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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

OTB post

*NB - It's very important to note that this entry is entirely my opinion and doesn't purport to represent the opinion of my boyfriend, who is a lot more rational than I am about things like this*

We were sploshing through the rain yesterday afternoon, walking through the torrential downpour, heading to Hamstead Heath because that’s what we’d decided we’d do on Friday (when it was sunny) and we were at that moment too angry to think about doing anything else.

The anger came from someone saying something nasty about something He Who Only… spent a good six months of his life making. To bring y’all up to speed, He Who Only… has written a radio comedy show with his boyfriend Kris. The first episode was broadcast last Thursday on BBC Radio 2 at 11.30pm and repeated again last Saturday on BBC Radio 2 at 1.30pm. It’s called On The Blog. You can listen to it here.

It’s received some awesomely excellent press coverage, and they’ve been drenched by a golden shower of critical acclaim from every broadsheet newspaper in the country, along with many listings magazines. He Who Only…’s Mum likes it too. It’s all been wonderfully positive, culminating on Sunday in an appearance on Pick Of The Week. That’s right. Pick Of The Week.

And then on Sunday He Who Only… came across this, and we were left so angry that we had to walk through torrential rain for 20 minutes before sitting in a sodden huddle on the train for another 20 minutes, because our brains couldn’t cope with anything other than suppressing the furious howling that threatened to erupt from either of us at any moment.

In short, a lady blogger has written nasty things about my boyfriend’s show, and I’m not happy.

But in longer than that, having very quickly checked her blog (which is helpfully linked right off this article), I got even angrier. You see, this lady seems so terribly upset about the way that she feels bloggers have been portrayed in the media. She feels the need to right this wrong by writing up some factual inaccuracies (Caroline Quentin hasn’t appeared in a radio comedy for over 7 years, for example) and dressing them up as journalism. She feels the need to defend all bloggers from the accusation that they’re all like the main character in the show (which is something the show never claimed to do – does anyone actually think that everyone who keeps a diary is like Adrian Mole? Or Bridget Jones? Or Anne Frank?)

And yet. She doesn’t care enough about this topic to actually mention it once on her actual blog. The one place you would assume she is free to express this self-righteous rage that has bubbled up from within. The one place in the world where her honest opinion about everything she wants to lash out against can be safely housed. But no, not a squeaky mention of this show that drove her to her 650-word diatribe. I believe this is because she doesn’t actually give a hot crap about the radio show one way or the other, and has actually just been paid to have this opinion. To use her very words: “Do I seem grumpy about this? Yes, I am. You bet your arse I am.”

I’d be very hypocritical to not point out right now that I’ve also been paid, in my shame filled past, to be angry about comedy shows I didn’t like. Like Anna, I’ve been given a word count and asked to do my worst. But the thing is, if I saw a show that I thought was fabulous, I also blogged about it. If I saw a show I thought was terrible rubbish, I also blogged about it. She, like me, has been blogging since 2001 – blogging about things that make you angry or upset or delighted or frightened or sleepy or hungry becomes second nature.

I’m pissed off about many things to do with this article, and also the gormless comments that followed it (I’m annoyed at the comments merely because most of them start with the phrase “I haven’t heard this show but…” – you know what? If you haven’t heard the show, fuck the fuck off and stop commenting on something you don’t have any right to have an opinion on, you vacuous numb wit).

Anna is of course entitled to hold her very wrong opinion about the show. She’s absolutely allowed to say that she doesn’t find it funny, and to give the reasons why (with the added disclaimer that she's not, of course, a comedy or radio critic). What I don’t think she should be entitled to do is to deliberately and wilfully misinterpret a radio show that two people have put a lot of time and effort into just to make some lame and absolutely unnecessary point about how not all people who use the internet are social misfits. We know that already, Anna. Please feel free to move on.


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