Okay, this is actually it. Proper, final, goodbye to blogging.
I started blogging really early. I was writing my own content management system before I heard of blogger, and then I was an early adopter on that. I've been at it almost ten years - and some of it's been prolific, but mainly it's been kind of patchy. I've been wondering why.
When I first started blogging, most of my posts were really short. They were pretty much mainly links, and a little bit of commentary as to why I was linking, or which country I was in. I sometimes did interesting things, so I wrote longer pieces. I added sections to my site. I took them away. When commenting was the new thing, I added comments.
For a while, blogging became a social activity. Indeed, I've built some friendships through blogging with real people who I've met in real life. But I think there were a couple of major turning points.
Firstly, the mass proliferation of blogging devalued the blog. Odd thing to say, but at the point in time when there were only a few hundred blogs in the UK, it felt that there was something of a community. The proliferation of blogs led to them becoming little more than noise. Blogger had positioned itself as push-button publishing for the masses, and the masses adopted it. Good for them.
With the masses came spam. I disabled comments on this site a couple of months back, just because I was getting loads of spam and no comments. Tedious to maintain. Apart from anything else, most of the feedback I've been getting for a couple of years has been coming through The Twitter.
I was an early adopter on The Twitter. I gave it up pretty quickly thereafter. It was like Google+ is now - dull and underused. But it changed, and what it changed in to was more entertaining. Bizarrely, the mass appeal which had cheapened blogging had strengthened Twitter. I rejoined Twitter, and now it drives about 80% of the traffic to this site.
It's also more like what I was looking for in the first place. I feel like I was looking for a bicycle, but what was available was a motorbike - I got it, loved it, upgraded and upgraded and I'm left with a Harley Davidson. But I still just need a bike.
There are alternatives to blogging, and they're generally easier. I don't blog much these days, and if I do, it's long rambling pieces like this. Blogging is becoming more specialised as the twitternoise moves to The Twitter. There are some great blogs out there, but they're all about the content rather than the random musings that have characterised this site and its predecessors.
So this is it. This is how it ends. With a whimper. If you're looking for me, I'll be on The Twitter until that gets broken too.
Something happened to me this evening. I don't know what it was.
Let me set the scene - I'm at an art gallery here in Edinburgh, and Mr Twinky is powdering his nose. I'm looking at a handbag on the floor and a man touches me on the shoulder. I turn.
"Excuse me," he says. "I just wanted to tell you that you're beautiful."
That was pretty much it. I said "Thank you", he said "you're welcome" and we parted and never spoke of it again.
He was wandering around the room, clearly not looking at the art, but he had an air about him, an air of belonging. I reckon there's one of two things that have happened.
He fancied me, and thought he had a chance if he told me.
Or, it was a random act of Art. An intangible performance piece - a piece which I'm continuing by writing this. Clearly it had an impact on me, and made me think - which is key to my personal definition of art.
I found myself watching out for him as I looked at the other art - to see if he was doing it to other people. Part of me wanted him to be an artist. I wanted to be certain of that. Part of me wanted him not to be - because I certainly found his comment flattering, if confusing. I don't know. Maybe I wasn't meant to know.
I did find out later, though. I was very happy with what I found out.
Beholder is at the Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh from today.
I felt pretty silly the other week.
I stood in the street and queued for a new telephone.
Now, part of me knew there was always a possibility of this. I've got definite nerdy tendencies, and Apple's technology has an undoubted fetishism about it. But I still told myself as I got to the shop just as it was opening "I'll only stay if there's no queue". Two hours later, I had a phone. Just as well, really, as the old one was falling apart.
I've had it about a month now. It's nice. I wouldn't call it revolutionary, but it's undoubtedly nice. So nice, indeed, that I am looking for another one.
I'd foolishly thought that after the initial rush died down, you'd pretty much be able to get an iPhone without any trouble. And I expected that initial rush to last a day. Maybe two. But no. O2 appear not to have a single iPhone in Edinburgh. Indeed, the closest iPhone they can offer me is in Larne. Which is quite a drive away. Google tells me it's four and a half hours, if I take the ferry from Troon.
If I go for the model that I actually want, then the position changes slightly. There's one in Downpatrick, an extra hour's drive from the ferry.
I don't know whether to be happy that I've got one already, impressed by the technology that allows me to find my nearest phone, impressed by the popularity of the phone or just annoyed that I can't pick one up in my lunch break.
Give our society a new toy and it will rip its head off and shit down its neck. And then complain.
Twitter again, folks. Sometimes it's a wonderful thing. Sometimes it's depressing.
And the thing that's depressing me today about twitter is a little panel on the left that tells me that some made up phrase with a boy band in it is trending. This is not news: it is noise.
In this particular case it's a fan campaign that serves no purpose whatsoever other than to be a self-perpetuating feast of self-love. Aren't we the best fans, because we get our boyband's name trending more often than anyone else? And tomorrow it will be Lady Gaga and the day after, it will be Justin Bieber, and then it will be someone else ad nauseam.
It turns what could be a useful, informative feature in to a game - the trending topics is something that people play, and in many cases do so to generate free advertising, either for the brand or band that they are a fan of, or for themselves.
Indeed, if you are stupid enough to click on a trending topic, hoping to find out why it is trending, then you are more than likely to find that most of the tweets are along the lines of "OMG I can't believe Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga and #LookAtMeNow are trending. I hate them!" - which is nothing but grandstanding.
It worries me that this says that large parts of our culture are basically very, very shallow.
I am a little bit in love with Dr Francesca Stavrakapoulou.
I saw one of her series of documentaries last year, and I've listened to her on the Radio 4 show, "Museum of Curiosity" this week. And she's brilliant. A theologian, a lecturer, a member of the European Association of Biblical Studies, a television presenter and an atheist.
In the space of a half hour radio comedy panel show, she manages to mention
Although a lot of people disagree with her on some of these points.
What I love is her historical approach to the study of religion which manages to be quite respectful as well as light-hearted. I'm sure academically she can be argued with, but she comes across as confident and funny. I knew most of her points above already; she manages to communicate them in a way which is accessible.
I'm sure some will find what she says sacreligious, but I find it tremendously respectful. She clearly loves and respects religion, but I think she's got its context pretty much right. I wish I could say what she says half as clearly as she does.