And the Word was made flesh (and charming with it)…

On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog. Wasn’t there a cartoon to that effect? (Oh yes. There it is.)

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.

Remember I asked if anyone wanted to come to the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy with me. Padmum – or Padmini as I now call her – immediately put her hand up.

And she came. All the way from Chennai in India. Chennai! In India! With her daughter Nitila. That’s them in the picture. In the flesh.

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).

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25 Comments

Filed under blogs, friends, life

25 responses to “And the Word was made flesh (and charming with it)…

  1. Name dropper! 😉
    I am so pleased that you had a good time, wish I could have made it to London this week to meet all of you.

    • blackwatertown

      You can’t accuse me of being a name dropper for mentioning Padmini – it was all about her. (However, I was in the pub earlier trying to think of an English equivalent to the awful shame that is Westlife and Boyzone, and the best I could come up with was Aggadoo – you remember that horrible “song” – only for someone to tell me that the “song”writer’s kids go to my kids’ school. Aargh! Disaster. Social embarrassment looms. If I see Ronan Keating on a horse tomorrow I’ll know life really is out to get me.)

  2. I Have A Theory I Use That ,In My Darker Moments, “The Internet” Actually Exists Of Just One Person
    .He Is .A 70 year old bald fat Retired Miner From Barnsley
    .He Sits All Day in a string vest, tapping away & using millions of aliases.Maybe I Am Wrong…………..

    • blackwatertown

      Does this mean I can tell my Barnsley joke? Shouldn’t, but what the hell…
      So, a Barnsley bloke visits the site where the the World Trade Center towers used to stand, and gets talking to a New Yorker.
      “Where are you from?” asks the New Yorker.
      “Barnsley,” says the man from Barnsley.
      “What state is that in?” asks the New Yorker.
      “About the same as this,” says the man from Barnsley.

  3. You’re a powerful personality Roo … charmed women all the way from India.

  4. I didn’t know that Padmini was out of station, as we say our here in India. I am after all, in Lucknow, which is quite far away. I thought you were in Ireland. If she was in Ireland, I’m sure she’d have told me she was going.

    Gosh I must have been asleep lately. Wake up gaelikaa! Too busy trying to get my writing career off the ground I guess. You on Twitter and FB too? Must look you up.

  5. That is a lovely photograph BWT. Those two lovely ladies obviously were having the time of their life, from the expressions on their face. I look forward to Padmum’s post on her return.

  6. It’s fun to meet up with other bloggers, though I haven’t met many so far. I’ve met the wonderful Grannymar, and a couple of blogmates in Sydney, and John Self, the literary blogger who lives round the corner from me. That’s about it.

    Of course I’m not really a dashing 64 year old Belfast gent. I’m actually an inmate at Wormwood Scrubs serving a life sentence for mugging an old lady. I just can’t keep it secret any longer.

  7. This read was a great mid-day break and the photograph is lovely — the ladies look absolutely charming!

    I love Tony’s idea that the internet actually consists of just one person, and Nick’s confession.

  8. What a great idea you had, and how wonderful that Padmini and Nitilia were able to go along!
    I met some bloggers (before I was one, when I was just nosey) at the Irish Blog Awards, and blame Tinman and Grannymar for what happened next…
    Today, by chance, I met Tweeters. The family were with me, and thought we were all mad. They may not be wrong 🙂

  9. So women come all the way from India to see you? lol…I knew your blogs were very cool…but drawing them from that far away and in person!!
    I haven’t actually met any other bloggers but I have spoken to one or two along the way so I assume they weren’t illusions of my over active imagination…but then again…lol 😉

  10. blackwatertown

    @ Maxi & Europaspicewolf – Hey, what can I say?
    @ Gaelikaa – Mostly in England, sometimes (not enough) in Ireland. Yes to both those other places – villageip on twitter – bit slack on it lately.
    @ Rummuser – lovely because they’re in it – Nitila will have a better pic on her proper camera.
    @ Nick – Ooh ooh – if/when I’m in Belfast we could meet, maybe, huh, huh? And funnily enough I do know a blogger ex of Wormwood Scrubs. Not sure if he’s advertising the fact though. I’ve met a number of interesting people thereabouts.
    @ holessence – in this instance, looks are not deceiving.
    @ speccy – what I said to Nick! (The bit before the prison bit.)

