Sunday, 15 May 2011

Versatile Blogger or Blog Bogof?

Be warned: In the unlikely event that you were to hit me with a chain letter or a pyramid sales pitch I'd tell you where to stick it without fear or favour. I have no hesitation in 'breaking the chain'. Your reaction on receiving such a missive – being a rational and discerning person (You must be because you're reading this blog) – would no doubt be similar.

Why then am I chuffed at having been presented, by Trish Nicholson, a New Zealander writer friend, with a Versatile Blogger Award, when part of the obligation that goes with that award is to nominate several other bloggers?

I'm no mathematician, but I do remember the old story of the blacksmith and the horseshoe nails which illustrates the power of compounding. So presumably my blog can't be that good or statistically I should have received dozens of VBAs by now, and so should you and every other half-competent blogger if each recipient had in fact nominated several others.

Clearly the Versatile Blogger Award is a form of chain. That said, receiving mine did give me genuine pleasure; it came from a friend and was intended I'm sure as a compliment. Because of that I have no problem with passing on the award to a few others out of many whose blogs I genuinely value. I simply hope that my nominees will accept their Versatile Blogger Awards in that same spirit.

Meanwhile, bloggers everywhere, I suggest you prepare a suitably emotional acceptance speech because - statistically speaking - you should receive your VBA any day now.

The Versatile Blogger rules, with which I trust the below named recipients will also comply, appear to be * that I should state seven things about myself that might not be generally known. So here goes:

    •    My maternal grandparents were railway crossing keepers on an electric railway – their cottage had no electricity, running water or main drainage.
    •    I support the Royal National Lifeboat Institution whenever I can – my father, then a trawler fisherman, was lost at sea.
    •    I went to the same school as Christopher Craig and Derek Bentley (Google their names or the phrase: 'Let him have it'). That was no easy place or time for a soft Cheshire lad.
    •    I almost blew up my two sons and myself with a German grenade, when metal detecting on a French beach (I was clearly an unfit parent).
    •    Two versions of my first completed novel, Tamar, had readings at HarperCollins – their final rejection letter was dated September 11th 2001.
    •    I almost buried my two sons and myself whilst  dump digging, collecting antique bottles (Clearly I was an exceedingly unfit parent - but boy did we have fun).
    •    I once held Albert Einstein's brain in my hand (well, actually it was a soft plastic cast taken direct from the real tissue) – a very eerie experience.

Here then are some of the blogs that I find particularly informative and entertaining.

Finally, I pass the metaphorical baton to my own 'awardees' above and reiterate my sincere thanks to Trisha Nicholson for including my blog in her list of winners.

* The origins of the VBA seem already to be lost in the mists of urban myth and misinformation. Who started it and when? If you believe you know the answer, please let me know.