Yes, you are indeed welcome. If there is anything worse than a blog with lots of readers, it must surely be a blog with no readers! As the great Hilaire Belloc might have put it:
When I die,
I hope it might be said,
His sins were scarlet,
But his blog was read.
My friends have long known that I need little provocation to voice my opinion, and have long regretted the fact. And now, in 2007, with their patience wearing down to mere nanometres, and surrounded here in France by people who neither understand nor care what I say, I feel there is no alternative but to clamber on a cyber soapbox, and join the virtual cacophony of Blogspot.
How long will it last? A year? A month? Who knows? If you're lucky, it might only last a week or a day. Like a date that flops after the first drink, the wheels might simply come off the old blog brain, and The Bur Under the Saddle fade from the memory like the forgotten pain of a dental abscess.
But let's hope not. While there are words still to be misused, infinitives to be split, and participles to be lynched, my keyboard will not be still.
But under whose saddle do I intend to be a bur?
Nobody's actually. I rarely aim to upset people. A gentleman, as somebody has wisely observed, is defined as a man who is only rude deliberately. But it is my experience that as I walk (trundle/stumble/crawl - delete as appropriate) through this postmodern world of ours, I cannot help offending people. Liberals, frozen by relativistic tremblings into catatonic intolerance, nod politely at me and flee for their sanity's sake. Traditionalist Catholics unjustly accuse me of grievous heresy for questioning the debatable nostrums of minor theologians. The Americans, idealists that they are, hate me because I'm not more like an American. The French, more realistically, hate me because I'm English.
It's hard knowing what to do. Like Bernard in that long-gone TV programme "Yes, Minister", I've tried 'taking the long view', 'seeing things in the round', and 'weighing up matters for and against'. It is all to no avail. Likewise, I've tried the 'Brando mumbles, Mingus eyes' approach, hoping to blend in with the scenery of a world too cool to be controversial beyond the third term of its second year at university, or too brutish to pick up any mental tool beyond threadbare cliché.
But, none of it works. As Richard Thompson sings:
What a fool I was,
What a thin disguise!
(Brando mumbles, etc.)
The Bur Under the Saddle is then my next strategy.
So, what can you read about here?
In short, whatever I happen to be thinking about on any particular day. Recent samples would include:
- France and its drawbacks
- Catholicism and its controversies
- How to play guitar like Richard Thompson
- Why I'm single and broke
- Why G.K. Chesterton's works should be read aloud to fellow passengers on the metro
There, that will do for now, reader dear. You were just beginning to drift anyway! I saw it.
And I have to confess that I was too, dear reader, mon semblable, mon frère!