Tales, Tweeps & Titters Part III – Blogfest 2013
Looking for Pink Oddy
This is my third and last post on Blogfest, though you may or may not read this as I’ve been advised by Lionel Shriver, amongst other things, to get rid of my first paragraph.
Since the start of the day, I was on the lookout for Pink Oddballs, aka @PinkOddy. We were to be sharing a room at Travelodge but didn’t know what each other looked like. To assuage fears from close relatives that I would be alone in a hotel room with a large pink ball, I promised to call when we’d met up, but couldn’t find her despite sending tweets up onto the large screen in the atrium.
Cracking Yarns and Tall Tales – Lionel Shriver, A L Kennedy, Cassandra Parkin and Rosie Fiore
I ended up in this session on how to write better by mistake. I had wanted to go to another one which would help me learn some really useful stuff, and they clashed timewise. I was having a good old chat in the foyer with my SIL about her really useful blog, myfriendslike when I realised everyone had vamoosed. As we parted, someone said, “quick this way, the talk’s begun”. I ran across the foyer and straight through the wrong door.
I learnt a lot in this session. The main things were, according to Lionel and the brilliant A L Kennedy:
1. That blogging, like all writing, is a conversation, so know what you want to say, say it well and address your audience.
2. A L Kennedy said your best keeps getting better. (Must use that next time child tells me they’re doing their best)
By this time, I’d found my glasses so did this sketch :
Now what no one tells you about blogging is that unlike writing a book, you write backwards. Let me explain and you can try this at home.
- Write a story and post Chapter 1 on your Blog
- Write Chapter 2 and post that.
See what I mean? Chapter 2 appears BEFORE Chapter 1. And Chapter 3 first of all. As T.S. Eliot might say about it, ‘In my beginning is my end’. This is like Dorothy waking up back in Kansas before she’d even been swept off to Munchkinland at the start. But perhaps it would save us all, and not just Dorothy, vast amounts of time if we just wrote our conclusions and left it at that. Please talk to me if you have any ideas on how to write sequentially on a Blogsite. Best answers will receive a shout out for your best post. One of the things Lionel advised was, when reviewing our writing prior to publishing it, to throw away the first paragraph. Now there’s a great thought. I could do it but that would mean me starting with the second paragraph and it wouldn’t make sense. Would it? Perhaps I’m missing something. Anyway, lots of good ideas Lionel and I must say, for a bloke, you certainly scrub up nice.
On to the jauntily titled:
Can you be a Feminist and a Mummy Blogger? Here are some of the panel chaired by Eleanor Mills
Now, to my shame, I know little about Feminism apart from dipping into Mary Wollstonecraft, Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer, Andrea Dworkin and Naomi Wolf (but PLEASE don’t quiz me in depth on any of the above). Some of you will be horrified that I haven’t engaged in a more in-depth way in, but I quietly pay homage to the Pankhursts, Marie Stopes and the woman who did more than anyone to release women in their millions to work on a level playing field with men – Gertrude Tendrich*. Not to mention all the women across the globe who hold down jobs; love, clothe and feed their children, and also teach their sons as well as their daughters to wipe around the bath.
As the panel spoke, the natives stirred. The tweets started leaping onto the giant screen like an outbreak of nits in a primary school. Every two minutes, the panel had to interrupt themselves to swivel around and look at what everyone was laughing at. Breast feeding was on the agenda. The heel height of the speakers’ shoes were brought into question, jam was an issue. Suddenly there were women about to throw themselves off the balcony in a fit of pique, and I realised with creeping horror that my family might be on the verge of commodification without my knowing it. Could I get back to them in time before it was all too late?
Just as the mud-slinging, insult-throwing, aspersion-casting and milk-squirting was getting underway, the organisers pulled the plug on the tweets and the panel were saved from bad cases of Exorcist-style, head-spinning cricked necks.
When Jo Brand walked on stage, there was a communal sigh of relief. Especially when she said, “I hear it’s been a bit fractious and I am here to calm you”. We all giggled as though we’d been caught red-handed like naughty school kids after a playground fracas.
