No big loss

Posted Sat 22 Aug
4 comments so far

It was a good ten years. Hmmm, no, not really. It was just ten years. Back then, it was called diary.cgi, and I wrote it, and there was another script to read from the database, and build a flat file. A bit later along came Movable Type, and I have used that ever since. Even in those days, 1999, I didn’t use my real name for signing the entries.

It wasn’t me, I wasn’t there
I was just watching from over here
And besides, I couldn’t afford the bus fare
In Hollywood and Washington
They shake and smile through the harm they’ve done
But it’s your little red wagon and you gotta pull it

Yes, it was all about the stray toaster back then. But step back before that. Go back to my usenet days, ‘93 onwards, even then, I had made the conscious decision not to use my real name. (There is one slip on the intertubes that has my real name, I must change that soon.) Having said that, even when others use my real name, if they know it, odds on they spell it wrong. Not everyone, but you know. Anyhow, I am used to that, had it all my life.

It’ll take a lifetime to clear your name
Under the bridges of fame it’s always nighttime
It wasn’t me, I wasn’t there
I was stone drunk, it isn’t clear
And it doesn’t count cause I don’t care
The years transform my memories
Of all the countless decades of grief
It was cut and run in ‘91

But going by another name does not mean anonymity. Not in the slightest. Just because my real name has a zero google footprint, doesn’t mean my pseudonyms don’t. (Plural, yes, go figure.) If I thought that was a way of hiding, I thought wrong. I wasn’t trying to hide, I was just not using my real name. Paranoia still looms large. Someone told me once that there will be a time when if you have no net presence, it will preclude you from getting certain jobs. What happened to CVs? Interviews? Do you need to read the inane outpourings of yet another egotistical nutjob to know whether to employ them?

Put yourselves in a straightjacket
But when you’re pleading
Saying it’s no cheaper than humiliation
That’s free…
That’s free…
That’s free…

But I was challenged to avoid social networking sites for an afternoon, and now, as I type, over a day later, I still haven’t looked at them. I don’t need to. Sure, it is a fine way of keeping up with other people, but as someone else pointed out, what is the need of a surveillence society (which we do have, natch) when the likes of facebook or twitter tell them all they need to know about you. Echo chambers for self-aggrandisers.

I’ve gone and quit my worshipping
Of the false gods and golden sins
Cause we’ve made love in the Tower of Babel and it fell down

As I said, there are a few, those I have worked with truth be told, who can tie a few of my identities together. So time to move on. That isn’t the only reason. There was a time I would post several times a day, or more, then the posts got longer, then less frequent, and I don’t feel the need anymore. I have other outlets. I am never going to be a best-selling author, never going to be a philospher debating, never going to be a mathematician musing, never going to create something akin to Yanqui UXO or White Blood Cells (probably my two fave records of the past ten years), however I have got to where I am, the course is set.

It wasn’t me, I wasn’t there
That was not my love affair
That is not my lover, that’s not even my friend
It wasn’t me, I wasn’t there
I was stone drunk, it isn’t clear
And it doesn’t count cause I don’t care

It doesn’t fill any purpose. Despite what others think, I don’t use the net that much. Email is useful. All the whizzy-bangy-2.0-y apps leave me cold. To me, print isn’t dead. I am not a Luddite, I know the usefulness of the intertubes, hell, I make my living from it, sort-of. But whether it is because of that, of my age, or whatever, I don’t require it to fulfil my life. If I suddenly went blind, I could always have audio books, but the loss of reading those semi-regular sites I visit wouldn’t phase me overly. Even the usual news sites I read are using more and more video, with the articles lessening. More pictures, less words. This distresses me.

But I use a pop song to clear my name
Under the bridges of fame it is always night time

And what else in those ten years? Now I live in a different country, in a smaller house, make more money, with less to spend, have the same amount of children, wives and mistresses, am stronger, fitter, thinner and read more. I am, as it happens, smarter, if not wiser. (Despite the fact that some don’t think so, I know I am.) I can feel that, my mind is vaster, heading towards (and has seen) enlightenment. The angels talk to me, walk with me and the edges of the universe peel aside for me. Ten years of turning down offers to go out due to financial constraints, ten years of watching others have the lifestyle, while I wonder what it is I chose. But I chose it, so I live by it. All the things I have missed, never had, never will. All the things I couldn’t give my children, so I tried other routes. No family holidays, nothing that cost money. No extras, just what we could imagine ourselves.

Ten years is enough. I’ll let Jenny have the last word, not me:

I’ll end with a closure and say goodnight

  1. anonimity is a tricky one these days. Elusive. I would miss the interwebs, a lot, as light as most of them are, all those connections with people, whether or not they are who they say they are, have been important to me over the years, still are.

    Sat 22 Aug, 10:20PM

  2. Well, I shall miss it, if this is The End. And I agree with the above comment. The internet is, for me, the equivalent of a local pub where I’d go every night to catch up with friends, or a close-knit community. I don’t share your desire for anonymity (or whatever you want to call it). I kind of like having that net presence! As well as being an outlet, it is a way of connecting with people you might otherwise never have the delight of meeting or getting to know on some level, whether through their blogs, via their Facebook status updates, or (in some cases) in person. You are one of the intriguing and entertaining ones. Don’t vanish completely. :)

    Sun 23 Aug, 12:46AM

  3. I find this post disturbing and yet curious. Unsurprisingly, your reasoning is flawed. You are departing the world of blogs and other web 2.0 social experiments because they are extraneous to your life.

    As a learned man (as I know you to be) I would have expected you to be continually asking yourself the question and not settling on an answer - for the answer to the question that you have today will not be the answer in 6 months, 1 year or even 2 years time.

    You are retreating into the security and comfort of an answer. The end result being you will no longer be in a position to question technology or society in the modern age. Much like a staid university professor wearing a tweed jacket with a comb-over - safe in the confines of his books but unaware of what is evolving around him.

    Sun 23 Aug, 9:02AM

  4. If it is the end please keep the site up so people can read it . I think it’s a shame when people finish blogging and either delete all the posts or the site is taken over by someone else.

    If it’s not the end, enjoy the break.

    Also I’ve a few thoughts on a reply to you on facebook -better late then never I s’pose.

    Tue 25 Aug, 10:23PM

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