Thoughts On Starting a Blog

I claim no exemption from the difficult task at hand: to say something about why I started blogging without leaning on clichés. It wouldn’t help much in that regard to rehearse the obvious – to mention that blogging is like keeping a public diary with the added benefit of being able to withdraw or edit entries. And with Blue Rat it would make no sense to claim any intention to fill a specific niche; it will instead be far more interesting to watch Blue Rat’s evolution. There is a sense in which the constant monitoring of output by the droves of ravenous readers plugged into blogosphere is a daunting force to confront. Who should give a damn about what I have to say? And the niggling suspicion that the entire enterprise is a form of extroverted solipsism pants at my heels as I step forward. I imagine my prior observations about the false trappings of the modern world might either reward me greatly in this venture, or prove to be completely useless. I’m keen to find out.

The therapeutic benefits of tracking one’s own mind are virtually universally acknowledged, particularly by people who actually do it. I consider it to be an early result to notice that probably, without the egotistic desire to be publicly acknowledged, even anonymously, I wouldn’t otherwise have kept any written record of what goes on between my ears. To note that is already to confess something both private and dire about the composition of my character. On the other hand, I hope to court the intriguing prospect that blogging may facilitate self-reflection. The added bonus is that my readership is free to comment, and therefore the potential for a fruitful debate seeded by my own musings is, at least in theory, possible. The cynic in me suspects a disappointment is forthcoming on that front, however. Our modern times are strewn with preachy self-help psychobabble, and nothing would lead to more self-loathing in me than the realisation I’d joined the ranks of that priesthood. We shall see.

Finally then, a note about Blue Rat. The curious choice of name for this blog arose from a semi-conscious aversion for anything definite. The original idea was Keep Taking The Pills. This was to be out of homage to a recently-aired story on the BBC’s The Westminster Hour programme exposing various political myths. It was revealed that Margaret Thatcher was so lacking in sense of humour that she once over-ruled her speechwriter and, in the service of linguistic aesthetics, changed a clever double-entendre about Moses taking tablets to a line about him taking pills. But Keep Taking The Pills didn’t sound adequately charged. It seems, for one, to be the worn-out repost offered in virtually every office-based dispute the Anglophonic world over. Outside of the Thatcher story, that title would only be flailing to death of one of the oldest, tired and rickety phrases around. The successful alternative, Blue Rat, seems to fit the bill much better: unexpected and non-committal all at once. It gives me the freedom to post what I want – it comes with no pre-packaged expectations. (What would you expect from a blue rat?) I’ve attempted to dissolve suspicions that the rat’s colour is of any significance in the About section.

I would like to draw to a close with the invitation, extended to all and sundry, to peruse and enjoy Blue Rat – and to enjoy it as frequently as possible. Let’s hope it does all of us some good.

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