Thursday, February 11th, 2016

miss_s_b: (Mood: I Rule)
Yesterday I offered a sweepstake: the person who won could ask me to write 500 words on a topic of their choice. As it happens two people said exactly the same answer, so here is entry one of two. Adelle asked me to write 500 words on “why you blog and what you get out of it OR puddings”. Tempting as puddings are, I'm going for the former...

First, a definition: as far as I am concerned, blogging does not just mean “writing a blog”. That’s part of it, certainly, but just as vital are reading other people’s blogs, commenting and moderating comments, sharing links to interesting blogs written by other people, etc. If you just write without doing any of the rest of it, you’re Doing It Wrong.

That out of the way, there are several reasons why I blog.

1, Habit.

I’ve been doing it for over 15 years, now. I started before the term “blog” was even a thing (yes, of course, on LiveJournal), and I continue now it’s old hat and out of fashion. Very often I get the thought “I must write something about that”, and almost a quarter of the time I actually get around to doing it.
When I got out of the habit of blogging for a while when my depression was really bad, it made things far worse. I lost some of the web of connections which strengthens my feeble grasp on sanity. This was not a good thing. I am glad I have reaquired the habit, if not quite as prolifically as at some points in the past.


2, Mental Health

It helps me, a lot of the time, to get things down. Sometimes just writing it helps, sometimes posting it publicly helps; often it’s the easiest way to tell loved ones what I am thinking. For example: this morning I have been turning the nightmare I had last night into a fic which may or may not get posted publicly later; the nightmare is now less scary because I’ve pinned it down to the screen and made it squirm.

Additionally, like Andy has, I have found that my friends tell me that my blogging helps them; both in understanding where I am coming from and in clearing their own thoughts, or even just so that they know they are not alone in thinking or feeling X or Y. Every time I think I have overshared, someone will post a comment or send me an email or a twitter DM saying “thank you for posting that, it really helped me to deal with a similar thing”, or words to that effect.


3, Community

If I didn’t blog I wouldn’t have such a strong and diverse friends group full of interesting people. I reckon 90% of the friends that I really value I met through blogging, and a further 5% on top of that are people I met online before ever blogging. My attitude to blogging and it’s component parts is shared by a lot of others, and thus a little overlapping set of communities are formed, and it’s genuinely the biggest, most lifechanging thing I have ever been involved in. I met all my current partners either directly or indirectly as a result of blogging. I joined a political party because of blogging. I can’t overstate the importance of blogging to me, really.


and I think you'll find that's exactly 500 words ;)
miss_s_b: (TG: Arse)
Yesterday I offered a sweepstake: the person who won could ask me to write 500 words on a topic of their choice. As it happens two people said exactly the same answer, so here is entry two of two. Kathleen asked me to write 500 words on “Top Gear lineups - past, actual, potential, ideal”


The news today makes this a little easier; I have struggled to keep it near 500 words as it is.

I’ve always loved Top Gear; I’m reasonably sure I watched it from birth. Angela Rippon is the first TG presenter I really remember, but I as I grew I developed soft spots for Quentin Willson’s eyebrow and the amazing Vicki Butler-Henderson. When it was reborn under the aegis of the brash-but-funny Clarkson in 2002 I mourned that they’d got rid of the large roster of presenters in favour of just three, but figured I’d give it a go. I didn’t like the initial lineup of the Clarkson series - the guy they’d got to fill Quentin Willson’s role as secondhand car expert really didn’t work, and it was all very stilted. You could see they were trying to up the comedy content, but for whatever reason it wasn’t quite working.

For series two, they brought in James May and the magic happened. Clarkson, Hammond and May are the testosterone-laden equivalent of Maiden, Mother and Crone: Young Risk Addict, Geek, and Middle-Aged Boorish Twat. I don’t like everything they did, I didn’t like all the jokes, especially not the racist/sexist ones, but they always made clear you were supposed to laugh AT the Middle-Aged Boorish Twat, that it was a persona, the real Clarkson ramped up to 11 and with all the safeties off… and thus I felt quite comfortable watching TG and even participating in online fandom because it wasn’t real. Every time Clarkson appeared on QI or HIGNFY, or did his occasional forays into WWII on BBC4, he showed that the Middle-Aged Boorish Twat was merely persona, Sun columns nothwithstanding.

Then he assaulted an underling for not getting him the food he wanted. And I felt a lot less comfortable… I think the beeb did the right thing in sacking him, and every pronouncement he has made since they sacked him (especially about transfolk) has only confirmed me in that view. I am sad that the other two decided to go with him, but not really surprised. They do work as a trio.

As for the new lineup? It does rather look like someone has been ticking boxes. Three middle-aged white guys (one ginger), two foreigners, one black guy, one woman… Plus The Stig, who is Schroedinger’s Diversity tickybox - the pose they hold in the photo of the team released today makes it impossible to even guess at gender, never mind race, sexuality, and so on. I’m glad they’ve confirmed Sabine, and am amused that the best actual driver (bar Stiggy) on the new show is going to be Smurfette the woman presenter, but I can’t bear Chris Evans or that tosser from Friends… But then Clarkson’s persona often rubbed me up the wrong way and the show as a whole still worked, albeit with him in the role of pantomime villain in my headcanon. I’m willing to give it a chance.

My ideal lineup?

Vicki Butler-Henderson, Suzi Perry and Sabine treating James May as the Smurfette would suit me.


I've gone slightly over word count at 521 there, but I hope you can forgive me.

About This Blog

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.







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