For my 100th post: 100 things I know now that I didn’t when I started

I thought I’d do a bit of “crowd-sourcing” on Twitter to help me decide what should be the topic of my 100th post. I got quite a range of suggestions, from simply celebrating the number’s decimal purity (thanks @ladycrafthole), through the worthy but intimidating suggestion that I summarise where we’ve got with multi-culturalism in 2010 (thanks @CheriseJB, but I was too scared), to the subject of school discipline (thanks to @cabernat, but that isn’t really me). As for @GlennyRodge‘s proposal that I write about the history of the word “Boo”, well, we’ve agreed to postpone that until the 200th post, by which time I very much hope that he’s forgotten all about it. I know I will have.

But the winning suggestion (winning is, to be honest, putting it a bit strong since the word implies a prize that doesn’t in fact exist) came from @ChrisRHE who chipped in with the idea of 100 things I’ve learnt since I started this blog. Actually 100 is rather a lot, and I can’t think of that many, so I’ll obviously be cheating. But then again that is one of the things that I’ve learnt: that the world of blogging encompasses a lot of cheating. My particular cheat is that although I’ve learnt all these things since I started blogging, I haven’t learnt all of them through the act of blogging itself.

So here we go. 100 things I know now that I didn’t when I started. Some good, some bad, some serious, but most not.

  1. That within 6 weeks of inaugurating The Still-Jobless Blog, I’d be able to rename it The At-Long-Last-I’ve-Got-a-Job Blog
  2. That I’d be able to pontificate on so many different topics (although I should have guessed)
  3. That the Liberal Democrats would move so seamlessly from entertaining political side-show to serious pain in the arse
  4. That it’s possible to live outside London
  5. That so many people search the internet to find out just how crap the Argos delivery service is
  6. That some Tories are worth talking to
  7. Even more incredibly, that some Tories are fun to talk with
  8. That quite a few big-time atheists are willing to read the rantings of a quite religious person
  9. See 2nd paragraph above re: cheating
  10. That I swear a lot more when talking than when writing, unless I make a special effort
  11. That disagreement is a good thing, and can even be done with a good grace
  12. That despite the second bit of #8 above, most religious people piss me right off
  13. That more people than I expected visit and read my outpourings
  14. But that isn’t anywhere near enough
  15. That, as #14 implies, I have a pathetic desire to be taken notice of
  16. That most people who like my political stuff are bored rigid by my photography posts
  17. And vice versa
  18. That some people are extraordinarily kind
  19. That although it’s more grown-up to like dark chocolate, I still prefer white (I think I may have known that already, but blog-writing and chocolate go together all too well)
  20. That blogs and wives go together rather less well
  21. That I’d rather write rubbish and spell properly than the other way around
  22. That it’s possible to live in Manchester
  23. Actually, I’m not sure about #22: but it’s definitely possible to be in Manchester a lot of the time
  24. That half an hour of my life is worth at least £5 on weekdays, although only £4.50 at weekends
  25. But that the half-hour thus purchased is ruined by the resentment I feel at privatised motorways
  26. That the Pennines are very beautiful
  27. But usually very wet
  28. That 300 words is a bit shabby, whilst 1000 is far too many
  29. That I start too many sentences with “And” or “But”
  30. And “Or” – although never “And/or”
  31. That I’ve mused less on old age than I expected to do when I created that category
  32. That strangely it’s easier to blog if you’ve got a job than it is if you haven’t, despite having so much more time to do it in
  33. And even more surprisingly, that I was funnier when I was unemployed than I am now I’ve got a job
  34. That people who know me in the real world are much less interested in my writing than people who don’t
  35. That conferences will always be in London if you work in Manchester, and in Manchester if you work in London
  36. That I miss my wife
  37. That there are myriad occasions on which the word “myriad” is rather a nice one to use
  38. That Eastlands is an embarrassing place to live near if you’re a Chelsea fan
  39. That Morrisons is not Waitrose
  40. But that #39 matters less than I thought it would
  41. That Manchester’s tram network is a disappointment to someone familiar with the Tube
  42. That when it comes to visitor numbers, filthy language is a more successful strategy than careful argument
  43. That there are no depths to which some bloggers will not stoop if they don’t like someone
  44. That I’m quite proud of my writing
  45. But that writing well is easier than having something to say worth saying
  46. That arguing and reasoning are different and unrelated activities
  47. That writing about feelings without a bracing jus of humour leads to embarrassing sentimentality
  48. That most American bloggers have no idea what #47 means
  49. That there are some bloggers who not only understand #47, but practise it with devastating success
  50. That 50 is still only half-way to 100
  51. And that I am not one of those celebrated in #49
  52. That it’s possible (although not easy) to write about faith without making a total arsehole of oneself
  53. That when I start to write a post, I’m sometimes quite surprised by the conclusions I eventually draw
  54. That the tension between being principled, but still open to persuasion, is quite a difficult one
  55. That it’s hard to judge ideas without reference to whose ideas they are
  56. But that it’s a path worth pursuing
  57. Although it will annoy one’s friends
  58. And not necessarily please one’s enemies
  59. That Manchester in the rain (yesterday) is an entirely different place from Manchester in the sunshine (today)
  60. That I’ve just, and foolishly, broken the 1000 word rule established in #28
  61. That I’m probably thus the only one still reading this post
  62. That the more one writes, the more one becomes unsure of one’s ability to spell
  63. That wishing the Labour Party well is more an attempted avoidance of purgatory than it is a genuine feeling of warmth
  64. That smarminess is a greater political failing than mistakenness
  65. That expressing oneself in 140 characters is a discipline with no cross-domain benefit to a blogger
  66. That the expression “cross-domain” is both fatuous and ugly
  67. That the parenthesis is a device without which I couldn’t write at all
  68. That #67 is nothing to be proud of
  69. That I have an unhealthy need for approbation
  70. That I really do miss my wife
  71. That the fiscal deficit is neither the most important, nor the biggest, deficit in British society
  72. That the correlation between desert and reward is no stronger than that expected between unrelated variables
  73. That #72 is a poncey way of saying that life’s unfair
  74. That the conclusion in #73 is one I reached, according to my mum, at the age of 3
  75. And that therefore the last, ehem, years of my life have taught me nothing new
  76. That I’m not only 3/4 of the way through this list, but probably my life, too
  77. That I’m better at pointing out what’s wrong with the world than I am at having the faintest clue what to do about it
  78. That President Obama’s reputation as an orator is over-blown
  79. That racism is alive and well
  80. That targets in public policy are more often a pernicious distraction than a useful lever
  81. That hating the Daily Mail is an enjoyable sport but a pointless waste of nervous energy
  82. That neither heroes nor villains help us to know what to do
  83. That the sin of revenge is only a sin for quaint moralists like me
  84. That the encouragement of other bloggers has been very important to me
  85. That those implicated in #84 know who they are
  86. That Stephen Fry is as infuriating as he is wonderful
  87. That blogging is an irredeemably narcissistic activity
  88. That I have no idea why I should think that anyone else would be interested in what I think
  89. That the idea that bloggers blog merely for their own enjoyment is total self-deluding bollocks
  90. That age has caused less of a right-ward drift in my politics than I had expected
  91. But that age has had all the other deleterious effects on me that one would imagine
  92. That I’ve never written anything that I didn’t believe to be true
  93. At the time, anyway
  94. That if blogging was taken away from me, I’d really miss it
  95. And, rather plaintively, I hope you would too
  96. That I live in fear of running out of interesting things to say
  97. And even greater fear that you might think I already have
  98. God bless you if you’re still reading this
  99. Whether you like it or not
  100. 100. Thank the living fuck for that!

