Hobbies, they are strange things.
I always think of them as relatively solitary activities that happen in backyard sheds, garages or attics; or little rooms under the stairs with a workbench, a naked lightbulb and a transistor radio for company. I always think of hobbies as turning out wooden toys for grandchildren, armies of brightly painted toy soldiers, or extensive-though-very-small railway networks.
But of course hobbies have gone high tech. All across London there are bedroom mixmasters dooffing away behind turntables and recording equipment, there are computer programmers building fighting robots, and there are bloggers.
There have always been bloggers.
In days of yore, we were diarists like Samuel Peyps or Mr Pooter; or amateur writers like Emily Dickinson, writing for ourselves and shutting the results in a drawer for people to discover after we died. After World War II we would probably have been ham radio operators — rattling our messages out across single sideband and squelching out the static so the replies would be clear and loud.
Now we type our little stories into the ether: from little sheds in the back yard, from internet cafes, from stolen moments before work — or at lunchtime, or on the train, or in bed — laptops precariously balanced while our partners read beside us. And we scan our email for comments from our readers.
Never underestimate the power of a comment. Most bloggers know all their commenters names (handles?) — we greet new commenters with a cheery message. We wonder what our ex-commenters have gone when they no longer leave their mark. For most of us, it’s the comments that inspire the next post. And the post after that.
And sometimes — on days like this: when you arrive at your 8am doctor’s appointment to discover it is at 8pm; when you get to work early as a result, and your boss interrupts your breakfast to bawl you out about a flippant comment in an email; and the surgery calls back to say that actually, your doctor doesn’t do 8pm appointments, so the next option is May 30 at 4pm — you scan your comments box and discover, not a comment, but a ping-back from another site. An important site — a site you respect…
To the person who nominated my post (the one below) for Post of The Week, thankyou.
Copyright © Damian Clarke, 2020. First published on the Our Albion blog, 9 May, 2007 under London life.