am basically asking you to do my work for me here. Sorry.

Percentages:

25% as overfed as a foie gras goose
20% acting as a mysteriously powerful lint magnet
20% tight sausagey warm weather skin
20% dust
5% alarming fish scented facial moisturiser
5% desire to rip off wig on public transport
0% Va va voom

You?

28 comments:

Anna Maria said...

Can't believe Idris was sitting all by himself, yet you don't mention any companions? I'm quite jealous - when I worked in a pub in Notting Hill, I served quite a lot of celebs, but very few as good looking or as cool as Idris - loved him in The Wire and Luther, and whenever I read any interviews with him, he always sounds normal.
Can you also disclose location of said lunch?;-)

Anna Maria said...

Also - is the moisturiser by Dr Perricone per chance? That entire line smells of fish, probably because it contains fish;-)

Waffle said...

AM - Yeah, there were three other men with him, but I didn't recognise any of them (which is no proof of anything) - it was in Quo Vadis in Dean St. My Notting Hill celeb spots: Princess Diana once in her car, driving past the bus stop I was standing at, and Lucian Freud lots of times in Clarke's. Patsy Kensit in the newsagents.

Waffle said...

No, not Perricone (we were debating whether to do his silly "facelift diet" for Facegoop but it was too dear), Merumaya. Very good and reasonably priced, but FISH.

Anna Maria said...

Thank you! I'll try Merumaya. I've never actually bought anything from Perricone, a clinic in Harley Street, where I briefly worked, stocked it, so I had some testers. Speaking of which - Harley St, I mean - that's another excellent place for celebrity spotting (and the nearby Marylebone High Street); I once nearly bumped into Claudia Schiffer there, and saw many other A-or Z-listers;-)

Helen Strydom said...

You did ask, so I'm offering my opinion. For me, the funniest blogs are the self-deprecating, honest ones. Nothing makes me laugh more than realising my worries are shared by people all over the world.

frau antje said...

Not a blog, and you may have heard of it, but you might want to alert teenagers to the Cringe thing (without paralyzing them, of course). So, I guess what I'm saying is, tell them that anything they write will be hilarious in the blink of an eye.

Also, that it might be a good idea to tread lightly on the topic of any group of society one is not a member of.

Nimble said...

Laser Lite earplugs ought to make your ears glow bright colors.

alphabet soup said...

Just enough space for The Dog to fall down amid all the turmoil.

As for the matter of a good blog; whatever engages the reader, doesn't follow all those too correct rules and manages to throw in some humour here and there.
The blog attached to this comment box might be considered a good example.
What? This comment is no help to you at all? I'm sure you'll cope...

Ms Soup

ganching said...

Celebrity spotting poker - does my sighting of Russell Brand and Jemima Khan in Haggerston Park on Wednesday evening beat your Idris Elba? Discuss.

London City (Mum) said...

Suggestion of a humorous blog post here: http://bloominmavelous.blogspot.co.uk/2008/02/hitting-fan.html
Had me in stitches the first time I read it, once again just now re-reading it some 6 years later.

LCM x

Sonya said...

Idris! I once sat near Michele Williams in a Soho restaurant (visiting for work) and it was a bit discombobulating.
I also have have a deep need to paint everything in shades of grey. My last house had rooms in about 5 different Farrow and Ball greys; from Cornforth to Calluna to Parma to Down Pipe (my absolute fave), etc. Love. My daughters felt obliged to snark occasionally but it is seriously the best colour in almost all circumstances. I may or may not have 4 charcoal coloured cardis.

Anonymous said...

My rules for bloggers is to not go 'sponsored' although I do realize a writer has got to eat. But this blog (link, http://mylifeandkids.com/) used to be so funny and wonderful and now it is just awful. Boo!

I had no idea you co-authored such a book. I would order it for our law firm but the subject is so obscure I can't imagine being able to explain the purchase to the partners here.

All my best, Candace

redfox said...

What is the endgame of all this builder activity? Anything worth looking forward to?

Waffle said...

Redfox - The endgame is the builders leaving for me. They have painted 4 floors worth of hall/staircase. They still need to wallpaper two walls and FIX MY GODDAM BATH, but apparently this must wait until the end of August.