Having worked with psychiatric patients for 10 years, Jo found they were more “creative, interesting and powerful in their abuse” than anyone she’d come across in an audience. So watch out for the trolls, girls, they may be some of Jo’s ex patients! One of the questions from the Q&As was from this woman, Laverne, who asked Jo if she would represent her charity. As it was a charity I’ll be charitable but felt glad it wasn’t me who was put on the spot in a room full of hundreds of people.
Justine reminded us why Mumsnet is called Mumsnet – one of the few companies that helpfully says exactly what it does.
Meanwhile … Carrie Longton, one of the co-founders of Mumsnet no less was taking the search for my Travelodge roommate to heart and at least twice, I saw her dashing in opposite directions looking for Pink Oddy. Thank you, Carrie – I felt very looked after! That’s the only problem with being an anonymous blogger though, here were two avatars: One looking like this
… and the other like this
… both looking for each other. No chance.
End of the Blog bit – the Fest was about to be-gin.
We tried not to run, but there was a barely restrained race to get to the G&Ts and the delicious nibbles before the crowds got there. I resolved to have just the one glass as I’m sure did everyone else. The Goody bags were piled high at the entrance/exit to this Reception. A tantalising reminder to be on our best behaviour if we didn’t want to disgrace ourselves and be sent home without one. Now I’ll show you what happens when you mix copious amount of gin with copious numbers of mums on time out from their sprogs.
Here are a couple of diagrams downloaded from my 3D Blendology Badge Basher. The first shows who I met and bashed in the morning:
… the second one shows who I met and bashed at the end of Blogfest.
What does it tell you. Yes! Three things:
a) I have no idea who the 4 anonymous men are I apparently bashed in Fig. 1 on 8th November the day before Blogfest started. I have the train ticket to prove I didn’t get to London before the 9th. Anyway, just in case we did meet and I don’t remember, hello again Bill, Matt, Clifford and Brent.
b) You will see from the Fig. 1 image that, each person I met, we bashed each other just the once. PRE-Ginfest.
c) POST-Ginfest, Fig. 2, the number of lovely people I was meeting weren’t quite as many as the number of lovely people I actually THOUGHT I met. The figures were distorted by the second and possibly third glass of Williams Chase Gin®. That’s as good a free promo as I can give them because frankly I can never tell one gin from another (apart from Bombay Sapphire)®.
No one stopped me weaving my way through the crowd of happy bloggers. No one stopped me heading onto the terrace where the smokers were sucking in a much needed nicotine fix. No one saw me in conversation with one of the very few men that day, and certainly the best looking. Anthony Abrahams, you are fit! We never exchanged details, though I just know we have so much in common. You raised your arm to greet me but our relationship was cut short just as you were. Someone took this photo of us together. Let’s do coffee if you’re ever passing my way…
Message to the organisers: Please don’t ban me if I apply to come next year and I promise not to drink anything stronger than tonic water.
It’s not an excuse, really, but I wasn’t the only one. There were LOADS of other people talking gibberish by 7pm too. I’m not just telling tales.
Miraculously, Pink Oddy and I were united at the end of the day. Not quite sure how, but we trotted off with @TiredMummyofTwo for chips and something in batter, a cup of tea and a well-needed sleep here:
One final note. I LOVED my Goodie bag and emptied all the contents onto the bed like an excited child on Christmas morning. But if anyone in high command speaks with Mr Boden anytime soon, could he send me a wallet as there wasn’t one in my bag and all the other girls in my class got one. Please.
Last but not least, here is my drawing of Anna Gordon, the most excellent photographer who took photos of almost everyone. With a very large camera, a six month baby bump, and 450 people to photograph, she worked non-stop all day. Feminism – now I know what you look like.
A big, big thank you to the organisers of Blogfest 2013. It was a brilliant day. And if we didn’t get Jerusalem, at least we got the Jam.
*Gertrude Tendrich was the founder of the world’s first and largest ever tampon factory, Tampax®, nearly 80 years ago.