Same with internet dating. That six foot blond Viking type you met online may have been literally telling the truth. You only get to see that he’s also six feet wide when you meet face to face. Which is when you also notice that he smells like a Viking who hasn’t washed since they used to rule England. (True, happened to a mate of mate.)
Speaking of smelly Vikings – did you know they used week-old horse wee to kill bugs in their hair? Couldn’t afford combs. It was the amonia in the aged equine urine that turned their hair blonde. Does that make you feel differently about ABBA?
But the main point is this – how can you be sure that anything or anyone on the net is who they say they are?
Or if they even exist at all?
Well, I can now officially confirm that Padmum does exist.
I sometimes travel what I consider to be a long hike for a night out. But India?! I’m sure they weren’t back home before dawn – the naughty stop-outs.
I feel slightly trepidatious writing anything about them because they’re such a high powered, high flying pair of women. So I’m relying on their abundant enthusiasm, loveliness and goodwill.
It’s not the first time the blog word has become flesh. I’ve met a couple of other webizens – Cultural Snow, who’s all the way over in Thailand. But I knew him before, so does that really count? And he’s mad for simulacrums anyway.
And then there was Crime Scene NI – who’s since gone from strength to strength in editing an anthology of crime fiction based on Irish myth (Requiems for the Departed) and getting his own work into some others. (Sure, that can be a bit annoying, but as he’s such a good bloke I’ll let it go.)
I almost met SamHenry of On My Watch in New York earlier this year, but it didn’t happen at the last minute. I was left to wander the streets of Manhattan speculating whether she was really a high powered blogging programme operating out of CIA HQ in Langley, Virginia. Which means if we’d met, she’d have had to kill me. So it probably worked out for the best.
Suddenly it’s all coming back to me in a rush. Other corporeal figures are emerging from the web soup like creatures from the Black Lagoon – Stan Burridge, Will the Belfast Journo, Charles Dickens London, Fuxingman in China and The Cable – all very decent skins, but seriously slipping in keeping their blogs up to date.
And for American TV I can turn to Gurudad, who flips normal web behaviour on its head by being gentler in the blogosphere than his real life acid tongued avatar. (Or have I got that back to front? I’ve been confused ever since seeing part of that film.)
It was also a revelation meeting Irish political blogger Slugger O’Toole in Bournemouth during party conference season. Good move being based in England rather than Northern Ireland. I imagine it makes evenings out less stressful.
Unlike Malachi O’Doherty who does ply his journalistic trade in the wee north. In a roundabout way he’s in my book, Blackwatertown, because of an incident where I refused to slag him off to a load of Portadown Orangemen. This undermined my ability as a journalist to get onside with them that day during one of the Drumcree disputes. The brethren decided they had to seek guidance from higher authority about what to do with me. So they held what I can only call a “prayer debate” – in which they argued the toss back and forth about whether they would talk to me – but through the medium of loud prayer. When it dawned on me what they were doing, it struck me as bizarre rather than rude. Not sure who won in the end. They did talk, but only to read a piece of scripture into my microphone. It’s possible I was being told off through the medium of Bible reading. (As you can tell from the title of this post, the Bible has not left me altogether just yet.)
So no interview and no cup of tea either. Sheesh! You try to help people get their message across and that’s what happens. Though I suppose if their message was Bugger off and leave us alone, they managed to communicate that with crystal clarity. Anyway, an episode inspired by the “prayer debate” has made it into the book.
And then there’s the mysterious media svengali figure known as Trading as WDR who used to used to generously hold the fort while the rest of us went out drinking. The boss always found out. But we kept on doing it. That’s because WDR was the boss. Who’s like him? None. And they’re all dead. (Sorry, went a bit Scottish for a moment there.)
But meeting Padmini and Nitila this week has to top everything – for distance travelled, for charm personified and for marking the beginning of what turned out to be an excellent day (some of which I may tell you about another time – but not until after I’ve revealed my unfortunate encounter with Frederick “Day of the Jackal” Forsyth – shudder – next time).