Ganching - Yours wins. Also, you have Resident Celebrities in your street which is very much not the case in Ukkel.

Candace - Ahahahahaha "yes, we totally need this obscure reference guide to European cartel law".

Anonymous said...

Highly recommend Jessica Stanley's Read Look Think blog, including this wonderful link:

http://jessicastanley.com.au/category/read-look-think/

http://www.newyorker.com/books/joshua-rothman/virginia-woolfs-idea-of-privacy

jennybegoode said...

On blogging rules - a lot of the full time bloggers publish posts about their approach (stuff like planning out your posting schedule, deciding on themes etc.) - perhaps you could glean some content?

Two of the best pieces of advice I saw were: write about what interests you, not what you think will be popular, and don't expect to make any money. "Focus on creating unique content and posting often".

Humour is so subjective that I hesitate to offer up any suggestions. But, my favourite funny blogs are cartoons - hyperbole and a half, the oatmeal and xkcd, plus wedding blogs with copious swearing.

Sounds like a fun course!

Jenny

Paddy said...

Hullo. My favourite blog is monkseal.wordpress.com - he recaps episodes of reality tv shows like GBBO and Strictly and is pretty hilarious. Sometimes I find myself watching the shows just so I can read the recap.

Briella Lane said...

I fucking love Idris Elba.

Eve said...

Moi?

10% Eventual bumble bee release
10% Do I need a separate work number?
4% Turning off apr├ęs ski compilation on YouTube
4% Aga doo-doo-do
4% Do I still need to wear foot bandage?
9% My next appointment is too far away
10% Not showering but washing feet today
3% Must use multiples of 5
10% View of boules club
20% The cobbler's children go barefoot
5% What is my graphic designers problem?
6% Need an extra layer

jonathan said...

Er.. Kevin Keegan on Fenham Hall Drive Newcastle upon Tyne sometime in the early 80s (who am I kidding it was springtime 1983, OK March 1983, and I said 'all right Kev' and he replied 'all right lads'. It was the single most momentous moment of my life up to that point). Actually I can give you a relatively contemporary Swinging London one- Paul Young of 'love of the common people' fame (I'm sure it was him) outside of one of the many Italian eateries in Soho (I think it was Soho), midsummer 2003 or thereabouts, closely studying a lunchtime pasta billboard menu.
Rules for good blogging- God knows. Keep writing and posting regularly would be my first one (I know I break it completely)- then the readers know they keep coming back to find more. Helps if the writing is constantly of almost unfeasibly consistent quality like it is on BW, obviously. Also something (I think I manage it sometimes) about always leaving something the reader can comment on, opening up some window for a comment box conversation (you also do that very well I think).Mostly I'm just astonished (and heartened) to learn there are teenagers learning about blogging like it is something new, as opposed to something that went out with Paul Young (of love in the common people fame). Maybe we are still surfing the zeitgeist here after all!

jonathan said...

Also- hold on a minute.. a book? A Belgian Waffle book! Heavens be praised! Seriously, I'm overjoyed for you. Not before time I'm just amazed it took them so long....

Lucy Campbell said...

OMG a BOOK?? Fantastic news.

Advise on writing a blog I thought was relatively useful was on a travel blogger I follow…

Might be of use? Yes I know it's all about how to become a professional travel blogger but you could insert "humorous" blogger for travel and sure will be fine…


http://www.findingtheuniverse.com/2014/07/how-to-become-professional-travel.html

Lx

family Affairs said...

Oh and btw I linked to the wrong thing in the comment I think

http://www.findingtheuniverse.com/2014/07/how-to-become-professional-travel.html

Dara said...

It's so wierd that you mention Tana French in your post. I am in this psudo-bookclub where we send one book we really liked to one person who then reads it and sends it on to the next person...so we are all reading different books. I loved In the Woods, so I sent that book and was just wondering when she would come out with a new book and bamn, you mention her!

Thanks! I will order her latest from Amazon cause the book I was sent sucks.

kath said...

Idris Elba is from my manor, he came and made a documentary at the end of my street AND I MISSED HIM. Tearful still.

Anonymous said...

It has been a very long time since your last post and we miss you! Hope the builders didn't bury you in plaster dust. Please post soon, tell us more about the book and the cowering space.

cruella said...

Ou est-tu? Tu nous manque!