So there you have it. @ChrisRHE, I hate you with a passion that you cannot imagine, and that of course you do not deserve!

And finally, my grateful thanks to all my readers for your support, and especially to those loyal folk who engage with me via the comments. You all deserve so much better than I am able to provide.

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14 thoughts on “For my 100th post: 100 things I know now that I didn’t when I started

  1. 1. I rather like no. 82.
    2. And 86 which I think kind of links to 82.
    3. I feel a bit guilty about the “And” above but not as much as when I use “actually” or “just” – though I’ve managed to avoid using “fact” for quite some time.
    4. I like your blogging. It makes me think and I don’t do nearly enough of that.
    5. Carry on!

  2. Sir, you a gentleman and a scholar! I am amazed at your list, and I recognise a good deal of it for myself too.

    My #100th post is due sometime soon (last night’s post about builders’ merchants was #94) – so of course I’m open to your suggestions (malicious & spiteful or otherwise!).

    The least I could do is to actually read the full list, so can I just say ‘ABSOLUTELY’ to numbers 13/14,28,44,71,81,94 & 95.

    Bravo.

  3. Stephen – brilliant! Although I do think Chris should now reciprocate in kind on his blog, as penance for encouraging you to do this.

    A few specific comments from me:

    #61: I’m still reading!

    #21 & #62: I don’t know what I’d do without a spell-checker any more. And I take far too much proud pride in the grammatical accuracy of what I write compared to the quality of the content itself. Call me a pedant, but I think its it’s important to know the difference between it’s, its and its’, and that only two of those three are actually words.

    #45 & #96: I also have a perpetual fear of writer’s block, to the extent that I always have a couple of posts up my sleeve just in case I have “a bad week”.

    #67: Parentheses, dashes, ellipses – all punctuation, really – are every writer’s best (sometimes only) friend … aren’t they?

    #88: Strange things, us readers. You don’t know why we like certain things, and you don’t know why we don’t like others.

    #95: I, for one, would miss this blog. You write eloquently about topics I am interested in but too often ignorant of. Which is one of the many things that makes the blogosphere such a wonderful place.

  4. I do like to find a trend to buck – as a raving atheist who values your photography posts and political posts equally I’ll just quietly buck #16 and #17. That should do for now, I think I’ve courted quite enough controversy in jollybloggoland for one month.

  5. Actually, with relatively few substitutions I think these might apply equally well to me. I’ve always lived outside London, so I’m bemused by the idea that one might think it impossible!

  6. Oh now that is an AWESOME list. Kind of inspired to do something similar, though I suspect mine will be FAR less intelligent.

    And yes, #47/#49 (though not necessarily intentionally!)
    xxx

  7. Strange this post is totaly unrelated to what I was searching google for, but it was listed on the first page. I guess your doing something right if Google likes you enough to put you on the first page of a non related search.

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