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January 2005 - Blog on the Landscape

So did you all have a good Christmas?  I trust you did, fortified for the festive season by the timely return of this, the premier piece of documentation recording civilisation as we know it.

And I trust you either are having, or had, a very good New Year, depending on how punctually you arrived at this page to read the first twitterings of 2005 from Mr Nick Harvey.

I can understand it, and will forgive you, if just one or two of you are a little late this month, having been slightly confused by the somewhat tardy arrival of the December edition.

We're back to the first of the month now, though, so have no fear for the future.

Now, those of you who are concentrating will remember that I made a little more than a passing reference, last month, to a certain part-time bar steward and, currently at least, slightly more full-time employee of the Bolton Brick Company, or some firm of a similar abbreviation.

He's been going about, accusing me of things, you see.

His theory, which, it has to be said, is probably about as reliable as any Nick Harvey theory that was ever expounded, is that I have the dubious honour of being the originator of something called the blog.

After numerous minutes of research, I am able to confirm that the word blog appears to be yet another of these strange vouns, or possibly nerbs.

You see it is possible to own a blog, thus thrusting it firmly into the category of a noun; yet all these mysterious people who have them seem to creep off in the dead of night in order to blog, either singly or in groups, giving the word an additional, verb-like, appearance.

It appears to be another word like text, destined to become a firm Nick Harvey favourite.

I blog, you blog, he blogs, she blogs.  Why, oh why, does simply the sound of the word conjure up this image of its meaning having something to do with blocked toilets and the complex task of unblocking same?

Regular and observant devotees of this Comment business will, at this point, be coming to the conclusion that I'm not exactly overjoyed to be accused of originating what appears to be such a foul and unpleasant word.  And they're damn right, I'm not!

You see, it's in Mr Bar Steward's OWN blog that he accuses me of, myself, blogging since 1978.  No, no, a thousand times NO!

I am but a diarist, a documenter of civilisation, an observer of the world.  I know my hearing's going as I age slowly and gracefully, but I'm certain it wasn't "silly old blogger" that I heard that spotty youth shout out when I gently chastised him for cycling on the pavement outside Harvey Towers.

Had I, back in 1978, even considered the possibility that my words of wisdom would be categorised as a blog and my wearing down of fingertips on keyboard be described as blogging, then it's extremely likely that I wouldn't have started out on this project at all.

So, dear viewer, as you might just have gathered by now, the subject for in-depth analysis in this first incredible edition of Nick Harvey's Comment for 2005 is the word blog.

Research has been somewhat difficult, however, as my 1993 Concise Oxford doesn't list the word and I totally refuse to purchase a more up-to-date reference source, as all the words thought up in the last twelve years are stupid ones anyway.  I cite text and blog as IDEAL examples.

So why am I bothering, you might well ask.  Well, one HAS to answer these accusations, does one not?

There is a rumour doing the rounds that blogs actually started out as web logs, but then, somehow or other, managed to lose their we and then their space in the middle.

I find it very difficult to believe that a word that's less than twelve years old in any case is already on its third incarnation.  Can't these damned word manufacturers make their stupid minds up properly in the first place?

Regional corruptions I could quite understand, the Scotsman with a tiny one for instance, who might describe it as a wee blog.

But, believe it or not, we're actually making positive progress somewhere in the depths of here.

If the original form of a blog was a web log, then I definitely CAN'T be responsible for the word, thank goodness.   We're all agreed that I started writing this load of old trash back in 1978, aren't we?  So it can't have been a web log when it started life, then, could it?   There was no bleedin' web to log on in 1978, so NOT GUILTY, m'lud!

I've been on the wireless, I've been on dear old viewdata, but only since the year 2000 have I been on the web, so it wasn't a blog when it started, so I didn't originate the word.

Oh, that's better.  I was beginning to fear that I could end up in Belmarsh without a trial if I couldn't prove my total innocence to the world.

Now I can go about my business, continuing to hate the word blog, without any worry that responsibility might rest anywhere near these poor shoulders of mine.  I can safely get my own back for the scurrilous accusation by waiting till last orders and asking for fifteen pints of Guinness.

Henceforth, all blogs shall be known in the same way as the title of this month's epistle, blogs on the landscape.

I shall barricade my portals against these abominations.  I shall organise street protests to shout down the perpetrators.  I shall even attempt to avail myself of some dodgy photographs which I can use as a "persuasion" to end this whole, sad blogging affair.

And for those of you out there who might possibly feel that I'm overreacting a tiny bit, just ask yourselves how that nice Mr Pepys might have reacted, had some bloke come along and described him as a blogger.

Okay, so he might have had a quill pen instead of a keyboard; but a diary, is a diary, is a diary, not a bloomin' blog!

Right, I'm a lot happier now I've got that one off my chest.  I'm not really having a stroppy New Year, honest.   I'm quite a nice person really.

And now I seem to have got back into the swing of this writing lark, I reckon we could be in for a blistering year of stupendous subjects to go under Nick Harvey's Acme microscope.

Feel free to drop me a line if there's any particular subject that you feel I ought to be probing more deeply.   Messages via this newfangled e-mail lark are perfectly acceptable, but any written in quill pen on the back of a ten pound note will be actioned FAR more speedily.

So that seems to be this year well under way.  Time now for me to disappear for thirty-one pages of the diary, to resurface promptly on February the first with the second offering of 2005.

You'll need to be prompt next month, as no excuses will be tolerated in the future.  Right, I'm off, where's me personal organiser?

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