    • If you are planning a meet-up in Belfast don’t forget me, I get time off for good behaviour! Don’t mind what Nick tells you about me!

      • blackwatertown

        Of course. Hadn’t thought of it when I replied to your first comment.

      • I’ll only say nice things about you Grannymar! Any time you’re round these parts Blackwatertown, ‘twould be great to meet up. Of course, I may well be a dashing 64 year old Belfast gent…

  11. Aint it awesome when you actually meet people you think you know via the web. Met four of my regulars and all have been beyond fabulous. Actually have a n00b coming in September and one I’ve met before at the end of the year. Of course April was spent with my absolute crush. First time we’d met in the flesh. Then again there was that scam about the Middle Eastern woman who turned out to be an American man! And I recommend you meet Nick and Jenny. She’s a pocket rocket, a fabulous intellect and he’s just lovely. You live so close (let’s face it anything under 12,000 miles is close) make the effort. Just make sure it’s vegetarian

  12. Barbara Rodgers

    What a wonderful experience! I’ve often wondered what it would be like meeting someone face to face after getting to know him or her in the blogosphere. Looking forward to hearing about your day with the lovely ladies from India!

  13. blackwatertown

    @ Baino – Yes, it is awesome. Veggie, huh? Lot of them around. Seems like half the people I know are. I’m not, but I’m, er… veggie-friendly.
    @ Barbara – In a nutshell – wandered round looking at paintings, sculptures, photographs and architectural models. Drank tea. Chatted. Learned about (this is me now) India and the Tamil literary, film and creative scene. Then went off t meet a gu who has written abook about diverting young people away from gang involvement and violence. I expect I’ll be telling you about him in the near future.

  14. That is GREAT!!! What a fun story! You know you are welcome in Jordan any time, and well, we’ll be sending a Jordanian kid off to medical school in Dublin this Fall, maybe he could act in our stead.

    Our little blogging world in Jordan sort of shook this week when one of the young guys confessed to stalking other twitter-girls for cyber sex after she outed him. Gotta wreck the ambiance. it did. sometimes it’s nice just to hang out with the grown-ups over here at your place.

    • blackwatertown

      Thanks for the lovely offer.
      Sorry to hear about your little local blogging upset. It’s fairly grown-up here, in age anyway, if not always in attitude.

  15. I actually handle most of the blogging for Canada under various aliases. A prize for those who out me.
    I’ve met some delicious blogmeats.
    But I must say they have not travelled from India to do so.
    So you have one up on me.
    But not for long.
    XO
    WWW

  16. What a write-up…I am looking all over the place to see who Paul is writing about…Nitila..Well! as her Mum I would agree wholeheartedly. Me–I am just a scribe who thinks that words were made for her alone to use. Paul thanks for the rah, rah, rah and the Earl Grey still tingles my taste buds while the riot of colours on the walls of RA still float around in my vision. God bless you.

  17. Just stopped by to make sure you were still here 😉 It has been very unusually quiet on the Blackwatertown front since this post…think it’s about time you posted another one! lol 😉 Or maybe you’re too busy charming ladies from far and wide!! Hope you’re ok 🙂

  18. The prospect of meeting up with someone I’ve met online unnerves me greatly, but then I am somewhat socially phobic. I’m reasonably sure my virtual social circle are decent sorts, and they’ve probably had the same misgivings about me.

    And they’re quite right to!

  19. Paul–I have written about our rendezvous–a little late but there! How do I connect this one and my blog?

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