Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Irish Blogger interview

THOUGHTS about who is his favourite Travelling Wilbury keeps him awake at night, he’s a fellow Nordie and he is my choice for Damien’s Blogging Interviews.

Desolation Row is a blog that I have stumbled across every now and again and when I find myself back on the pages I keep meaning to bookmark him or add him to my Bloglines selection.

He is in Belfast and blogs on a wide range of culture, politics and other things besides, which explains the Travelling Wilburys post, it could only be George!!!!

Literary and musical references litter his posts and he has recently become a Flickrer too so check out the interview and check out Desolation Row if you haven’t already.

Desolation Row3

1. How would you describe your blog Desolation Row?

An iron fist gloved in a child’s mitten.

2. You've been blogging since September, why and how did you start?

I got tired of talking to the same old people about politics and art. As much as I love these people, I knew their viewpoint and I knew how they were going to retort. I wanted my rants to reach a larger audience. I also got tired of shouting at the monitor. I’ve been reading blogs for over a year now, very rarely contributed to them though. I just decided to start my own, not because I think my opinion is worth something, but because I simply got tired of criticising everyone else without giving them the opportunity to criticise me.

3. You seem to blog mainly about politics, the arts and music, are these your main passions?

Definitely. Politics is my main love; everything in life is affected in one way or other by politics. The arts as well, a world without the arts is a world not living in. That’s what scares me about the Celtic Tiger and the rise of professionalism in computers and other non creative industries in the north, creativity and the arts will fall the side in favour of profit. A friend of mine challenged me to think of the last great Irish artist (literary or otherwise) to emerge after the birth of the Celtic Tiger.. I can’t think of one. The only authors to emerge from Ireland nowdays are the profitable ones, the Cecilia aherns and Maeve Binchys, books that can be turned into films with self obsessed Americans playing the main role. Roles they won’t even give to local born talent.

4. What are your top Irishblogs and non-Irishblogs?

Slugger O’Toole, Disillusioned Lefty,, A Tangled Web (just for the comic value of it all), Irish Election.Com.

5. Is there a blog that you stop by everyday or often?

I would stop by Slugger O’Toole about four or five times a day. Although I would very rarely click on the comment section as this is sometimes nothing more than an incoherent and unintelligent shouting match between people who are unprepared to compromise and do what Atticus Finch said: “Climb into other people’s skin and walk around in it.”. Slugger is a fantastic source of information from bucket loads of newspapers from around the globe and other sites. So I use Slugger primarily as a first stop before going onto something else and just to find out what’s going on in the world. The core team of contributors are excellent as well, just a shame on some of the readership.

6. How many blogs do you estimate that you would stop by when you get the chance?

Between 5 and 10 on a daily to weekly basis.

7. How much time do you spend blogging

Not enough. I aim to do between 5 – 10 posts a week although it’s quite hard. There is plenty to write about, I am an opinionated bugger, but I have to be selective in what I comment on. But at least 3 hours a week I think is sufficient. I once missed a deadline because I was blogging and not working.

8. You recently joined Flickr, have you become hooked yet?

I have, although I have to get into the habit of carrying a camera with me at all times. I have a thing for graffiti not the picture kind but words. I saw some bizarre stuff last night and didn’t have my camera, so I’ll have to go back before it’s washed off.

9. Do you plan to do more with Flickr and your blog?

I will as soon as I figure out how to put a slide show on. I don’t likeblogs to be crowded with advertisements and photographs. I go to a blog primarily to read not to be bombarded with advertisements and pictures of the pet. But once I figure out how to add the odd photo from Flickr onto myblog I will, but not all the time. I like the minimalist approach to blogging layout.

10. You wrote at one point about disciplinary action in work, would you be worried about blogging and its potential impact on work?

Not really. Only 4 people I know are aware that I blog and none of them work with me. I haven’t named my place of work, nor have I named any of the customers. I remember that guy in Edinburgh who blogged about his boss and got sacked. I respect the unwritten rule of barman/bar customer confidentiality clause.

11. There was a recent debate in the Irish Bogosphere about hard and soft 'fluffy' blogging, where do you see Desolation Row on the hard to soft blogging spectrum.

Again, an iron fist in a child’s mitten.. Or a big robot in a mink fur coat. I don’t like the idea of hard blogging and fluffy blogging. Excuse the imagery and the language, but I have an erection for the written word and sometimes I want to escape all the political discourse and social commentary in favour of reading about a wife threatening to smother her husband in his sleep because he can’t wipe his arse properly and made a skid mark on her freshly cleaned sheets.

Or even reading about some guy who is jubilant because Spring is here because he suffers from Seasonal Affection Disorder. That is fluffy blogging to some people, but it’s just lovely and refreshing to hear and read things like that. Blogging is about feelings and emotions, some people like me get angry because of a political party’s policy document, I would rather get angry because my child (if I had any) didn’t do their best in a school exam.

I get the same pleasure reading about someone’s life as I do reading an analysis of recently passed legislature.

12. Have you regretted any post?

I have.. Unfortunately, I have. I received hate mail from the friends of someone I blogged about. I don’t regret the post but I regret the way I phrased it. Sometimes I suffer from foot in mouth disease and think I should have phrased it in a less harsh way. Other times, I think well f*** you, I don’t care what you think and say it anyway. But I normally blog either exhausted or with a bottle of merlot, so I sometimes come across as an inarticulate simpleton with terrible spelling punctuation and grammar.

13. Has there been a post that got away?

Yeah, people have made the same post with the same view point as I was going to make then it looks like I am a plagiarist. It’s a bugger but you can’t sit at your computer 24 hours a day.

14. Is there anything that you will not blog about?

Probably child abuse. It challenges everything I believe in. I cannot understand or comprehend paedophiles and child abusers. I don’t support the death penalty or life in prison and I try to forgive people who wrong me. But I do not know if I could show such restraint if it was my child or a cousin or nephew or niece. However, I cannot understand how people can wrong children and it would be wrong of me to give opinions on something I cannot comprehend. I can understand political militancy and suicide bombers to a certain extent but I cannot understand paedophilia.

Primo Levi committed suicide because he couldn’t understand the Holocaust. I can’t understand why a 30 year old would rape a child. It frightens me even thinking about it.

15. Do you have any blogging rules?

None that I know off, I was tempted to remove a comment made by some guy on my blog about Rachel Corrie the peace activist who urged and supported passive resistance and stood in front of an Israeli Bulldozer as it was destroying Palestinian homes, he refered to her as Pancake Corrie, which I think is sick. But I let the post remain, not because I support it, but because I want people who read my blog to see how cruel and insensitive some people are in this world. I may not like certain people in this world, but I do not wish death on anyone nor would I celebrate anybody’s death.

Well thats it, I hope you enjoyed the insight provided by Jimmy Porter of Desolation Row. Do stop by and say hello. RM

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KnackeredKaz said...

"An erection for the written word".

It's poetry man, classic!

Well done, great interview.

Paul O'Mahony (Cork) said...

Yes. A really good interview. i was sorry it came to an end. I wanted more.

Now i'm going to have to read a new blog. I do like northerners.

CW said...

An interesting interview and a useful insight into what makes a blogger tick. I look at Desolation Row on a regular basis and it always has something worth reading; something that gets you thinking...and of course any blog that links to the Dreaming Armadillo must be good!

Paige A Harrison said...

Brill interview RedMum. Thanks for bringing my attention to another brill blogger.