The most septic of isles (Or, ten years of this shit).
The only thing worse than having sex is not having sex. The only thing worse than reading yet another article about Tinder and the brave new dating landscape while being a part of it is not being a part of it. There are also times when you're fairly sure an article ostensibly about how we're the sexiest generation ever thanks to said innovations is rocking the snark only for it to then conclude this whole Tinder thing is in fact great. I wouldn't know, as you need a Facebook account to use Tinder, and hey, I've got to draw the line somewhere. Slim chance of meeting someone who both doesn't swipe left the minute they see my fizzog, and isn't interested only in the one bodily organ, versus being on social media? The choice is there is no choice.
So here we are. 10 years ago today a stupid, lonely, angry, alienated and depressed 20-year-old started to write a blog. Why I started I still don't really know, let alone why I've kept going for this long. This, would you believe it, is the 3,799th post. I frankly don't care to know how many words are contained in those posts but my guess would be in the millions. The catalyst, obviously, was 7/7, and that was the barely hidden undercurrent running through Tuesday's post. It's hard to separate what came after from that day itself when you spent the time immediately afterwards, or at least from the 12th, bitching about the reaction and indulging idiot conspiracy theories rather than recognising something clearly had changed. The rules of the games might not have done, but it would be foolish to deny we had entered new territory.
In essence, the past 10 years have been about that. Shouting about the injustice of it all, ticking off the tabloids, generally being about as much use as tits on a bull, hectoring from the sidelines and getting nowhere, yeah that just about sums it up. Whatever the reasons behind starting to blog, I'd be lying if I said I hadn't hoped it would lead somewhere. If nothing else, even if it was never likely to lead directly to a job considering how I've steadfastly refused to put my actual name to it and have never really tried promoting it or even maintaining a presence elsewhere, I thought it would perhaps count for something at some point. 10 years of writing a politics blog hardly anyone reads, won't that look great on the CV? Proves I'm dedicated, right? Dedicated to wasting my time certainly, and probably writing in office hours when no one's paying attention seems the most likely interpretation.
I of course protest too much. I wouldn't have kept going this long if I didn't think I was having some impact, however oblique, however slight. My initial motivations, as I wrote on the 5th anniversary, were complicated and let's be honest, more than a little sad. Yes, to begin with at least I somewhat wrote as though I was talking to someone I barely so much as knew and who wasn't aware of it anyway. Yes, this is the same person as written about here. Yes, it's incredibly creepy, and I should probably just shut up and let it go. I wish I could. I hope though that if they're reading this now, that despite everything, they take it as a tribute. Regardless of how, why, they inspired me. This blog wouldn't exist without them. They can take that in whichever way they want to.
It was also though about trying to stop my brain from turning into absolute mush. I can say with utter certainty that if I hadn't started doing something, even if it was just writing purely for myself and not posting it online, my head would be even more fucked than it is currently. Blogging has kept me somewhat sane. How sane is open to question, but hey, I'm still here. More to the point, it's also kept me honest to myself, been a constant challenge and helped to improve my writing immensely. I'm still an abysmal judge of my own work and always will be, yet I would posit that despite how I'm no longer featured elsewhere as I once was, mainly thanks to how blogging itself or rather blogging as we knew it in 2005 has died on its arse, my writing has only increased in quality with each passing year. I have off days, and there are quite a few posts from my early years I'm especially proud of, but I think I've hit a level of general consistency only occasionally broken into by those mockery posts we all love.
It's also more than a little frightening. I've spent a third of my life spending most weekday evenings bouncing my thoughts, raves and rages against a wall of for the most part, complete indifference. Why do we, I do this? It's different from simply keeping a diary, especially as I try to convince myself that would be pure narcissism while this is something different. What am I trying to achieve, what have I truly achieved, what am I going to achieve? Probably very little, perhaps nothing. Maybe I give voice to what a few select others think, who can't find the words themselves; maybe I just make for an occasional diversion. Some days perhaps I'm good for a laugh, whether it's directed at me or along with me, either is fine. To be sure, if there was no one reading then I wouldn't have kept going this long, and while that readership might have dropped slightly from its peak, let's just say there's more than enough still doing so to fight off the feeling of wasting my time. At least for the most part.
All this said, I can't pretend that the stupid, lonely, angry, alienated and depressed 20-year-old has turned into a happy, well adjusted and content 30-year-old. If I had, again, I most likely wouldn't be writing this post. Am I more confident in my self though, more comfortable in my own skin? Without a doubt. That might just be the passage of time, and it probably is, but I'd like to think writing this blog has helped. The bad times are still pretty bad, and last year's patch was the worst since the worst of times. And yet I'm still here, for better, for worse.
I ended the 5th anniversary post by saying I couldn't promise another 5 years, and ahem, well. Thanks then to everyone who's put up with my bullshit over the past ten years, to all my readers, anyone who's tweeted a link, sang my praises, ripped my rotten thought process to shreds, or simply lurked the entire time. It means so much. Here's to however much longer this most septic of isles stays afloat.